First Rocket Jockeys Buy Their Mount

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It would appear the bar has already been set pretty high for would-be rocket-racing competitors. Two Air Force Reserve F-16 pilots are the first to toss their hats (not to mention $100,000) into the ring to compete in the Rocket Racing League. Robert "Bobaloo" Rickard and Don "Dagger" Grantham, of Phoenix, both active F-16 drivers, call their team Leading Edge and they will be the first of ten teams to take delivery of a modified Velocity airframe outfitted with a liquid oxygen and kerosene rocket engine. "This is a new age of flight ... we've got one goal," Grantham told Space.com. "We're going to win, we're going to be champions." (If you're wondering, fighter pilots tend to be just a tad competitive.) While Bobaloo and Dagger may have a leg up on their future competitors in the yankin' and bankin' department, they still must perform in the same financial stratosphere that might make this an exclusive sport for reasons other than skill and courage. The $100,000 only secures their spot. They also must guarantee they can buy the $1.2 million airplane and cover the $1 million cost of competing in the six races planned for 2007. Reserve flight pay clearly ain't what it used to be.