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Aviation

The Carplane flying car prototype hits the road in Germany

We've been teased with the prospect of a flying car for years now, with many designs, like the Terrafugia Transition, having been under development for some time but yet to arrive in garages or hangars. The Braunschweig-based company, Carplane hopes to square the circle with a twin-fuselage roadable monoplane that made its first public appearance in prototype form at the recent AERO show in Friedrichshafen, Germany.  Read More

The X-47B receives fuel from an Omega K-707 tanker April 22 while operating over the Chesa...

The US Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft has gone out on a high note (and added yet another acronym to the military lexicon) by conducting the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) exercise. The autonomous aircraft rendezvoused with an Omega K-707 tanker plane off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, successfully taking on 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) of jet fuel as it completed the project's final test objective.  Read More

Researchers working at Siemens say that they have produced an electric aircraft engine wit...

Researchers at Siemens have created a new prototype electric motor specifically designed for aircraft that weighs in at just 50 kg (110 lb) and is claimed to produce about 260 kW (348 hp) at just 2,500 RPM. With a quoted power five times greater than any comparable powerplant, the new motor promises enough grunt to get aircraft with take-off weights of up to 1,800 kg (2 ton) off the ground.  Read More

The heavy transport craft concept, dubbed the PAK TA, could fly at supersonic speeds of up...

A state-run Russian news site is reporting that the country has ambitions to build a huge, supersonic cargo plane capable of transporting tanks to the field in a matter of hours. While there's plenty of reason to be skeptical that transporting such heavy loads at high speeds is even feasible, let alone realistic, Russia's military is reportedly giving itself roughly the next decade to figure it out.  Read More

The truck-mounted LEAPTech Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (Photo: Joby Aviatio...

It might look like it was designed by a six-year-old, with 18 motors crammed onto a too-thin wing, but the Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (HEIST) experimental wing demonstrator could be the future of electric aircraft. A key component of NASA'S Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech) project, it is designed to test whether electric propulsion can allow for a tighter wing design leading to greater efficiency and safety.  Read More

The GloW microlight/glider hybrid

UK-based ProAirsport has developed a hybrid microlight/glider with electrically powered wheels used for taxiing and takeoff, and a jet turbine for climbing and cruising. During flight, the engine can be turned on and off with the flip of a switch, allowing the aircraft to be flown as either a microlight or glider. Unlike typical microlights and self-launching gliders, ProAirsport's GloW is propeller-free.  Read More

Researchers working on the Brainflight project have successfully demonstrated mind-control...

In what may be a just a taste of what's possible when you merge robotics and neuroscience, researchers from Portugal's Brainflight project have successfully demonstrated a drone flight piloted by human thought.  Read More

The FAA's proposed rules would rule out delivery drones from the likes of Amazon

In welcome news for businesses banking on the commercial potential of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put forward a proposal for guidelines surrounding commercial drone use. The rules would clear the air for some applications of the technology, though would still leave certain big-name players, such as Amazon, in limbo.  Read More

GE's new Laser MicroJet drilling holes in high-pressure turbine blades (Photo: GE Aviation...

Turbine blades for use in jet engines need to be made of a hard, unyielding exotic material made to exact specifications, which means the drilling of tiny cooling holes in the blades runs the risk of ruining them. To prevent this from happening, GE is combining the heat of the laser beam with the cooling of the water jet to drill holes without weakening the blades.  Read More

DJI has announced a new firmware update that disables drones flying within a 15.5 mile (25...

Following the crash-landing of a drone on the grounds of the White House last week, the Chinese manufacturer of said drone, DJI, has released new firmware to prevent overzealous pilots flying UAVs anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Available to download now for owners of the company's popular Phantom 2 drones, the update signals a willingness from the company to work with regulators to clear the air for safer drone flight.  Read More

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