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Aircraft

— Aircraft

Boeing brings electronic log book on line

The paperless office may not have arrived, but it looks like the paperless cockpit is well on its way. Boeing has announced that Air New Zealand is abandoning old-fashioned hard copy technical logs on its fleet of six 787 Dreamliners in favor of Boeing's Electronic Log Book (ELB). According to the aircraft manufacturer, Air New Zealand is one of the first airlines to gain operational approval for the app, which is designed to improve the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of aircraft maintenance operations.

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Drone flight powered by lightweight hydrogen-producing pellets

At first glance, hydrogen fuel cells sound like a great power source for fixed-wing drones making long flights – they have much longer run times than batteries, and they emit no emissions other than water vapor. Unfortunately, the hydrogen typically has to be stored in large heavy pressurized tanks. Last month, however, a Raptor E1 electric drone made a successful test flight running on a unique new system that's actually lighter than the lithium-ion battery it replaced.

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Boeing 737 MAX takes off

The first of the new generation of Boeing 737 MAX airliners to roll off the assembly line has made its maiden flight. Today's flight of the 737 MAX 8 began at 9:46 am PST from Renton Field in Washington State and ended at Boeing Field in Seattle at 12:33 pm. The flight marks the start of Boeing's test flight program for certification and delivery.

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A pinch of graphene could keep airplane wings ice-free

Both airplane wings and helicopter rotor blades are subject to one problem – they can both ice up. Although de-icing solutions can be applied when aircraft are on the ground, that doesn't stop ice from eventually forming once they're in the air. That's why scientists at Texas' Rice University have developed a new graphene-based coating that continuously melts ice by conducting an electrical current.

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— Aircraft

Eye tracking monitors helicopter pilots flying blind

From battle zones to oil rigs, helicopters often operate in some of the hairiest situations in which pilots are forced to rely solely on cockpit instruments. In an effort to improve safety, the non-profit helicopter safety organization HeliOffshore is using eye-tracking technology to gain a greater understanding of how pilots operate in such scenarios.

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— Aircraft

AirMule VTOL flies untethered for the first time

Helicopters may be able to take off and land from places that fixed-wing airplanes can't, but those whirling exposed rotor blades still keep them out of tight spaces. That's why Israel's Tactical Robotics Ltd created the AirMule. It's an unmanned VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, which features lift rotors that are safely enclosed inside its body. Although we first heard about it two years ago, the prototype just recently made its first untethered test flight.

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