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Aircraft

The formation flight lasted almost two hours

Dassault Aviation announced that last month it came a step closer to making science fiction reality when it conducted a formation flight of the nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) with a Rafale fighter and a Falcon 7X business jet. The flight off the coast of the south of France took place on March 20, and for almost two hours the nEUROn kept station with the other planes as they flew over the several hundred kilometers out over the Mediterranean. According to Dassault, this was the first time an unmanned combat aircraft achieved formation flight.  Read More

The X-47B on its first night flight carried out at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on Apr...

After taking to the air for the first time in early 2011, the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System has been ticking off a series of firsts, including being the first unmanned aircraft to launch and recovery from a modern aircraft carrier. Another box has now been ticked with the aircraft completing its first night flights.  Read More

Solar Impulse 2 makes its public debut in Payerne, Switzerland

What has a wider wingspan than a 747, weighs the same as a car, and can fly almost forever without a drop of fuel? If you were in Payerne, Switzerland on Wednesday, you would have seen the answer as psychiatrist and explorer Bertrand Piccard and engineer and entrepreneur André Borschberg unveiled the Solar Impulse 2. The result of 12 years work, the ultra-light, solar-powered airplane will attempt to fly around the world next year relying exclusively on solar power to keep it aloft for days at a time.  Read More

A pre-certified Split Scimitar Winglet installed on a United Boeing 737-800 during the tes...

If you think that you've been seeing some funny-looking airliners in the past couple of months, you're not imagining things. On February 18th, a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 made the world's first commercial flight by an aircraft equipped with fuel-saving Split Scimitar Winglets.  Read More

The newly-announced Phantom 2 Vision+

Last November, DJI Innovations released its Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter. Unlike the base Phantom copter, this one featured its own motorized HD video camera that could be remotely tilted by the user. Now, DJI has announced the Phantom 2 Vision+. Its camera has a three-axis electronic stabilizer, which keeps the shot steady regardless of changes in pitch, roll or yaw.  Read More

Dr Reece Clothier with a prototype of a bio-inspired unmanned aircraft, under development ...

Most people who have cast their eyes skyward – or seen a nature documentary or two – will have seen lazily circling birds soaring to greater heights without flapping their wings. These soaring birds are catching a ride on rising air currents to save energy, and now researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, are aiming to develop bio-inspired UAVs capable of doing the same thing.  Read More

A front view of the 3d-printed UAV airframe

Because 3D printing allows one-off items to be created quickly and cheaply, it should come as no surprise that the technology has already been used to produce unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Engineers at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC), however, have taken things a step farther. They've made a 3D-printed UAV airframe that's designed to minimize the amount of material needed in its construction, and that can be printed and in the air within a single day.  Read More

The dragon can shoot fire three feet while on the ground

A couple of years ago, a man named Rick Hamel created one of the most insane remote-controlled flying machines you'll ever witness. No, it's not an airplane or helicopter, or anything that mundane. Instead, he created a dragon that actually shoots fire and reaches airborne speeds of up to 70 mph (112.6 km/h). Now, this beast is actually for sale via Hammacher Schlemmer, with a staggering US$60,000 price tag.  Read More

The StratoBus will hover up out of the way of airliners, but won't need to be launched int...

Satellites may be very useful for communications, navigation and other applications, but they're awfully expensive to build and launch, and once they're in orbit ... well, there's no reusing them. That's why a consortium led by Thales Alenia Space is developing the StratoBus. It's a planned autonomous airship that can be launched like a regular blimp, but that will be able to hover at an altitude of 20 km (12 miles) – that's up in the stratosphere, hence the name.  Read More

The LA100 Version2 is Wi-Fi-equipped, and works with the new OperationCenter app

A couple of years ago, France’s Lehmann Aviation introduced its LA100, a fully autonomous fixed-wing UAV designed to carry a user-supplied GoPro Hero camera. Now, the company has announced the LA100 Version2, which features Wi-Fi connectivity and a new Windows Phone 8-based OperationCenter control interface app.  Read More

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