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A quadrocopter robot balances a pole while a second robot waits to catch it

Apparently, balancing a pole on top of a flying quadrocopter robot wasn't challenging enough for the researchers at ETH Zurich's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control. Their latest project has two quadrocopters playing catch with a precariously balanced pole – the first robot launches the pole into the air, while the second robot deftly moves into position in less than a second to catch it as it falls. The incredible precision flying achieved by the team can be seen in a video after the break.  Read More

The Skyflash one-man, jet-propelled wing undergoes testing

While most of us sit around grumbling and demanding to know, “where’s my jetpack?", German Fritz Unger and a group of friends have decided to do something about it. On a shoestring budget they are building their own one-man, jet-propelled wing. Dubbed “Skyflash,” it’s meant to not only emulate the jet wing made famous by Jetman Yves Rossy, but to go one better by taking off from the ground instead of having to be dropped from an aircraft.  Read More

Armadillo Aerospace's STIG-B floats into a GPS-guided soft landing

Armadillo Aerospace has taken some major strides with its FAA-approved suborbital rocket, the STIG-B. Despite encountering difficulties reaching design altitude during testing, the company appears to have mastered the landing side of the equation using a self-guided ramair parachute system. A flight on December 6 returned the rocket to within 55 meters (180 ft) of the intended recovery point.  Read More

SpaceShipTwo's first glide in powered flight configuration with the rocket motor nozzle vi...

After returning to the air earlier this year following a nearly nine-month long break which saw the integration of rocket motor systems, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo completed its 23rd guide flight this week. The significance of this flight is that it was the spaceplane’s first glide in powered flight configuration.  Read More

Mock-up of the Jet Vest, currently under development by Jet Machines Extreme (Photo: JME)

The Bell rocket belt captured the world's imagination when it was featured in the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball. Now, the folks at Jet Machines Extreme (JME) are designing a modern version not powered by rockets, but by a set of four miniature turbojets. The new Jet Vest is expected to offer free flying times nearly four minutes in duration. Having run short of development money, JME is exploring another modern innovation by reaching out to crowd-funding site Kickstarter for a boost.  Read More

The nEUROn Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator on its maiden flight

The European designed nEUROn Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator successfully completed its maiden flight on December 1, 2012. The flight took place at Dassault Aviation’s flight test base in Istres in southern France and marks a milestone for the nEUROn program that was launched in 2005 by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) that involves the collaboration of six European countries.  Read More

The LA100 is designed to carry a GoPro HERO3 for capturing aerial images

Micro UAVs have proven a boon for photographers looking to spread their wings into the aerial realm. Similarly, wearable actioncams, like the GoPro line, have enabled amateurs to capture professional quality images and video from angles hitherto the province of seasoned professionals with expensive equipment. France’s Lehmann Aviation is bringing these two technologies together with the LA100, a fully automatic UAV designed specifically to carry a GoPro HERO3 camera.  Read More

The TechJect Dragonfly fits in the palm of a hand

Given their impressive flight capabilities, it’s not surprising to see researchers turning to the world of flying insects for inspiration when developing new kinds of micro UAVs. With their ability to both fly at high speeds and hover, the dragonfly would seem an obvious candidate for biomimicry. But with the exception of the DelFly, we hadn’t seen many attempts to model a micro UAV on the dragonfly’s four wing design. That could be changing with a multi-disciplinary team from Georgia Tech having developed a robotic four-winged ornithopter called the TechJect Dragonfly that fits in the palm of a hand and combines the flight capabilities of a quadricopter, helicopter and fixed wing aircraft in one.  Read More

QFO Labs' NanoQ, about to take flight

QFO Labs, a Minneapolis-based start-up, is attempting to launch a mini quadcopter toy called the NanoQ. It uses inexpensive 3-axis gyros and accelerometers to remain stable mid-flight, and comes with a one-handed remote that integrates tilt sensors for smooth and natural control – and unlike most quadrotors, the NanoQ's propellers are inverted which prevents them from colliding with ceilings.  Read More

A 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is jettisoned from the F-...

After strapping on its missiles in February shortly after its first night flight, the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) version of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35A, completed its first in-flight weapons release on October 16 in a flight conducted over the China Lake test range in California.  Read More

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