Congress: For Plane That Won’t Fly, $63 Mil Is Enough

By Justin Rood

Aug 24, 2007 9:17am

Millions of dollars later, Congress has effectively killed a military plane program the Pentagon repeatedly rejected, and which never had a successful flight. The $63 million Congress poured into the DP2 program over 20 years was not requested by the Department of Defense. Instead, it was mandated through obscure provisions in bills known as "earmarks." Most of those earmarks for the DP2 were inserted by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., in whose district the plane was designed and built, in prototype. The 2008 defense spending bill does not include an earmark for the DP2. Hunter had wanted to direct $6 million toward the plane’s development. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Photos: See the Aircraft That Can’t Fly Blotter The Aircraft That Can’t Fly; Congress’ $63 Million Boondoggle Blotter New Video of Plane Crashes; $63 Million Plan 0 for 49 in Tests World News Video The Aircraft That Can’t Fly Click Here to Check Out Brian Ross Slideshows Hunter said he still supported the project. "One-third of our present vertical takeoff aircraft have crashed," he said by phone from Texas, where he was campaigning for president. "Continued research and development of the DP2 is warranted." The DP2 project was the subject of an ABC News investigation in June and a calamitous congressional hearing. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Designed as a plane that can take off straight up and then fly at 700 miles per hour, the DP2 has never attained a height of more than a few feet in prototype tests before crashing to the ground. The experimental plane was panned by most of the government engineers who were assigned to review and manage the project. The plane’s creator, Anthony DuPont, has donated $36,000 to Hunter’s congressional campaigns.  Hunter has denied the contributions had any connection with his continued support of the aircraft. He said he makes "decisions on what I think is right for the country," and that he has rejected other projects backed by large campaign contributors, like General Dynamics and Boeing. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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