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Aviation

Aircraft

Airvinci ducted fan helicopter prototype set for take off

There's been a bit of a renaissance in designs for personal flying craft over the last few years, with everything from conceptual electric fan passenger craft designed for quiet commuting, to real jetpacks flying around landmarks and jet-powered hoverboards breaking records, and the collection just keeps growing. Now add one more personal flight machine concept to the list in the form of the Airvinci: a ducted fan VTOL aircraft that is expected to start its aeronautical life as a heavy-lifting drone and later have a cockpit added for carrying human cargo.Read More

Aircraft

Meet Maxwell, NASA's newest X-plane with 14 electric motors

Back in February, NASA announced that it intends to bring back the X-planes, a series of experimental aircraft designed to test out new technologies that dates back to the first plane to break the sound barrier in 1947. Now the newest member of the family, dubbed the X-57, has been revealed. With 14 electric motors driving 14 propellors, the X-57 is designed to test greener propulsion technologies.Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People Feature

Dezso Molnar interview Part 4: My two current flying car projects

In part 4 of our extended interview with serial inventor and flying car advocate Dezso Molnar, Dezso puts his money where his mouth is. After giving us his philosophy on flying cars, and reviewing his favorite and least favorite existing designs, Dezso speaks about the two flying car designs he's currently working on as he prepares to launch the world's first flying car race series. The Street Wing concept is a fully electric, solar-supported streetable airplane, and the G2 Gyrocycle is a race-focused, 200 mph three-wheeler that's already rolling on the street, and nearly ready to fly.Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People Feature

Dezso Molnar interview Part 3: My favorite (and least favorite) existing flying cars

Serial inventor Dezso Molnar is a man of many opinions - and strong ones at that. In fact, one short California road trip Loz Blain took with Dezso looks like it will stretch out to span five in-depth interview articles. Start out by reading about Dezso's background as an inventor, rocket scientist and musician, then check out his philosophical take on where flying cars should be going, and now for part three, Dezso speaks off the cuff about his favorite and least favorite flying car designs that are out there right now. He's about to launch the world's first flying car race series.Read More

Aircraft

Can an up-close study of bird flight clear shapeshifting aircraft wings for takeoff?

The ability of birds to fly more efficiently by changing the shape of their wings has inspired a number of approaches to developing low-energy aircraft. If this technique can be replicated, where individual feathers are adjusted to guide the animals through the air, it could make for vehicles that are lighter, faster and more maneuverable. With a view to making such shape-shifting wings a reality, scientists are about to get up close and personal with our avian friends, launching into the most detailed analysis of bird flight ever conducted in the name of aerospace engineering.Read More

Aircraft

Refurbished Solar Impulse 2 returns to the skies

Following a seven-month grounding in Hawaii, Solar Impulse 2 is preparing for a return to its historic round-the-world sun-powered flight. The team has carried out a maintenance flight to test out newly installed systems and plans to continue its journey at the end of April with a four-day flight from Hawaii to the west coast of the USA. Read More

Drones

Hovering kestrel inspires drone that gains altitude without using power

A near-future where the skies are filled with drones carrying out deliveries and surveillance might be hard to imagine, but it is something aerospace experts are already giving careful consideration to. Improving the efficiency of these vehicles, even at the margins, could mean huge energy savings and more reliable services across the board. To this end, Australian researchers have developed a fixed-wing aircraft that uses natural updrafts to climb higher, inspired by the ability of the kestrel falcon to hover while searching for prey on the ground. Read More

Environment

Boeing may convert forestry waste into biofuel

If a recently-announced consortium of scientists and aviation companies is successful, you could one day be flying in jets powered by the remains of decay – otherwise known as biofuel from forest-industry waste. The project will be led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and NORAM Engineering and Constructors, and includes aviation and related companies Boeing, Air Canada, WestJet, SkyNRG and Bombardier.Read More

Drones

FAA beta testing B4UFLY smartphone app to keep drone pilots informed

Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, have quickly gained popularity with the public. And as is so often the case with rapidly advancing technologies, it can be hard for the public to know legally what they can and can't do with the technology – or in the case of drones, where they can and can't fly. To help dispel confusion surrounding drone flights, the US FAA is beta testing its B4UFLY smartphone app, which tells users about any restrictions on unmanned aircraft they might want to fly in a particular area.Read More

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