London, July 30 : With a rocket-powered racing plane taking flight, it looks like the skies are all set to see some NASCAR type racing action very soon.
According to a report in New Scientist, the plane, developed by the Rocket Racing League, took flight on July 29th, at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, US.
Though the firm had planned to pit two rocket-powered planes with different engines against each other in a demonstration race, only one plane, which bore the more extensively tested engine, took to the skies.
The plane that did fly carries a liquid oxygen- and kerosene-powered engine, manufactured by XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, California.
A bright, orange flame trailed behind the plane.
During the demonstration, the plane alternated between unpropelled gliding and rocket-powered flight.
The rocket is turned off to preserve fuel and to slow the craft, as the airframe is not meant to withstand speeds much greater than 560 kilometres per hour.
Because of the distance, the sound of the engines cutting in and out was delayed. When the rocket was shut off, it made burping sounds, eliciting laughs from the crowd.
According to Company spokespeople, they are still waiting for Federal Aviation Administration approval for the second plane, which carries an engine built by Armadillo Aerospace of Mesquite, Texas.
The Armadillo plane remained on display, with its engine exposed, in the league's demonstration tent.
More flights are planned for later in the week. But since the Armadillo engine has not yet undergone a single test flight, some say it is unlikely to take its maiden voyage in public.
The company's next opportunity for an exhibition race will be at the Reno National Championship Air Races from 10 to 14 September in Nevada.