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Aircraft

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Lotus leaf-inspired aircraft wing coating may repel bugs to ease fuel consumption

By - June 2, 2015 1 Picture

Splattered insects may seem like the least of your worries when you're tearing through the air at more than 500 mph (800 km/h), but for those working with Boeing's ecoDemonstrator 757 they present a pretty unique opportunity. NASA has carried out testing of a series of non-stick coatings on the aircraft's wings, finding that one inspired by lotus leaves showed good potential to shrug off blasts of bug guts to lessen drag and, by extension, ease the consumption of fuel.

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Bad weather forces Solar Impulse to land in Japan

The Solar Impulse team reports that the aircraft is making an unscheduled stopover in Nagoya, Japan. The plan was to cross a weather front just before Hawaii on solar day 5, but the latest forecasts looked grim so the decision was made to land and wait for better weather conditions.

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Solar Impulse takes off on longest leg of round-the-world flight

By - May 30, 2015 6 Pictures

With Swiss pilot André Borschberg at the controls, the solar-powered, single-pilot Solar Impulse 2 airplane took off from Nanjing Lukou Airport in China today bound for Hawaii on the longest leg of its round-the-world flight. But this isn't just a major leg of the Solar Impulse 2 solar-powered circumnavigation, it is also an attempt at the longest duration flight ever by a solo pilot in any type of aircraft.

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First manned flight for Flike personal tricopter

By - May 28, 2015 5 Pictures

Despite always generating plenty of interest, getting a personal flight vehicle off the ground can be a huge undertaking – just ask Malloy Aeronautics, which has been forced to scale its Hoverbike down, selling a one-third-scale drone to raise funds to continue development of the larger, manned Hoverbike. But a Hungarian team is looking onwards and upwards after having achieved the first manned flight of its Flike tricopter concept demonstrator.

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GoPro quadcopter confirmed for 2016, with virtual reality gear also in sight

By - May 27, 2015 2 Pictures

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman has confirmed long-swirling rumors that his company will tap into the fast-growing drone market, outlining plans to launch its own quadcopter in 2016. Making the announcement at the Code Conference in California on Wednesday, Woodman also spoke of a spherical six-camera array that could capture content for virtual reality applications.

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Sikorsky S-97 Raider spins up coaxial rotors on maiden flight

By - May 27, 2015 2 Pictures

Sikorsky's S-97 Raider prototype helicopter, which was revealed to the world last year, has taken to the air for the first time. Based on the design of the X2 Technology Demonstrator, the S-97 Raider features coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller and is intended as a multi-mission aircraft to replace the US Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter and the Special Forces’ MH-6 Little Bird.

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Yeair! hybrid gasoline/electric quadcopter boasts impressive numbers

By - May 26, 2015 14 Pictures

One hour of flight time, a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), a payload of 5 kg (11 lb) – these are big figures for a drone, and figures that are basically out of reach using today's LiPo battery technology. But German startup Yeair! believes it's possible using a hybrid system in which each rotor is driven by two motors – an electric, and a two-stroke 10cc gasoline engine. And the Yeair! team has its sights set on something even more impressive down the track – personal flight in a two-seater hybrid octocopter. The quadcopter of the future, according to German startup Yeair!, will eclipse the performance of current quads by using the fuel of the future… Gasoline. Wait, what?

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