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Aircraft

Joby's wild 16-rotor convertible aircraft for long-range, high-speed, electric VTOL commuting

Personal electric VTOL (vertical take off and landing) commuting may not be far off, thanks to accelerating improvements in battery technology. Joby Aviation has put forward an incredible two-seater plane concept that uses 12 tilting electric propellers to provide multirotor-style balanced VTOL capabilities. Once it reaches cruising speeds, these rotors fold away into aerodynamic bullet shapes, and the aircraft can reach speeds of up to 200 mph (322 km/h) and ranges of up to 200 miles using four additional cruise-optimized props on the backs of the wings and tail fins.Read More

Airbus patent shows modular, removable aircraft cabins

According to a recently-granted patent, Airbus is exploring the potential of creating a new breed of versatile, modular aircraft that would see detachable passenger cabins slot into a hole in an aeroplane's fuselage. The concept has the potential to revolutionize air travel, while providing significant savings for airlines by reducing the time that planes spend idle on the ground.Read More

Volta Flyer is made to teach kids about solar-powered flight

Whether they've been crossing the English Channel, traversing the Alps, or attempting to fly around the world, solar-powered planes have been in the news a lot this year. While the aircraft are certainly fascinating and inspiring, there's no way that most of would ever be able to afford one … or is there? If a new Kickstarter campaign is successful, you'll be able to get a Volta Flyer solar airplane for just US$40. The only thing is, it'll be a little on the small side.Read More

Cobalt's Valkyrie: Bruce Wayne's new private plane?

Looking more like a high-tech fighter than a light plane designed for private use, the Valkyrie from Cobalt aircraft has just been launched. With a canard front wing, sleek aerodynamic shape and a turbocharged 350 hp (260 kW) engine, the new Valkyrie is claimed to be capable of traveling at speeds of up to 260 knots (482 km/h, 300 mph) and has capacity for up to five adults and their luggage.Read More

Airbus Helicopters flight tests kerosene-fueled lightweight V8 piston engine

Most piston-driven helicopters use aviation-grade gasoline or avgas, but as part of the European Clean Sky initiative, Airbus Helicopters has begun flight testing of a new high-compression engine that burns widely-available kerosene aviation fuel. Installed in an H120 demonstrator aircraft, the advanced lightweight V8 piston engine promises to be a more efficient, cleaner alternative to turbine powerplants in high-performance rotorcraft.Read More

New stealth material could defeat latest radar systems

Stealth aircraft like the F35 fighter generally rely on high-tech absorption materials and unusual geometries to scatter, deflect, and sponge up incoming radar signals. These techniques are exceptionally good at masking a vehicle's shape and size, particularly when swept with side-scanning radar. However, with lower-frequency, directed anti-stealth radar-targeting systems being developed, these surfaces prove much less able to hide an object. To help address this, a team of Chinese scientists has developed a thin electronic material that sheaths an object and effectively absorbs radar signals over a wide range of frequencies.Read More

Dubai firefighters to tackle high-rise fires with Jetpacks

Fires in high-rise buildings can be very problematic. It can be difficult to move around the building, to quickly get equipment to where it needs to be and even to communicate with people inside. Dubai, a place with lots of towering constructions, plans to tackle this by giving Jetpacks to its firefighters.
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Mitsubishi Regional Jet makes first flight

Japan's hopes of becoming a global player in commercial aviation were given a boost this week with the first flight of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet. The MRJ90 test aircraft took off from Nagoya, Japan, on Wednesday and spent an hour and a half in the skies off the Pacific coast running through basic flight functionality.


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Feature

JB-9 jetpack makes spectacular debut flying around Statue of Liberty

The dream of personal flight took a great leap forward last week as Jetpack Aviation unveiled its JB-9 jetpack in spectacular fashion. Lifting off from a boat, inventor and aviator David Mayman flew the powerful, agile JB-9 around the Statue of Liberty, pausing to salute and pirouette before touching back down. Running on kerosene and using two vectored jet engines, the JB-9 can reach high speeds and altitudes and offers a flight time over 10 minutes, depending on pilot weight. We spoke at length with Mayman to discover how the JB-9 works and how long it'll be before we can buy one.Read More

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