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Flight


— Aircraft

Laser-based turbulence detector could mean safer flights

For most air travelers, turbulence provides nothing more serious than the odd moment of extreme panic, but it costs airlines hundreds of millions of dollars each year in injury compensation and aircraft damage. There are various different types of turbulence, but the most dangerous, because it is invisible and extremely difficult to detect, is clear-air turbulence (CAT). A new CAT detection technology that could help pilots choose a smoother route is now being tested as part of a European joint project called DELICAT (Demonstration of LIDAR based CAT detection). Read More
— Robotics

Self-assembling multi-copter demonstrates networked flight control

Researchers at ETH Zurich have demonstrated an amazing capability for small robots to self-assemble and take to the air as a multi-rotor helicopter. Maximilian Kriegleder and Raymond Oung worked with Professor Raffaello D’Andrea at his research lab to develop the small hexagonal pods that assemble into flying rafts. The true accomplishment of this research is that there is not one robot in control – each unit in itself decides what actions to take to keep the group in the air in what's known as Distributed Flight Array. Read More
— Aircraft

Steerable paper planes and maple seeds the basis for life-saving, disposable UAVs

The term "UAV" generally leads us to think about expensive, high-tech military drones like General Atomics' Predator, but a Robotics team led by Dr. Paul Pounds at Australia's University of Queensland has created a pair of UAVs that are so cheap and easy to manufacture that they'll literally be disposable, single use items. One's basically a high-tech paper plane, while the other follows the form factor of a maple seed with both designed to help save lives in the event of a forest fire. Read More
— Electronics

British Airways set to bring luggage tags into the 21st century

Most people would probably agree that air travel still has plenty of room for improvement, particularly when it comes to actually checking in and getting on the plane. For its part, British Airways is now taking steps to speed up the whole process on its end and is even testing a digital alternative to the traditional paper luggage tag. The airline recently produced an electronic luggage tag that travelers can update themselves with a smartphone and re-use over and over. Read More
— Robotics

Robo Raven gets in a flap with real-life hawk

Researchers from the University of Maryland have built a new micro air vehicle dubbed Robo Raven that's such a convincing flyer, it's been attacked by a local hawk during testing. Though numerous other robotic birds have successfully taken to the skies in recent years, including Festo's visually stunning SmartBird, this featherless mechanical marvel is capable of impressive complex aerobatic maneuvers thanks to completely programmable wings that can flap independently of each other. Read More
— Aircraft

All-electric SportsStar EPOS makes maiden flight

Czech light aircraft specialist Evektor-Aerotechnik has announced the maiden flight of its all-electric SportStar EPOS two-seater airplane. On March 28, the EPOS made two back-to-back flights with a combined flight time of 30 minutes. The EPOS, the name of which derives from "electric-powered small aircraft," is powered by a single 50-kW Rotex Electric motor and features what its makers describe as a "new trapezoidal wing of extended span," which is 10.46 m (34.3 ft) tip to tip. Read More
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