August 30, 2007 Imagine long-distance air-travel that could get you to the other side of the globe in less than a quarter of the time it presently takes? Researchers from Reaction Engines, a company created for design and development of advanced space transport and propulsion systems, are investigating the possibility of hypersonic civil transport in a three year study to examine the feasibility of reducing long-distance flights (e.g. from Brussels to Sydney) to less than 4 hours.
August 28, 2007 Airplane manufacturing giant Boeing
has announced the completion of its 3,000th aircraft built its Everett site in Washington. Coincidently, the factory is also celebrating 40 years in operation this year. The widebody 777-200ER (Extended Range) model was delivered to Korean Air and joins the a worldwide fleet of Boeing 747, 767 and 777 airplanes that have flown more than 34.5 million flights across 71 billion nautical miles.
August 16, 2007 Due to improving airplane technology and increasing disposable income, ultra-light aircraft are now becoming accessible to a far wider proportion of the population. Joining the Ramphos
in lending weight to this argument is the Storch Amphibian
, a light weight amphibious sporting plane available in kit form for around AUD$57K, or ready to fly for under $93K.
The trend towards radical new aircraft designs aimed at achieving new levels of efficiency and operational capability beyond anything currently gracing our skies is on the rise. Recently Gizmag examined Boeing’s Blended-Wing Body (BWB)
and now Aeros
have announced the new Aeroscraft ML866 aircraft which utilizes a combination of buoyant and dynamic lift to create usage possibilities that far outstrip currently available aircraft platforms. The ML866 can be utilized as a private air yacht, corporate air vehicle, business office in the sky, or commercial commuter, providing its passengers with far more space than any existing business jet.
August 1, 2007 With disposable income levels running high, expensive hobbies like aviation
are coming within the reach of more and more people – and hobby pilots are discovering that small planes are coming down to a price point on a par with a touring motorcycle or midrange car. Owning a small plane has its drawbacks though – storing and transporting them can be difficult, not to mention the fact that you need an airstrip to take off and land from. The Italian Ramphos, however, suffers none of these issues. It’s an amphibious flying boat that’s just as happy taking off and landing on water as on land with its retractable wheels. You can tow it around on a trailer, and like the best of late-night TV exercise equipment, it folds for easy storage. This purpose-built little 2-seater is effortlessly easy to fly, handles like a dream and offers a very affordable, practical and exhilarating way to explore the local lakes and coastlines with maximum thrills for minimum fuss.
July 31, 2007 The standard aircraft design with which we have all become so familiar throughout the 20th century is headed for the scrap heap. Despite its ubiquitous nature, the traditional shape is set to be superseded in the push towards cleaner, greener aircraft that can transport people around the globe using less and less fuel. We wrote recently about Boeing’s Blended-Wing Body (BWB) aircraft
, currently in testing – and now a new research group at a Netherlands university has been formed with the explicit goal of consigning the current shape of passenger airliners to the history books. The CleanEra project will investigate BWB, high-tech propeller engines and even UFO-style body shapes in their efforts to produce a light, efficient airliner model that produces less noise and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50% over current designs.
July 30, 2007 The traditional airplane shape is well tried and tested, but manufacturers like Boeing are moving beyond the "tube with wings and a tail" design in the push to improve fuel economy and the environmental impact for the next generation of jets. Inspired by "flying wing"
designs from earlier decades like 1988's B-2 Stealth bomber
, the company has been collaborating with NASA to test the viability of a Blended Wing Body (BWB)
aircraft, using a flat, wide body that tapers out to thin wing-tips and aims to strike an effective middle ground between the tube and flying wing designs. A BWB design allows the entire body of the plane to generate lift and reduces drag in comparison to a tube-shaped fuselage - both of which are key factors in reducing fuel usage. The BWB design also provides a much greater cargo and passenger capacity - making it particularly attractive to the military. After months of development, ground testing
and wind-tunnel testing
, Boeing flew its first BWB prototype last week with the 8.5 per cent scale, 500-pound X-48B aircraft reaching 7500 feet before a successful landing under remote control.
July 30, 2007 With rising oil prices threatening to put sports aviation out of reach of the average enthusiast, innovators are looking at how the sport might be preserved for the next generation. Sonex and Aeroconversions are two such innovators and in partnership the two companies unveiled their three-prong e-Flight strategy at the recent AirVenture OshKosh trade show. An ethanol conversion of Aeroconversions’ AeroVee powerplant and efficiency enhancements for the engine took a back seat to the prototype electric Waiex aircraft introduced to an appreciative crowd. With lithium
and lithium-polymer-based battery technologies
advancing by the day - gaining power, reliability, endurance and efficiency while constantly shedding size and weight - the partners believe the time is ripe to adapt the brushless electric engine
for sports aviation use. The AeroConversions electric motor and battery boxes should end up roughly the size of the petrol engine currently installed in the Waiex with a 130mph top speed and 1 hour flight duration expected for the production model.
July 23, 2007 Just how important does someone have to be to have their own 30,000 pound bomb delivered by a billion dollar aircraft? We'll soon know. We have written about the Massive Penetrator weapon before here
and detailed the awesome firepower and effectively infinite range of the US$1.157 billion B-2 here
. The B-2 is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions through previously impenetrable defenses. The B-2’s low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency, large payload and an unrefueled range of approximately 6,000 nautical miles (9,600 kilometers) give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued, and heavily defended, targets.
June 21, 2007 A new wind detection system installed at Tokyo International Airport will provide air traffic control personnel with improved monitoring of wind activity and advanced warning of hazards such as low-level wind shear. The WindTracer system developed by Lockheed Martin is a Doppler LiDAR (light detection and ranging) system that provides high-resolution wind data and mapping at a range of up to six nautical miles.