The Solar Impulse team has announced that the completion of its
round-the-world solar flight will now be postponed until next April. The
batteries of the Solar Impulse 2 solar-powered aircraft sustained
damage as the aircraft ascended to an optimal energy-management
altitude of 28,000 ft (8,534 m) on the first day of its
ambitious Japan-to-Hawaii flight. It
is believed that a high rate of climb coupled with over-insulation of
the gondolas resulted in irreversible overheating damage to the aircraft's
Small airports are often in a no-win situation. They don't have much traffic because they don't have an adequate tower system, and they don't have an adequate tower system because they don't have much traffic. That could be about to change, with the opening of the world's first remotely operated air-traffic control system
in Sweden. Thanks to the Remote Tower Services (RTS) system, the first plane landed last week at Örnsköldsvik Airport, but it was controlled from the LFV Remote Tower Centre 123 km away in Sundsvall.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.