August 15, 2012 / 6:36 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. military says Waverider test flight ended early due to fin problem

LOS ANGELES, Aug 15 (Reuters) - A U.S. military test flight of the experimental hypersonic “Waverider” ended prematurely when the aircraft broke apart in the air over the Pacific Ocean due to a failure with its cruiser control fin, the U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday.

The problem with the fin was identified 16 seconds after a rocket booster on the unmanned X-51A aircraft was ignited to increase its speed, the Air Force said in a statement.

About 15 seconds later, when the X-51A separated from the rocket booster it lost control due to a “faulty control fin,” the statement said.

The aircraft broke apart immediately and fell into the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu northwest of Los Angeles, said Daryl Mayer, a spokesman for the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

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