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Michael Braukus
(Phone: 202/358-1979)

Alan Brown
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
(Phone: 661/276-2665)

June 30, 2003
RELEASE : 03-222
Helios Solar Aircraft Mishap Investigation Board Selected
NASA selected the mishap investigation board to determine the cause of the June 26 loss of the Helios Prototype solar aircraft.

The board consists of members from NASA 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 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, 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.

The lightweight flying wing took off from PMRF at about 4:00 p.m. (EDT) on a functional checkout flight. It had been aloft for about 29 minutes over the PMRF test range, when the mishap occurred during a shakedown mission in preparation for an endurance flight planned for next month.


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