This morning at 6:00am I had a conference call with the FAA/AST.
I think it was a good first discussion.
One bit of good news is that they can still issue "burn time waivers"
or officially license waivers. This is a lot less onerous than doing the full
environmental review called for by an experimental permit.
I was hoping to get endorsement for my concept of drawing a bright line between operating and safety systems and qualifying the safety systems and leaving the operating stuff alone.
They did not really say no, but it was clear thats not the way they want to proceed.
In some places I was hoping for a little more direct guidance about whats acceptable.
Some of the conversation went like:
Question to FAA:What would you like to see to prove X?
Answer:Its your job to convince us of X.
The answer is completely correct and almost useless.
Its all part of the process and my current action item is to generate a hazards and hazard mitigation document.
My short version of the document:
Hazard: The Vehicle or parts of the vehicle can leave the defined operating area and hit
something it's not supposed to.
Mitigation: Add redundant safety abort systems that will Kill the vehicle before it does so.
They want a bit more detail, I'll have to work on that. :-)