Sometimes when I write these newsletters, I feel like I am banging two rocks together, creating sparks and attempting to direct them towards the dry, feathery threads of material, hoping that something will catch fire. My hope is that something in your heart, your mind, will catch fire, some thread of passion and curiosity. In other moments, I feel as if I have to unwind some of the threads of the rich fabric of flight test safety, pulling the threads apart so that the sparks will be able to set them on fire individually.
There are many such sparks and threads in this edition of the Flight Test Safety Fact, and as we end the fourth year of publication of the newsletter for the Flight Test Safety Committee, I point it out on purpose, reminding the reader that this is one of several objectives of the project. I don’t know if I have ever stated this objective explicitly, but I want to light a fire.
In this edition, we mention topics that were addressed in depth in other forums, because we intend to weave those threads (those topics) together—the DARPA and Lockheed Martin Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA) is one of those threads. It weaves into the fabric of OPA and history and the main theme of flight test safety, which then points us to a NASA book on the topic of unmanned aircraft. The book is a vein of gold ore. This edition also mentions articles and past editions of the newsletter and the efforts of late members and hopes aloud that someone will pick up the mantle.
This edition also includes feedback from readers from the October newsletter and another request from a reader for help with a safety survey. These are some of the oft overlooked but incredibly valuable parts of this project.
Mark Jones Jr.
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