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.
Assembly is underway on Boeing's first 737 MAX. Due to enter service in 2017, the new single-aisle airplane promises to deliver reduced operating costs, more cabin-luggage space and better fuel economy than the Next-Generation 737 it will replace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A future in which we're all flying around on hoverboards may not have materialized just yet, but it does appear to be getting closer. After Hendo's magnetic hoverboard was announced last year, a new world record for the farthest hoverboard flight has now been set. And there wasn't a magnet in sight.
The Concorde may be just a memory, but some aircraft manufacturers still see supersonic aircraft as the future of civilian aviation. To allow for widespread supersonic flight over populated areas without shattering windows and frightening chickens, electronics firm Rockwell Collins has been awarded a two-year NASA contract to develop a 3D cockpit display to help pilots of future supersonic aircraft to mitigate or eliminate sonic booms.
Switzerland has joined an elite club with its first homegrown business jet taking to the air for the first time. With the call sign of HB-VXA, the twin-engine prototype Pilatus Aircraft PC-24 Super Versatile Jet made its maiden flight last week, traveling from Buochs Airport in a 55-minute journey across central Switzerland to Brünig.
Long-haul flights can a tedious and uncomfortable experience. If you're going to be stuck on plane for the best part of 12 hours or more, though, a touch of luxury may go some way to improving the experience. New VIP cabin designs from Mercedes-Benz Style and Lufthansa would offer just that.