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Flight

VSS Enterprise glides to earth on its latest successful glide flight test (Photo: Chris Va...

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital, air-launched spaceplane, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), aka VSS Enterprise, is back in the air after a break of nearly nine months following a recent integration period for rocket motor systems and maintenance. The June 26 flight coincided with another successful full duration test fire of the spaceship’s engine RocketMotorTwo (RM2) on the same day. The tests mark an intensification of activity that sees Virgin Galactic aiming for powered flights by the end of the year.  Read More

The X-37B features a similar design to the Space Shuttle but is around a quarter of the si...

The second Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:48 a.m. Pacific time on Saturday, marking the successful completion of its first flight. Being developed for the Rapid Capabilities Office of the U.S. Air Force, the X-37B is intended to demonstrate the capabilities of reusable unmanned spacecraft in the wake of the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet.  Read More

Synergy is designed to be more comfortable, more efficient and less expensive than other s...

The airplane is arguably the biggest single revolution in travel ever. Voyages that used to entail weeks of dangerous, life-threatening navigation can now be done in the matter of hours. No single invention has connected physical space like the plane. Yet, there's still much room for improvement in terms of cost, efficiency and comfort. With this in mind a team of U.S. designers is developing what they believe is a better solution for flying: the Synergy aircraft.  Read More

A TriDiCam camera, outfitted with the new 3D CMOS system

Hovering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – most of which take the form of quadrocopters – are currently being developed for a wide range of applications. Some of these include the delivery of supplies to remote locations, urban reconnaissance, and military operations. Whether they’re flying solo or in organized swarms, however, they constantly need to be aware of potential collision hazards, both mobile and stationary. While various technologies are already being utilized for this purpose, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems has developed a new 3D CMOS sensor, that promises particularly good performance.  Read More

Some pilots have questioned the validity of this section of video

"Human Birdwings" creator Jarno Smeets and his Android-powered, mechanically-assisted flying machine are creating a stir again. Gizmag originally reported on Smeets' effort to fly like a bird when he posted a video of his first test flight, in which he appeared to hang in the air a few feet off the ground for a second or two. In the video of his latest attempt, he's shown soaring around in the air, and a lively debate over the validity of the video is already heating up.  Read More

Computer image of the X-56A unmanned modular aircraft that NASA will use to test enabling ...

NASA has announced it will use a modular, unmanned flight research vehicle being built by Lockheed Martin for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to test enabling technologies for new kinds of lightweight, energy-efficient, flexible aircraft. The small aircraft, dubbed the X-56A, will be used to explore ways to suppress vibrations and alleviate the load on flexible aircraft from wind gusts and atmospheric turbulence.  Read More

Astronauts training aboard the KC-135 aircraft, which inspired the proposed Zero Gravity R...

It appears that BRC Imagination Arts, a Southern California design firm, have a zero gravity roller coaster proposal that’s waiting for a US$50 million investment. BRC’s proposed theme-park ride is inspired by NASA’s astronaut training aircraft the KC-135 (aka “Vomit Comet”) and would give riders the sensation of floating within a stable chamber.  Read More

The F-35A variant of Lockheed Martin's F-35 has completed its first night flight (Photo: L...

Despite criticism in the U.S. regarding escalating costs, which has seen the Pentagon’s bill for a planned 2,443 F-35s going from US$233 billion to $385 billion, Lockheed Martin is pressing ahead with tests of the world’s only fifth generation jet fighter. It’s been over six years since the first F-35 took to the air for the first time and one and a half years since the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant broke the sound barrier for the first time. Now the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant has completed the first night flight in the history of the F-35 program.  Read More

Pilot Matthew Tanner is raising funds to build a vertical-winged stunt aircraft, which cou...

Matthew Tanner is a Colorado-based air show pilot who also competes in aerobatics competitions and teaches Air Force pilots how to fly. His current stunt aircraft of choice is a Laser Z300. Much as he is able to do with the nimble little airplane, he wants to be able to perform aerial maneuvers that no one has ever seen before. In order to do so, he intends to equip the plane with a pair vertical wings.  Read More

Analysis of the way a goshawk flies through cluttered forests has revealed a critical safe...

Research into goshawk flight could inform the design of next generation UAVS. Where prior research into bird flight has focused on steady flight, new research from MIT examines the patterns of birds adept at flying in "cluttered environments" to find principles applicable to robot motion planning. It's research that might one day find practical applications in engineering, including fast, agile UAVs.  Read More

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