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Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing has begun assembly on the third flight-test airplane for the 787 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner is the first aircraft to be 80% composite by volume, making it lighter and more efficient than competitors. The first airplane to fly is on track for "power on" in June.  Read More

Odysseus' radical Z-wing configuration

May 2, 2008 Aurora Flight Sciences has revealed the design of the aircraft it hopes will achieve the ambitious goals set out in DARPA's ambitious Vulture program: sustained uninterrupted flight for over five years at altitudes of 60,000-90,000 feet. Known as Odysseus, the solar-powered concept aircraft is as radical as the mission it is designed to accomplish, combining three self-sufficient “constituent aircraft” in a unique Z wing configuration that spans almost 500 feet (150 meters). The modular design provides several advantages - the shape of the aircraft can be adjusted to maximize the solar collection properties during the day and spread flat for aerodynamic efficiency at night-time, and because each of the constituent vehicles is capable of autonomously docking at altitude, the design also facilitates the replacement of one section of the plane whilst it is still aloft.  Read More

The falx hybrid-electric tilt-rotor concept in police trim.

Tilt-rotor aircraft have been around since the 1950s, offering the vertical take-off, hovering and landing abilities of a helicopter with the range, high flight ceiling, speed and fuel economy of a turboprop aeroplane. Now a new venture from Falx Air Vehicles is planning to push the fuel economy angle even further by using a hybrid-electric motor and inbuilt solar arrays. The company expects its upcoming compact single and double-seater tiltrotor aircraft to use as little as 10 litres of fuel per hour airborne, and the quiet electric operation should see these small, light and manoeuvrable aircraft make solid stealth vehicles for military uses. Though not yet confirmed, we may see a full-size prototype as early as the Farnsworth air show this year, and Falx is aiming to have the craft fully certified by the end of 2009.  Read More

Vintage aircraft fest at Goodwood 2008

April 28, 2008 UK classic aircraft fans are in for a treat next month as more than 70 pre-1967 planes take to the skies at the 2008 Goodwood Aero Club Vintage Fly-In and Air Display.  Read More

The world’s largest and most advanced airport building
 Image: Foster and Partners

Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport became fully operational on March 26, becoming the largest airport terminal complex built in a single phase. The US$3.5 billion expansion commenced in March 2004, and the 986,000 square meter airport can now absorb all five of Heathrow’s terminals with 17% left to spare.  Read More

Vulture program envisions 5 year uninterrupted flight
 Image credit: QinetiQ Ltd.

April 22, 2008 The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected Aurora Flight Sciences, Boeing and Lockheed Martin as the contractors for the first phase of its Vulture program - a project which aims to design and develop a new breed of solar-powered unmanned aircraft that can remain airborne without interruption for an incredible five years.  Read More

General Atomics Sky Warrior UAV

April 18, 2008 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GAASI) has announced the successful flight of the first Sky Warrior® Block 1 aircraft for the U.S. Army’s Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) program. Derived from the Predator UAV which has been deployed in Iraq, but with double the weapons capacity, the Sky Warrior is a multi-mission aircraft designed to perform long-endurance, surveillance, communications relay and tactical strike missions. It offers increased range, greater payload flexibility (including the ability to carry four Hellfire missiles) and can remain airborne for 30 hours at a time at altitudes above 25,000 feet.  Read More

Embraer Phenom 300

April 16, 2008 Brazilian Aircraft manufacturer Embraer has finished assembling its first Phenom 300 light-jet. The US$6.65 million plane expected to enter service in the second half of 2009 following a planned series of tests before its first flight.  Read More

The first P-8A fuselage is lowered into a tooling fixture in Renton, Wash.
 Photo: Boeing ...

April 11, 2008 Boeing has begun final assembly of the first P-8A Poseidon, the long-range anti-submarine plane that will replace the P-3 Orion. The US Navy plans to purchase 108 P-8As, and initial operational capability is scheduled to begin in 2013. The P-8A will have anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.  Read More

Aeroscraft ML866

April 8, 2008 A spectacular new type of aircraft is one step closer to take-off with the announcement that the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has accepted the type certification application for the Aeroscraft model Aeros ML866.  Read More

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