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Aircraft

Airbus patents design for Mach 4-plus supersonic jet

If there's one area where the 21st century has gone backwards technologically, it's in supersonic passenger flight. With the grounding of the Concorde fleets in 2003, flying faster than the speed of sound reverted to a military monopoly, but that hasn't kept engineers from trying for a revival. Now Airbus' Marco Prampolini and Yohann Coraboeuf have been granted a US patent for an "ultra-rapid air vehicle" designed to fly at 20 km (12.4 mi) higher than conventional aircraft and over four times the speed of sound – twice the speed of Concorde.Read More

Could bomb-proof lining prevent another Lockerbie?

On December 21, 1988, a terrorist bomb detonated in the luggage hold of Pan Am flight 103 causing the 747 airliner to break up over Lockerbie, Scotland, and killing 243 passengers, 16 crew, and 11 people on the ground. To help prevent such a tragedy from occurring again, a European consortium, including the University of Sheffield, is developing Fly-Bag; a flexible fabric and composite liner capable of containing explosions inside an aircraft to improve its chances of survival.Read More

Next leg of Solar Impulse round-the-world flight pushed back to April 2016

The Solar Impulse team has announced that the completion of its round-the-world solar flight will now be postponed until next April. The batteries of the Solar Impulse 2 solar-powered aircraft sustained damage as the aircraft ascended to an optimal energy-management altitude of 28,000 ft (8,534 m) on the first day of its ambitious Japan-to-Hawaii flight. It is believed that a high rate of climb coupled with over-insulation of the gondolas resulted in irreversible overheating damage to the aircraft's batteries. Read More

Flying replica set to fulfill Bugatti's radical aircraft dream

When we think of Bugatti, we generally think of classic sportscars like the T13 and modern day supercars such as the all-conquering Veyron. However, back in the late 1930s, Ettore Bugatti also set out to build racing aircraft. In 1937 he began construction on a radical machine that had a swept-forward wing design, a twin-V tailplane, and twin contra-rotating propellers powered by two Bugatti straight-eight engines. Unfortunately, the Second World War broke out just before the aircraft was completed and Bugatti had to flee Paris, taking his creation with him. Today a group of dedicated enthusiasts are recreating Bugatti's dream and building a replica that, unlike the original, will soon take to the skies.Read More

Elektra One Solar becomes first solar-electric aircraft to cross the Alps in both directions

It's been quite a month for electric aircraft. First, the Solar Impulse 2 broke distance and duration records when it flew from Japan to Hawaii. Then, two competing teams both claimed to have made the world's first electric flight across the English Channel. Now, Germany's PC-Aero says that its Elektra One Solar has become the first solar-electric plane to cross the Alps in both directions.Read More

PriestmanGoode designs luxurious new aircraft cabin

Newly-designed aircraft cabins for Swiss International Airlines are aimed at making long-haul flights more comfortable for holidaymakers and more productive for business travelers. Designed by PriestmanGoode, the cabins will provide passengers with more space, storage and privacy.Read More

Electric aircraft makes first English Channel crossing

An electric aircraft has crossed the English Channel for the first time. The question is, which one is it? On Friday, Airbus Group announced that its E-Fan technology demonstrator claimed the prize by flying from Lydd, Kent to Calais. However, it soon came to light that French Aerobat Hugues Duval had flown from Dover to Calais 12 hours earlier on Thursday in a Cri-Cri electric plane. Exactly which one gets in the record books may hinge on a technicality.Read More

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