Headlines > News > Pilot gives framed montage to cafe

Pilot gives framed montage to cafe

Published by Cathleen Manville on Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:10 pm
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By Randy Scruggs

A Richland restaurant now has a handsome framed montage dealing with aviation, thanks to a visitor from Texas.

John McCamon, a Dallas businessman and a pilot since the age of 16, presented the montage Aug. 13 to Rhonda Massey, owner of the Simple Pleasures restaurant. McCamon, who is the brother of Wanda Crossland of Richland, has been visiting the area for the last few weeks and noticed during a visit to the restaurant that its walls displayed items dealing with aviation and space flight.

“I thought Rhonda would appreciate another display, since she already had items about flying on the walls,” McCamon said.

The montage, which consists of newspaper and magazine clippings put together by McCamon and others, is concerned mostly with the efforts of aviation trailblazer Burt Rutan to send the first private craft into outer space.

Rutan, who is based in Mojave, Calif., sent his rocket plane SpaceShipOne to a height of 62 miles on June 21 over Mojave. That was the first nongovernmental spaceflight, piloted by Sam Melvill.

On September 29, Rutan and Melvill will go for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash purse to encourage private flights into space.

To win the prize, a private spacecraft must reach an altitude of 62 miles and bring back a pilot and the weight of two passengers, then do it again with the same craft within two weeks.

McCamon has met Rutan and Melvill several times, mostly at the annual convention of aviators at Oshkosh, Wisc. The convention occurs during the last weekend in July and the first week in August.

“O’Hare (International Airport in Chicago) reports about 2,000 aircraft movements per day,” McCamon said. “Oskosh reports about 24,000 movements per day.” He said that about 250,000 people fly into the convention, and about a million visit it, from about 150 countries.

Rutan’s SpaceShipOne is one of several private spacecraft that have been planned to become the first private craft into space. Melvill’s flight, however, on June 21, is still the only private flight to attain the 62-mile altitude which is recognized internationally.

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