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Aviation

— Aircraft

Wireless, handheld device for ground control of X-47B unmanned aircraft tested

While impressive, unmanned flight is just one of the capabilities required of the Northrop Grumman-built X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) if it is to enter service with the U.S. Navy. Prior to and after any flights, the aircraft also needs to be safely maneuvered around the crowded deck of an aircraft carrier. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have taken the first step towards this with the demonstration of a wireless, handheld device that will allow deck operators to remotely control the aircraft on a carrier deck. Read More
— Aircraft

X-51a test results released

The United States Air Force (USAF) has released the results of last August’s third test of the X-51a Waverider, which resulted in the crash of the unmanned scramjet demonstrator. At a press teleconference featuring the Program Manager for Air Force Research Laboratory, Charles Brink, it was confirmed that a malfunctioning fin was the cause of the crash. However, engineers are confident of correcting the fault in time for the fourth test flight scheduled for (Northern Hemisphere) late spring or early summer of next year. Read More
— Military

Ministry of Defence developing new anti-laser eyewear

Laser pointers may be great fun to tease the cat with, but for pilots they are a major hazard. The United States FAA reports over 2,000 incidents every year of planes having lasers pointed at them - some of them powerful enough to pop a balloon. To combat the danger that lasers pose to aviation, the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) is developing new eye wear that can filter out a wide range of laser wavelengths. Read More
— Aircraft

Morphing leading edge reduces drag and noise in takeoff and landing

Passengers looking out the window of a passenger plane will likely have noticed slats on the leading edge of the wing, along with the flaps on the trailing edge of the wing, being extended during takeoff and landing. These leading edge slats provide the lift necessary at low speeds, with the gap between the wing and the slats directing air from the underside of the wing to the top. Unfortunately, this gap also generates a lot of noise. A team of researchers has now developed a morphing leading edge that eliminates the gap and reduces noise and drag during landing. Read More
— Aircraft

Airbus unveils its "Smarter Skies" vision for the future of sustainable aviation

A new report drafted by Airbus as part of its “Smarter Skies” initiative sees the aircraft manufacturing company looking toward 2050 and beyond, in order to consider what can be done to meet the expected growth in future air travel sustainably. The ambitious plans put forward include assisted take-off, free-glide landings, and aircraft flying in formation. Read More
— Aircraft

Third test flight of X-51A hypersonic missile ends in failure

Wright Patterson AFB has confirmed in an official press release that Tuesday’s test of the Waverider X-51A unmanned hypersonic missile has failed. Launched from a B-52 bomber over Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range at 11:36 AM PST, the separation from the bomber and ignition of the X-51A’s rocket booster went as planned. However, 16 seconds into the flight a fault occurred in one of the missile’s control fins before the scramjet could start and the X-51A was today officially reported as "lost." At present, there are no further official details, but the New York Daily News reports that the missile crashed into the Pacific Ocean while NBC News states that the X-51A broke up in flight and fell into the ocean "in pieces." Read More

Jet-fuel powered Cessna flies cheaper and greener

The Cessna Aircraft Company is looking to make small planes a little cheaper to fuel and greener to fly with its new Cessna Turbo 182 NXT. Unveiled on Monday, July 23, at the 2012 Airventure airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the aircraft is a single-engine prop plane that is the first to burn Jet A aviation fuel. This change makes the plane cheaper to fuel, get better mileage and performance, as well as operate more environmentally friendly. Read More
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