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Aviation

The Hybrid Air Vehicles heavy-lifter in Discovery Air livery

The famous and well documented Hindenburg disaster of 1937, when the hydrogen-filled airship burst into flames whilst attempting to tether to its moorings in New Jersey, killed off the 'lighter-than-air' aircraft industry, as well as 35 unfortunate souls. Since the 1970's however, a determined band of, mostly British, aviation engineers has been battling to design and build a commercially viable 'air vehicle'. Many false starts, experimental craft and research projects followed (funded mostly by the U.S. military) but viability remained elusive, until now.  Read More

Pascal Chretien's prototype electric helicopter takes flight

It's easy to look back at the history of exploration and aviation and feel like there's no mountains left to climb, that the age of the great pioneers is behind us and we're doomed to a future of LCD tanning and monitor hypnosis. But don't try telling that to Pascal Chretien. On August 12, this electrical/aerospace engineer and helicopter pilot took to the air in the world's first untethered, fully electric manned helicopter flight in a prototype machine that he designed and built almost entirely by himself within a 12 month development period. In his 2 minute, 10 second test flight, Chretien beat aviation giant Sikorsky into the record books - but it was not without significant risk. As the man himself puts it: "in case of crash I stand good chances to end up in kebab form."  Read More

Lockheed Martin's HALE-D is launched

With the use of airships for passenger transport decreasing in the early 20th century as their capabilities were eclipsed by those of airplanes – coupled with a number of disasters – they were largely resigned to serving as floating billboards or as camera platforms for covering sporting events. But the ability to hover in one place for an extended period of time also makes them ideal for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance purposes, which is why Lockheed Martin has been developing its High Altitude Airship (HAA). The company yesterday launched the first-of-its-kind High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator (HALE-D) to test a number of key technologies critical to development of unmanned airships.  Read More

The 75th anniversary of the Supermarine Spitfire

As much as Goodwood might hold special significance for automotive enthusiasts, the estate also has strong ties with the world of aviation. During WWII it was an active fighter airbase (aka RAF Westhampnett), and there are many other aspects which make it a particularly appropriate venue at which to celebrate the 75th anniversary of most famous British aircraft of all-time – the Supermarine Spitfire.  Read More

Gulfstream G450 crosses the Atlantic on 50/50 biofuel-jetfuel blend

With the rising price of fuel and more stringent emissions regulations, there is a strong need for the aviation industry to begin taking steps to earn its green wings. It's not surprising therefore that biofuel was one of the hot topics at this week's Paris Air Show with both Boeing's 747-8 and Gulfstream's G450 business jet making the trip across the Atlantic on biofuel blends. The G450 flew in from Morristown, New Jersey, after a seven hour flight in which one of its Rolls-Royce engines was powered by a 50/50 blend of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and petroleum-based jet fuel.  Read More

Photo highlights from the 49th Paris International Airshow

Over two thousand international exhibitors, 142 aircraft and tens of thousands of visitors gathered at the Le Bourget exhibition center this week for the 49th International Paris Airshow. Despite some grey skies and unwelcome rain, crowds were treated to spectacular daily flying displays and insights into bleeding-edge aerospace technologies that will shape the way we travel around the planet - and beyond - in the 21st Century. Gizmag joined the throng of media organizations soaking up all that the show has to offer - here's our summary of the week in pictures.  Read More

Boeing 787 Dreamliner on display in Paris (Photo: Gizmag)

One of the most anticipated commercial airplanes in recent years made an appearance at the 49th Paris Airshow this week. The first flight-test 787 Dreamliner (ZA001) spent two days on static display on the tarmac at Le Bourget and will take a short tour through Europe before returning to the U.S.  Read More

D-Dalus - an entirely new genre of aircraft arrives

Austrian research company IAT21 has presented a new type of aircraft at the Paris Air Show which has the potential to become aviation's first disruptive technology since the jet engine. Neither fixed wing nor rotor craft, the D-Dalus uses four, mechanically-linked, contra-rotating, cylindrical turbines for its propulsion, and by altering the angle of the blades, it can launch vertically, hover perfectly still, move in any direction, and thrust upwards and hence "glue down" upon landing, which it can easily do on the deck of a ship, or even a moving vehicle. It's also almost silent, has the dynamic stability to enter buildings, handles rough weather with ease, flies very long distances very quickly and can lift very heavy loads. It's also so simple that it requires little maintenance and requires no more maintenance expertise than an auto mechanic. It accordingly holds immense promise as a platform for personal flight, for military usage, search and rescue, and much more.  Read More

When the new Boeing 747-8 Freighter flies from Seattle to the Paris Air Show, it will mark...

One of the aircraft on display at next week's Paris Air Show will be Boeing's new 747-8 Freighter. While the 76-meter (250-foot) jumbo jet will no doubt be pretty impressive to see on the ground, what many gawkers may not realize is that its flight from Seattle to Paris will have marked an aviation milestone - it will be the first time a commercial aircraft has crossed the Atlantic Ocean using biofuel.  Read More

Eurocopter's EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style luxury helicopter

A year on from the first unveiling of the EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style multi-purpose helicopter concept at last year's European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Eurocopter has shown the first finished aircraft at EBACE 2011. Inspired by Mercedes' high-end vehicles, the twin-engine Mercedes-Benz Style helicopter features a versatile interior enabled by a modular approach that allows the aircraft to be tailored to suit a range of travel needs.  Read More

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