Rare Starship Flying Oklahoma Skies

Friday, September 28th 2007, 6:00 pm
By: News On 6

You might have seen it flying overhead and wondered about the airplane that looks like it is flying backwards.

The airplane, owned by a Tulsa energy company, is about as rare as they come; it's one of only five Starships still flying.

On Friday, The News On 6's Emory Bryan was aboard the aircraft, and reports the manager of the Tulsa Starship was about as eager to show it off, as we were to get in and fly.

The exotic Beechcraft Starship is 20-years-old but still loaded with advanced features found on few other planes.

Pilot Scott Krause is often reminded of the status of the Starship.

"Bon Jovi's got nothing on me," said Starship manager and pilot Scott Krause.

The Starship was the first mostly composite civilian aircraft, first with the rear wing design and no tail, and still the only with a canard, the little wing up front that moves forward during take off and landing.

"This one will go from a 30-degree swept to a negative five and that's very unusual, nothing has been done with that since in civil aviation," Krause said.

It was a rare treat to get into the cockpit and see technology so advanced 20 years ago that it is still just short of state of the art today.

The Starship flies over 400 miles an hour, making the trip from Tulsa to Ponca City in 12 minutes.

The cockpit is remarkably quiet because the engines are in the back, and the flight is remarkably smooth because of a design that absorbs turbulence.

And whether it's flying by, or just moving around on the ramp, it gets a lot of attention.

"I don't think I've had a flight yet, without another pilot or a controller asking is that really a Starship? We thought they were all gone, it's been a lot of fun," said Krause.

The Starship was a design masterpiece, but sales were hurt partly because it debuted when business aviation was in decline and it was more expensive than most other executive aircraft.

Now they are so rare, the price is more in line with artwork than aircraft, reflecting an aircraft that has its own fans on the ground and in the air.

There's only one Starship flying in Tulsa, but there's another one being prepared for display at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

To learn more about the Starship visit the History of the Starship website. For more picture of the aircraft visit the Starship Airplane Graveyard website.

Watch the video: Local Company Flies A Starship

WEB EXTRA: 360-degree View Of Tulsa's Starship

WEB EXTRA: Extended Interview With Starship Pilot