DARPA demonstrates robotic landing gear for helicopters

Helicopters are versatile machines capable of all manner of maneuvers in the air, but when it comes to takeoffs and landings they are very fussy creatures, preferring flat, level pads, which are scarce in combat and rescue missions. DARPA recently demonstrated a new robotic landing gear system in an unmanned flight near Atlanta, Georgia, that's designed to overcome these limitations by enabling landings on broken or uneven terrain with a high degree of safety.Read More

BA's new first class cabin is the stuff of Dreamliners

When British Airways' (BA) new 787-9 Dreamliner begins flying, it will be among the most technologically advanced planes in the company's fleet. For passengers in first class, it will also be among the most exclusive. There will be just eight seats compared to 14 on BA's other long-haul aircraft.Read More

Gremlins in the works: DARPA's vision for future air operations

The United States boasts some of the most advanced multi-mission combat aircraft in the world, but this can be a liability as well as an asset. True, each aircraft can outperform an entire squadron of a few decades ago, but they're also very expensive, incredibly complex, and not exactly expendable. For these reasons DARPA has launched the Gremlins program, which aims to develop swarms of cheaper, smarter aircraft that can be deployed and collected in midair.Read More

XTI Aircraft Company offers stakes in the TriFan 600 VTOL business plane

Crowdfunding is usually associated with consumer goods like smartwatches and drones, but XTI Aircraft Company of Denver, Colorado is hoping to score a double first with its TriFan 600. Pitched as the first commercially certified high-speed, long-range Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) airplane that combines the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed of an airplane, it's also the first major aviation project to launch an equity crowdfunding campaign in the wake of new rules approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Read More

Bugatti airplane replica makes its first flight

This July, we heard about how a group of aviation enthusiasts were building a flying replica of the radical Bugatti 100P racing aircraft. Named Reve Bleu (Blue Dream), it was undergoing taxi and engine testing at the time. This Wednesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, however, it made its first flight – and did a nose-plant at the end.Read More

Sunseeker Duo solar-powered airplane flies across the Alps – and back

This July, PC Aero’s single-seater solar-electric Elektra One Solar airplane got some media attention by flying across the Alps in both directions within one trip. Starting in 2009, however, Solar Flight president Eric Raymond took his solar-electric Sunseeker II over the mountain range a number of times. This August, he did his own over-and-back trip … although this time he flew his two-seater Sunseeker Duo, which allowed him to bring his wife Irena along as a second pilot.Read More

Students rise to NASA electric aircraft design challenge

In a recent challenge issued by NASA, university students were asked to design an electric aircraft envisaged to enter service in the year 2020 and be commercially competitive with standard piston-engine craft. In response, the space agency received submissions from 20 universities across the United States that not only met the brief but, in many cases, went above and beyond to really the impress the judges. We take a look at the top five prize winners.Read More

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


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