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Aircraft

From left to right: Didier Esteyne – E-Fan Pilot Francis Deborde, Gérant of ACS Dominique ...

Manned electric-powered aircraft have made record-breaking flights and turned more than a few heads in the past few years, and it's not a trend that's likely to slow down. Last week, the E-Fan electric trainer airplane developed by the Airbus Group made its first public flight before a collection of French dignitaries. Currently a demonstrator for electric aircraft technology, Airbus says that is will be used as the basis for building a new pair of electric training aircraft models.  Read More

AgustaWestland has announced its AW609 tiltrotor aircraft completed autorotation trials ea...

Following on from the completion of flight envelope expansion trials in December 2013, AgustaWestland gave the first customer demonstration flights of the AW609 tiltrotor aircraft in February. This was followed by autorotation trials, which the company has announced were successfully completed earlier this month.  Read More

Artist's impression of ALIAS, a drop-in automated flight control system designed to make t...

Flying a military aircraft is the classic example of long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. Part of the reason for this is that despite half a century of creating automated flight systems, emergencies still require flight crews to multitask like a one-tentacled octopus. DARPA is hoping to change this with its Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program aimed at producing a drop-in automated flight control system designed to make the pilot's life simpler while reducing the size of flight crews.  Read More

The Arcturus Jump system is designed to give UAVs VTOL capability without the weight penal...

Fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have a lot of advantages over manned aircraft, but much of that is lost when they get too big to be launched by hand and start needing runways and catapults to get aloft. Vertical Takeoff and Landing systems seem like an obvious alternative, but the extra weight of these systems can limit the advantages they offer. Arcturus UAV in Northern California unveiled its solution this week with its Jump VTOL system. Using self-contained electric lift motors, this add-on system is designed to provide tactical UAVs with VTOL capabilities without the usual penalties of payload and range.  Read More

The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator program aims at developing aircraft ...

While autonomous aircraft are now a well established part of military operations, there are some areas where “pilot optional” is still very much synonymous with “cutting edge.” Case in point is Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator developed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. In cooperation with the US Army, Sikorsky demonstrated the helicopter's capabilities for the first time in an autonomous cargo delivery exercise on March 11 at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center.  Read More

The Sunseeker Duo first took flight back in December 2013, with the team since testing dif...

For all the advancements made in solar power technology, developing an airplane that could harvest enough of the sun's energy to not only be flown for extended periods, but take another person along for the ride has proven a difficult task. The team at Solar Flight recently took on this challenge, unveiling its plans for what would be the world's first two-seater solar aircraft, the Sunseeker Duo. Today, the company announced that it has spent the last few months testing the plane's flight performance and the results hold some promise for helping achieve its lofty ambitions.  Read More

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

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