MELBOURNE, FLA.—Visitors can experience a brief, heady sense of space flight on July 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research at Melbourne International Airport. Two rocket-powered aircraft simulators will await visitors there for free demonstrations. The Buehler Center is the headquarters of Florida Institute of Technology’s flight training arm, FIT Aviation LLC.
The experience, provided by Orbital commerce Project, Inc. is not a movie, ride or video game but an accurate simulation of a rocket powered aircraft which YOU fly. The simulators are full size cockpits with functional instrumentation and six foot screens for out-of-cockpit views. The simulation is somewhat simplified for the average non-pilot in that there is no rudder control, trim tabs, fire suppression system or fuel dump switches. However, experts such as Dick Rutan have stated that it still accurately reproduces how a rocket powered aircraft, such as XCOR’s EZ-Rocket, flies.
People who are susceptible to motion sickness need not worry; these are non-motion simulators and if you can watch a movie in a theater then you can enjoy this experience. If for some reason you begin to feel queasy just close your eyes until the feeling passes.
A competition to find the pilot with the “Right Stuff” will also be held. Each competitor will receive approximately 30 seconds of fuel which will allow an experienced pilot to go over 25,000 feet. The pilot will then have 2.5 minutes to glide the rocket plane back to a safe landing The winner will be determined by the highest altitude achieved with a safe landing in less than 3 minutes. Safe landings are any landing, with gear down, which will allow the aircraft to take off again if fueled (including a landing in the desert).
The simulators are also able to simulate a suborbital flight as provided by Rocket Ship Tours.
For more information, contact Michael Gaffney at (321) 674-6502.