Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Flight

The Solar Impulse 2 made its first flight on Monday

The maiden flight of Solar Impulse 2 took place on Monday morning at Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland. The solar-powered aircraft took off at 5:36 AM CET, when the weather around the aerodrome was at its calmest, with pilot Markus Scherdel at the controls. The aircraft flew for two hours and 17 minutes, reaching an altitude of 1,670 m (5,500 ft) and a ground speed of 55.6 km/h (30 kt). According to Solar Impulse, the in-flight data indicates that the aircraft slated to make the first all-solar global circumnavigation flight performed to expectations.  Read More

The Aerion AS2 will now use a set of three smaller jet engines for quieter running, improv...

Aerion Corporation has upped the cabin size and added an extra engine to the first in its planned range of supersonic business jets currently on the drawing board. Designed with Supersonic Natural Laminar Flow (SNLF) wing technology that was tested in transonic wind tunnel tests and in NASA flight trials, the Aerion AS2 will now use a set of three smaller jet engines in place of its previous large two-jet design to provide quieter running, improved take-off performance, and longer range.  Read More

Gulfstream's ultra-long-range G650ER is claiming two speed records

ln a further enhancement to its largest and fastest business jet, the G650, Gulfstream Aerospace has just announced the new G650ER. An ultra-long-range aircraft, the G650ER can travel up to 7,500 nautical miles (13,890 km) at a speed of Mach 0.85, or up to 6,400 nm (11,853 km) at the higher operating speed of Mach 0.90. This is an increase in range of up to 500 nm (926 km) over the original G650.  Read More

AgustaWestland has announced its AW609 tiltrotor aircraft completed autorotation trials ea...

Following on from the completion of flight envelope expansion trials in December 2013, AgustaWestland gave the first customer demonstration flights of the AW609 tiltrotor aircraft in February. This was followed by autorotation trials, which the company has announced were successfully completed earlier this month.  Read More

The 78m-long (256-ft) sculpture is suspended on four structural columns (Photo: Heathrow A...

Engineers have called it "the hundred-thousand-piece jigsaw," and today it was unveiled as the centerpiece of a new extension to London's Heathrow Terminal 2 building. The aluminum-clad sculpture titled "Slipstream," by artist RIchard Wilson, reaches 78 meters (256 feet) and weighs upward of 77 metric tons (85 tons). Engineering firm Price & Myers was tasked with the job of designing parts for the piece, which twists and turns in simulation of a small airplane as it moves through space performing a series of acrobatic maneuvers.  Read More

The Sunseeker Duo first took flight back in December 2013, with the team since testing dif...

For all the advancements made in solar power technology, developing an airplane that could harvest enough of the sun's energy to not only be flown for extended periods, but take another person along for the ride has proven a difficult task. The team at Solar Flight recently took on this challenge, unveiling its plans for what would be the world's first two-seater solar aircraft, the Sunseeker Duo. Today, the company announced that it has spent the last few months testing the plane's flight performance and the results hold some promise for helping achieve its lofty ambitions.  Read More

The MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, Califo...

The Triton UAV's initial flight test program, which kicked off with the unmanned aircraft's first flight last May, has been completed. Now cleared to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights, the Triton is on track to be introduced into the US Navy fleet in 2017.  Read More

Goodyear's new airship will enter service this northern summer

The Goodyear blimp may have been flying around for almost 90 years, but it still manages to turn heads. On Friday, there was another reason to look beyond nostalgia for the days of the great airships of old as Goodyear unveiled its new state-of-the-art blimp to the media, Goodyear associates and dealers at its Wingfoot Lake hangar in Suffield, Ohio. Built in partnership with the Zeppelin company, the new craft that replaces the 45-year old GZ-20 blimp fleet is not only larger and faster, it isn’t even a blimp, but a semi-rigid airship.  Read More

Flying snakes are actually very gifted gliders, not unlike flying squirrels (Photo: Jake S...

So first of all ... yes, flying snakes do exist. Disappointingly, though, they don't have scaly dragon-like wings. Instead, they're able to flatten out their bodies after launching themselves from tree branches, proceeding to glide through the air for up to 100 feet (30.5 m). Recently, scientists figured out why that technique works as well as it does. Their findings could have some major applications for us humans.  Read More

FlexSys' variable geometry airfoil, the FlexFoil

If there's one thing that needs to be aerodynamic, it's an airplane wing. Conventional wing designs however, suffer from a glaring weakness in this respect: the joint where the main wing meets the trailing flaps. Michigan-based FlexSys has developed a way to optimize wing aerodynamics with FlexFoil, a seamless variable geometry airfoil system that could deliver fuel savings of up to 12 percent.  Read More

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