DuPont's $63 Million Dollar Plane You Bought That Can't Fly
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|Congress has spent more than $63 million on an experimental aircraft that has never flown more than a few feet and that the Pentagon has repeatedly rejected.|
Designed as a plane that can take off straight up and then fly at 700 miles per hour, the craft has never attained a height of more than a few feet in prototype tests before crashing to the ground.
"There have been four accidents in the last four years," says Congressman Brad Miller, D-N.C. Miller, chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the Committee on Science and Technology, will hold hearings on the troubled project tomorrow morning. "The good news is that when it crashes, it only crashed from a foot or two off the ground."
Pentagon documents obtained by ABCNews show military analysts have consistently rejected the craft since 1986 as technically flawed.
"We quickly reached a conclusion with substantiation that it was not worth pursing at any level for any amount of money," said John Eney, a retired Navy analyst involved in the initial rejection.
"What they have now has become the laughingstock of the southern California aviation industry," said Eney, who is slated to testify tomorrow before Miller's committee. "I'm embarrassed as a taxpayer and as a 35-year veteran of Naval aircraft engineering."
But the rejection by Pentagon experts did not stop Congress from continuing to pour money into the program, under prodding from San Diego-area congressmen, including Duncan Hunter and Christopher Cox, now chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission.