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X-10 Water Rocket barely surpasses previous World Record with unprecedented vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flight.

With an average altitude of 1,609 feet (491 meters), U.S. Water Rockets world famous X-10 rocket just barely surpassed their previous WRA2 record altitude, but that feat is dwarfed by the amazing trick that X-10 accomplished on the way there.

Before today, the question: "What does the X-10 Water Rocket have in common with a United States Marine Corps' AV-8B Sea Harrier?" would likely have resulted in answers pointing out the aerospace composites used in their construction, or perhaps their advanced avionics. While those answers are correct, after April 16, 2005 the answer "They both can take off and land vertically." can be added to the list of similarities.

At 1:47 PM EST on the first world record flight attempt after a long winter hiatus, X-10 stunned onlookers with rapid ascent to 1,574 feet (480 meters) and a perfect vertical landing.

According to a U.S. Water Rockets' Spokesperson, the 501 meter flight was to be the first of the two flights required by the WRA2, but a wind picked up before the second record flight, which made it impossible for vertical flight. The wind impaired flight failed to achieve an altitude as high as the shakedown flight earlier that day, and descended into a thick wooded area. After retrieval, the wind was stronger yet, so the team was disappointed that they would not be able to claim another WRA2 record because further flights would be impossible. It wasn't until later that they realized that the vertical landing shakedown flight had taken place within the 2 hour two-flight time window required by the WRA2. After crunching the numbers, it was discovered that a new record was indeed set, but it was by the tiny margin of 3 feet (1 meter).

When weather permits, U.S. Water Rockets plans to raise the record further with even higher altitudes.

If you are interested in the criteria used to set this record, please visit:
Water Rocket Single Stage World Altitude Record Rules

U.S. Water Rockets' X-10 makes a perfect vertical landing in the soft mud under the shallow water.

[Gallery] Apogee photos from X-10!

Flight one 1,574 feet.

Flight two 1,643 feet.

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