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Aviation

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

Daredevil Yves Rossy, aka Jetman, has successfully flown across part of the Grand Canyon (...

Yves Rossy, the former Swiss jet fighter pilot better known as Jetman, flew over the Grand Canyon last Saturday (May 7th) using his wearable jet-propelled wing. It was the first time he has flown with the device in North America, having previously used it to cross the English Channel, perform an aerial loop, fly in formation with stunt planes, and to unsuccessfully attempt traversing a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean between Morocco and Spain.  Read More

Apache Attack helicopters reduce vulnerability with new Ground Fire Acquisition System

Firing a rifle at a Longbow Apache Attack helicopter in the hope of claiming a US$8 million scalp with a 50 cent bullet might not be a very good idea for too much longer - unless you like keeping company with a Hellfire missile. The U.S. Army’s Longbow Apache Attack helicopters are about to gain a networked Ground Fire Acquisition System (GFAS) which uses infrared cameras to detect muzzle flashes from ground fire, and displays the location and distance of the shooters as an icon on the pilot’s display screen. Not only does this enable the immediate acquisition and prosecution of targets, it also offers the same information to ground forces via the net-centric battlefield information system, giving everyone in the fight vastly improved situational awareness.  Read More

Auto-gyro's Cavalon at Aero Friedrichshafen this week

The newest addition to the gyrocopter genre arrived at Aero Friedrichshafen this week, in the form of a side-by-side, fully-enclosed, composite construction Cavalon gyrocopter for just EUR65,000. The gyrocopter is to the helicopter what the microlight is to traditional small aircraft. Invented in 1923 by Spaniard Juan de la Cierva, the gyrocopter uses quite a different layout to the helicopter to give it stability at low speed. It is cheap to run, takes off and lands on a ridiculously small footprint, and has a powered pusher propeller in addition to an unpowered main rotor.  Read More

An artist's impression of the FlyNano at play

Finnish aeronautical engineer Aki Suokas launched a remarkable new single-seat aircraft this week at Aero Friedrichshafen. The FlyNano is made entirely of carbon fiber composite, lands and takes off on water, and weighs just 70 kilograms ready to fly. Three variants are available: a 20 kW electric-only version, and petrol-engined 24 bhp and 35 bhp models, the latter proposed as a racing version. The Flynano tops out at over 140 km/h, with a service ceiling of 3 km. If you think that's remarkable, the most expensive of the three variants ex-factory and ex-VAT is just EUR 27,000 (US$39,000) and deliveries begin three months from now.  Read More

The HondaJet completed its maiden flight on Dec. 20

The first FAA-conforming HA-420 HondaJet has successfully completed its maiden flight, signaling the start of flight-testing to support certification of the aircraft. The milestone took place on December 20 with the aircraft taking off from the Honda Aircraft Company’s world headquarters at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, for a flight that lasted 51 minutes.  Read More

The Horological Machine No. 4 Thunderbolt is a titanium and sapphire watch inspired by air...

If you enjoy building model airplanes as a boy, and become a designer of high-end watches as an adult, what do you end up doing? If you're Maximilian Büsser, you create a watch that resembles an airplane – and that costs as much as one, too. That’s the story behind the new watch from Switzerland’s MB&F (Maximilian Büsser & Friends), the Horological Machine No. 4 Thunderbolt. The 50-jewel titanium and sapphire timepiece looks like it might wrench itself free of your wrist and start performing inside loops in the sky ... given that it sells for a mind-blowing 150,000 euro (US$196,812), however, you’d probably want to keep it close at hand.  Read More

The CAFE Foundation proposes the development of small, neighborhood airports, at which aut...

A little over a year ago, we told you about NASA’s Green Flight Challenge. The Space Agency is seeking designs for low-cost, quiet, short take-off personal aircraft, that require little if any fossil fuel. The winning design, to be decided next July, will win US$1.6 million in production funds. The competition is being run by NASA’s light-aircraft partner CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency), which envisions the resulting Suburban Air Vehicles (SAVs) taking off and landing at small neighborhood “pocket airports.” At last week’s Future of Electric Vehicles conference, CAFE president Dr. Brien Seeley outlined just how those airports would work.  Read More

Electravia's ElectroLight and ElectroClub

While it may be some time before we see electric propulsion used in commercial airliners, at the other end of the scale, business is booming. The biggest problem facing designers is the weight-to-energy ratio of fuel cells, meaning that they are a heavy way of carrying around energy. Luckily in the light aviation world, designers don't have to worry so much about having long flight durations or carrying heavy payloads. This has made achieving electric and hybrid flight not only possible but also accessible to the average aviator.  Read More

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