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Airborne 08.09.17: SpaceShipTwo, Presidential Helo, Airbus Perlan Mission II

Also: Pelton v Privatization, Pilatus Update, Army v DJI, Master Instructors, Cessna, Williams FJ44-4A-QPM, Airliner Threat The sixth glide test of Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity was conducted in Mojave, CA Friday, and for the first time, the propulsion system for the suborbital spacecraft was installed and "live" ... but not engaged. According to Virgin Galactic, "with the exception of the rocket motor fuel grain, called the CTN (Case-Throat-Nozzle), Unity flew with all the spaceship’s principle propulsion components on-board and live. This meant that Unity took off with her forward pressurant tank loaded with helium and for the first time, her centrally positioned Main Oxidizer Tank fully charged with nitrous oxide. A VH-92A configured test aircraft in support of the U.S. Marine Corps’ VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program completed its first flight on July 28, signaling the start of the 250 hour flight test program, taking place at Lockheed Martin facilities in Owego, New York. The aircraft achieved its first flight, and later that same day completed a second flight at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut. Total flight time for the two sorties was one hour and included hover control checks, low speed flight, and a pass of the airfield. Airbus Perlan Mission II, an initiative to fly a glider without an engine to the edge of space to collect ground-breaking insights on climate change, weather and high-altitude flight, recently reached a new high altitude in its second season of flight testing in El Calafate, Argentina. Pilots Jim Payne, Morgan Sandercock, Tim Gardner and Miguel Iturmendi have soared the pressurized Perlan 2 glider in a series of flights reaching a maximum altitude to date of 32,500 feet. All this -- and MORE in today's episode of Airborne!!!

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