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Aircraft

3D Printing

Boeing proposes 3D printing "ice" for aircraft certification

In another potential aerospace application for 3D printing, Boeing has filed an application with the US Patent Office for a way to make artificial "ice." The company isn't planning on making novelty ice cubes for the first class passengers (yet), but has come up with a way of printing plastic and composite shapes that can be tacked onto the wings and other surfaces to simulate icing conditions. According to Boeing, this will help to streamline and reduce the cost of the aircraft certification process.Read More

Aircraft

Can Boom bring back supersonic flight without the astronomical price tag?

A Denver-based startup company is entering the race to reintroduce supersonic commercial travel with the promise of a 40-passenger airliner that can not only fly faster than Concorde, but at business class prices. Boom Technology says it is using modern engines and materials to develop a supersonic passenger jet that can cruise at Mach 2.2 (1,675 mph, 2,700 km/h), with prices starting at US$5,000 for a return ticket between London and New York.Read More

Aircraft

Slippery substance-secreting SLUGs to stop ice buildup

Anyone who's tried to travel by air during winter might know how frustrating it can be to sit on the tarmac while ice is removed from the wings of the aircraft. A truck spraying the wings with a de-icing agent might get the job done, but it also means precious travel time is wasted. To reduce downtime, scientists have developed a material that secretes a slick substance when temperatures drop to prevent ice from sticking to the wings in the first place.Read More

Aircraft

DARPA's unmanned X-Plane packs electric fans aplenty for vertical take-off and landing

If there was a competition for the oddest looking aircraft, then DARPA's VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) would have to be in the running for the main prize. With a modularized, cellular wing design that looks like a flying set of cupboards, the unmanned aircraft is a hybrid of fixed-wing and rotary wing technologies designed to create a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that boasts greater range and speed capabilities.Read More

Aircraft

Boeing creates self-cleaning, germ-zapping lavatory for airliners

One of the drawbacks of flying is that you're sharing the lavatory with a couple of hundred people of unknown hygiene standards, and the thing won't be properly cleaned again until the plane touches down. To make the airborne germaphobe a bit more comfortable and the facilities more hygienic, Boeing has created a self-cleaning airliner lavatory that uses non-touch technology and ultraviolet light that's claimed to kill 99.99 percent of germs in three seconds.Read More

Space

NASA green-lights supersonic passenger plane project

NASA is moving ahead with its new X-planes program by awarding its first contract to design a prototype "low-boom" supersonic passenger jet. At a ceremony today at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced that a team led by Lockheed Martin will develop the preliminary designs for a demonstration aircraft.Read More

Aircraft

NASA wants to bring back X-planes to test new aviation technologies

The American X-planes were part of the romance of the heyday of post-war aviation with test pilots like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in the X-1 and a rival corps of astronauts flew into space in the X-15. As part of a 10-year plan proposed by the Obama administration, NASA Aeronautics' New Aviation Horizons program wants to revive the X-planes for the 21st century as demonstrators for emerging, greener flight technologies.Read More

Robotics

Will humanoid robots build tomorrow's aircraft?

Robots may build cars by the millions, but they still don't have much to do with assembling airliners – a task where human workers are still essential. To give the organics a helping manipulator, the Joint Robotics Laboratory (JRL) and Airbus Group have embarked on a four-year joint research project to develop humanoid robots that can work on aircraft assembly lines and free workers from tedious and hazardous jobs.Read More

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