HELIOS SOLAR AIRCRAFT MISHAP INVESTIGATION BOARD SELECTED
June 27, 2003
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NASA has selected a board to determine the cause the June 26, 2003 loss of the Helios Prototype solar aircraft.
The board appointed by Dr. Jeremiah Creedon, Associate Administrator for Aerospace Technology, consists of members from several NASA research centers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) including:
Dr. Thomas E. Noll, chairman, Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. Dr. John M. Brown, NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory, Boulder, Colo. Stephen D. Ishmael, Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. Dr. Marla E. Perez-Davis, Glenn Research Center, Cleveland Geary C.Tiffany, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
The remotely operated Helios Prototype aircraft was destroyed when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean during a checkout flight from the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii.
No property damage, other than the prototype aircraft, or injuries occurred as a result of the mishap. The remotely piloted aircraft came down in the ocean, within the confines of the PMRF test range, west of the facility.
The lightweight flying wing had taken off from PMRF at about 10:06 a.m. Hawaii time on a functional checkout flight. It had been aloft for about 29 minutes over the PMRF test range when the mishap occurred. Helios was on a shakedown mission in preparation for a long-endurance mission of almost two days that had been planned for next month.
The Helios Prototype set a world altitude record for non-rocket-powered aircraft of 96,863 feet during a flight from the Navy facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, in August 2001.
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