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Flight

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

Aircraft

Flying bicycle gets off the ground in Prague

That iconic flying bike scene from the film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial has been relegated to the annals of pop culture science fiction for far too long now. Fortunately, three Czech companies with the support of France's Dassault Systemes have just conducted the first test flight of their own two-wheeled, airborne vehicle, dubbed the "F-Bike."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

SpaceShipTwo makes a spectacle of itself in “Cold Flow” test

Just a week after the first in-flight venting of its nitrous system, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has made an even more spectacular step on the way to its first powered flight. The craft's 25th glide flight on April 12 saw oxidizer flow through the craft’s propulsion system and expelled through the nozzle at its rear in what is known as a “Cold Flow” procedure.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

Aircraft

X-48C Blended Wing Body aircraft flight testing campaign comes to a close

The flight testing campaign of the X-48C Blended Wing Body (BWB, aka Hybrid Wing Body) research aircraft kicked off on August 7, 2012, at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. Eight months later the campaign has come to a close with the 30th and final flight carried out on April 12. NASA plans to use the data gathered over the campaign to aid in the design of future “green” airliners that are quieter and more fuel-efficient than conventional aircraft, while Boeing is touting the design's potential military applications.Read More

SpaceShipTwo's nitrous venting tested in-flight

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo left terra firma for her 24th glide flight on Wednesday morning. The flight was the first in which the loading and venting of the ship's nitrous system was tested. Virgin Galactic described the flight as "another key milestone on the way to our first powered flight." Read More

Robotics

Festo demonstrates BionicOpter dragonfly robot

The dragonfly is quite the show off when it comes to flying. It can hover in mid-air, maneuver in all directions, and glide without so much as a beat of its wings. After succeeding in capturing the essence of a herring gull with the SmartBird, the folks over at German pneumatic and electric automation company Festo challenged themselves with the creation of a robotic addition to the dragonfly family – the BionicOpter.Read More

Science

Robotic bat wing reveals flight secrets of bats

Recently, we've seen a robotic ostrich. Now, there’s a robot bat – or at least, part of one. Joseph Bahlman, a graduate student at Brown University, with the help of Professors Kenneth Breuer and Sharon Swartz, has developed a robotic bat wing that mimics the ligaments, skin and structural supports of the real thing. The purpose of the motorized plastic bat is to gain a better understanding of how bats are engineered and fly. Read More

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