Just when you thought you’d heard the last of duPont Aerospace’s DP-2 V/STOL transport project, after US Congress finally cut off its funding, a new controversy has erupted over NASA’s decision to let the company keep the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535A engines powering the prototype. DuPont argues the engines were purchased with a NASA grant and are its to keep. Without them the project is history.
The DP-1C prototype managed two 45-second tethered, unmanned hovers at the end of September, the culmination of $63 million in funding earmarked for duPont over 19 years by congressman Duncan Hunter. Congress finally pulled the plug in June after a special hearing at which the DP-2 was portrayed as a monumental waste of money.