AUVSI: X-47B ferry flight focus of flap

Washington DC
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Northrop Grumman disagrees with a US Navy decision to not fly the first X-47B across the USA next year.

"I'm still planning on arguing with" Capt Martin Deppe, says Scott Winship, the X-47B's vice president and program manager.

On Monday, Deppe said the program has decided to truck the X-47B to Patuxent River NAS, Md., after completing nearly a year of flight tests at Edwards AFB, Ca.

Ferrying the tailless unmanned aircraft across the country in flight would be too difficult given US FAA airspace restrictions, Deppe said.

Winship acknowledged that Deppe has already made the decision, but he still thinks the program's goal should be to ferry the first X-47B vehicle over the country.

Both Winship and Deppe agree that the goal for the second X-47B vehicle, which starts flying in late 2010, should be to complete the cross-country flight from Edwards to Patuxent River.