On March 19, 2022, Mason Hatchson, Stratocaster’s chief mechanical engineer, appeared on the Airplane Crazy Saturday at Mojave Air & Spaceport.
Airplane Crazy Saturday is sponsored monthly by the Mojave Transportation Museum.
Hatchson graduated from the New Mexico Institute for Mining Technology and has been working in the aerospace industry for 16 years.
He began his engineering career at Ball Aerospace, working on the Airborne Laser program, focusing on material interactions in laser engagement. He was interested in experimental aviation design throughout his life and was later attracted to Scaled Composites. There he gained experience. Design, build, and test the SpaceShip2 feather deployment system. Shortly thereafter, he completed the design and release system for the WhiteKnight 2 landing gear and confirmed them in flight tests.
From there, Hutchison led the flight control design team for Stratolaunch aircraft. Hutchison is currently working at Stratolaunch as the lead engineer for the release system for Talon supersonic unmanned systems.
“I boarded to design a mechanical flight control system. I’ve been here since the first roll of carbon fiber appeared to make an airplane,” Hatchson said. ..
“I actually quit Scaled Composites and moved to Minden, Nevada to find another dream, but something kept pulling me back to Mojave,” Hutchison said. When he arrived in Mojave, he discovered the real reason his friends wanted him to come to Mojave. His friend said. What is it? Assistance is needed in the design and construction of the mechanical flight control unit for this airplane. Are you interested in helping? “
Hatchson replied, “I have never designed an airplane flight control device. It’s in!” The room burst into laughter.
“My interest is in landing gear. I made a white knight landing gear, which had four sets of landing gear,” Hutchison said.
“I led a team of engineers to design the entire cable system from the cockpit to the plane. This aircraft has about a quarter mile of steel cable,” explains Hutchison.
When he started showing pictures of the incredibly huge Stratolaunch aircraft, he said: Apart from flight tests. “
Originally from New Mexico, Hutchison is a lifelong, full-fledged radio-controlled model aviation enthusiast and founder and active member of the local radio-controlled club, Tehachapi Crosswinds. He was an active member of the team that organized the indoor fly. -Here at the Mojave Air & Spaceport Event Center.
He showed me a picture of a model plane he made and said, “I sent this picture to Scaled Composites as a resume. They always receive a resume in a lot of words. Something they remember. I wanted to show you, but Hutchison said: All the portfolios I created and my resume slide to the other side of the table, and my portfolio gets the job. It was the only one considered so far. “
I asked the question that came to everyone’s mind, “What is this, why did you make this insanely big airplane in one dimension, and what do you use it for?” It’s been 10 years since I put the first part. “
“First and foremost, what is it? He gave a simple answer.” It’s a big giant plane intended to carry payloads. It flies far, flies slowly, carries big things, heavy things. Carry, and drop it like that. “
He answered the question why the two torso should have the payload somewhere in between the two torso.
Stratolaunch’s first flight, the Scaled Model 351, was the April 13, 2019 plane Crazy Saturday Mojave Experimental Fly-in. Stratolaunch is no longer part of Scaled Composites and is an independent company.
Hatchson showed a photo showing a size comparison with people on the wings under construction.
“You can’t talk about Stratolaunch without talking about dimensions. It’s big! The wingspan of 385 feet is 64 feet longer than the H-4 Hercules or Spruce Goose.
“The plane is designed to carry a payload of £ 550,000 on paper,” Hutchison explained. It hasn’t flown so heavily yet. “
The mission length is two to eight hours, but Hutchison said the pilot was not keen on performing the eight-hour mission.
Hatchson pointed out that straight flat wings are familiar to people on model planes. However, the last 65 feet of the Stratocaster wing have a 3 degree dihedral or polyhedron. “Hutchison said.
“In terms of wingspan, the Stratolaunch or Roc is the largest aircraft in the world, but the second in maximum takeoff weight. The AN-225 can be lifted further.”
He explained other ways Rock could outperform other aircraft. “The spar is the largest single piece in history made of 260 feet long carbon fiber. Another record is that it is wrapped in vinyl and unpainted, so maybe on one plane. More square yards of vinyl used. “
Returning to the “reason” for this giant plane, Hutchison said, “First, we’re crazy about hypersonic aircraft, so we’ll see it here in Mojave. This country is the pole. There is competition to enter supersonic aircraft.
“The mission of Stratolaunch is to build this unmanned Talon A vehicle that will be launched over the Pacific Ocean,” said Hatchson, who will enable hypersonic research, experimentation, and operational missions. A built, flexible and fast test bed. The vehicle is 8.5 meters long, has a wingspan of 3.4 meters, and has a total mass of about 2.7 tons at launch, and will be dropped into the air by its mother ship, Stratolaunch.
Hatchson showed the audience how the Stratocaster aircraft launch would take place. Talon A achieves hypersonic missions with customer instruments, “Hutchison explains. Mojave. “
During Hatchson’s presentation, he reiterated that he was impressed that the parts and systems of the Donor 747 aircraft could be reused in the Stratolaunch building. Not only the landing gear and engine, but also the cockpit windows were placed on the two fuselage of Stratolaunch. Other parts such as yokes, rudder pedals, control seat rails, cockpit cabin floors, instrument panels, etc. were also harvested from the 747.
Hutchison has shown a drawing showing the complexity of Stratolaunch’s system. “There are four hydraulic systems, about a quarter mile of the control cable. Each engine has an pneumatically driven hydraulic pump, an engine driven hydraulic pump, and an electrohydraulic driven pump. For flight control, landing gear, and braking system. It provides a total hydraulic service of over 200 horsepower. Each engine pumps power into two giant power bus systems that meet at the central wing.
“You cannot access the fuselage or carry it through the wings during the flight. The pilot is isolated only in the pressure vessel of the cabin on the right front and cannot actually switch to the fuselage during the flight. That said, you can’t go through the wings. “
Hatchson also shared a photo of a giant aircraft shortly before his first flight, as he was sitting in a hangar specially constructed in 2011. The tracking aircraft, the Cessna Citation, is under the wings of the lock.
Many of the questions Hutchison answered during the presentation were left to be visited by people at the end of the briefing. Some wanted to know why the plane looked so quiet as it flew, and when the next test flight would be. .. What you see in the air is always a spectacular sight.
Kathy Hansen, president of the Mojave Transportation Museum, presented Hutchison with a plain crazy Saturday hat and a 35th anniversary shirt. Thank you for his wonderful presentation.