Rotary Rocket's Roton Atmospheric Test Vehicle (ATV) made its second test flight on 16 September. The ATV rose to 6m (20ft) altitude and hovered virtually stationary for two and a half minutes during the 4min 30s flight, powered by small thrusters on the tips of its helicopter-like rotating blades.

The third of four planned test flights will be a low-altitude translational flight along a runway at Mojave Airport. The next phase of flights will include approach and landing tests from 1,000m altitude.

A next-generation Powered Test Vehicle is planned that will incorporate a Fastrac main engine being developed by the NASA's Marshall Space Center.

Despite concerns about the company's future funding, Rotary Rocket still claims that it will put the Roton into commercial service in 2001.

Source: Flight International