WASHINGTON – The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology yesterday hosted a forum on American aeronautics. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Congressman Steve Knight (R-Calif.) led a panel discussion featuring leaders of public and private sector flight experimentation programs who discussed the state of American aeronautics research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) programs.
The panel discussed the major transformations that have shaped flight experimentation since the first “X-Planes” program, the Bell X-1, made its historic sound barrier-breaking flight in 1947. By taking the lead in many technology development efforts, private companies and the public sector are taking on high-risk, long-term research for which there is not yet a profit rationale. Panel experts emphasized that the U.S. is in the midst of international races to ensure long-term leadership in the field and called for a renewal of the successful X-Plane program.
Panelists discussed the state of American aeronautics research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) programs.
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- Stuart O. Witt, principal, S. O. Witt & Associates
- Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21), chairman, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
- Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25), member, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Space Subcommittee; Member, House Armed Services Committee, Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee
- Mr. David McBride, director, Armstrong Flight Research Center, NASA
- Mr. Craig Johnston, director, Aeronautics Strategy and Business Development, Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin
- Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Bedke, U.S. Air Force (Ret.); senior non-resident fellow, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Yesterday’s event forecasted the future of American aviation. My colleague, Rep. Knight, and I share a deep appreciation for our nation’s aviation history, and we are inspired by what we see on the horizon. It is important that we continue to work with stakeholders so that we remain the world’s leaders in flight. Yesterday’s panel, rooted in Rep. Knight’s home district, emphasized that the U.S. is in the midst of international races to field hypersonic piloted aircraft, to quiet the boom of supersonic planes, and push the frontiers of aviation. Rep. Knight and I appreciated our experts’ input and look forward to continuing to work together to ensure the U.S. remains the leader in aerospace.”
Congressman Steve Knight (R-Calif.): “It was an honor to have Chairman Smith and these distinguished leaders in the flight science community all in the Antelope Valley to discuss the state of aerospace in our country. The success of our aeronautics programs will have a tremendous impact on America’s economy and national security far into the future. Today’s discussion produced several important ideas, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure they become realities.”