RRL Oshkosh preview

On Friday morning the Rocket Racing League held a press conference by telecon to discuss the company and their plans to exhibit and fly at EAA AirVenture this week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. RRL president and CEO Granger Whitelaw provided a basic overview about the company and its plans going forward. While exhibition flights of RRL vehicles are slated to begin at Oshkosh, the first formal competitive races are not planned until late 2009 or early 2010; Whitelaw said there was a 12-month lead time to set up the TV deals for the races, and that the league wanted to avoid going head-to-head with major fall sports events, like the NFL.

The big question, though, is whether both the XCOR- and Armadillo-powered vehicles will fly at Oshkosh. “We’re going to have both vehicles there,” Whitelaw said. “Whether or not the Armadillo-powered vehicle flies is in question right now.” The XCOR-powered vehicle, which will be operated by the Bridenstine Racing Team, does have its “pink slip” from the FAA allowing it to fly at Oshkosh, but the Armadillo vehicle does not. “Don’t ask me why, because it’s beyond me,” he said. “The plane’s been ready to fly for weeks.”

After Oshkosh the RRL does have a number of exhibition events planned for this fall. A slide during Whitelaw’s presentation included the Reno Air Races in September, the Nellis AFB show in Las Vegas in November, and the X Prize Cup. Wait, how is that last one possible since there won’t be a formal X Prize Cup event this year, only the Lunar Lander Challenge (LLC) competition that will not be open to the public? “There is another event that is X Prize-driven,” he said, apparently referring to the LLC. “So I think we’re either going to fly there, or we’re going to have our own standalone event in Las Cruces in late October or early November.”

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