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Aircraft

— Space

NASA trains pilots with Fused Reality

To gain proficiency, pilots need realistic training, but they also need to avoid needless cost and risk. Real aircraft provide the most obviously realistic training, but they're dangerous in inexperienced hands. Meanwhile, simulators can reproduce much of the look and feel of actual flying without the danger of losing an aircraft or pilot, but they aren't as successful when it comes to complex maneuvers like aerial-refueling. To square the circle, NASA is developing a technology called Fused Reality, which uses a special headset that combines real flying in a real aircraft with an overlaid simulation.

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— Aircraft

Lockheed Martin unveils potential U-2 Successor

The U-2 spy plane was first constructed at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works in 1955 and went on to become one of the most important intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft of the Cold War. It is one of the few aircraft of its vintage still in active service with the US Air Force, but Lockheed has now unveiled details of its possible successor. Designated the TR-X, the concept aircraft is an improved, stealthier version of the 60-year-old design and could enter service in 10 years.

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— Aircraft

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.

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— Aircraft

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.

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— Aircraft

Could bomb-proof lining prevent another Lockerbie?

On December 21, 1988, a terrorist bomb detonated in the luggage hold of Pan Am flight 103 causing the 747 airliner to break up over Lockerbie, Scotland, and killing 243 passengers, 16 crew, and 11 people on the ground. To help prevent such a tragedy from occurring again, a European consortium, including the University of Sheffield, is developing Fly-Bag; a flexible fabric and composite liner capable of containing explosions inside an aircraft to improve its chances of survival.

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— Aircraft

Flying replica set to fulfill Bugatti's radical aircraft dream

When we think of Bugatti, we generally think of classic sportscars like the T13 and modern day supercars such as the all-conquering Veyron. However, back in the late 1930s, Ettore Bugatti also set out to build racing aircraft. In 1937 he began construction on a radical machine that had a swept-forward wing design, a twin-V tailplane, and twin contra-rotating propellers powered by two Bugatti straight-eight engines. Unfortunately, the Second World War broke out just before the aircraft was completed and Bugatti had to flee Paris, taking his creation with him. Today a group of dedicated enthusiasts are recreating Bugatti's dream and building a replica that, unlike the original, will soon take to the skies. Read More
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