Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Flight

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

The wings at rest in Smeets' workshop not long before the first test flight

A Dutch mechanical engineer is working on realizing da Vinci's dream of human-powered flight, with some help from modern technology. Jarnos Smeets is the driving force between the Human Birdwings Project, which utilizes a combination of gadgets including an HTC Wildfire S and a Wii remote. He claims to have conducted his first successful test flight this week, even though he didn't appear to get too far off the ground.  Read More

The Cessna Citation Ten prototype takes off for its first flight

What is set to be the latest addition to Cessna’s Citation line of business jets made its first flight this week. The Cessna Citation Ten prototype flew for more than two hours in the skies over Cessna’s main manufacturing facility at Wichita, Kansas, with the aircraft's stability and control, handling, autopilot and autothrottle systems, engine operability and avionics all put to the test. Cessna says all systems functioned as expected on the maiden flight, keeping the Citation Ten on track for FAA certification in mid-2013, with first deliveries planned for the second half of 2013.  Read More

Swann Sky Eye RC helicopter with camera

An iPhone app and a camera take flight in the new remote control helicopters from Swann. Three models include i-Fly Micro Lightning, Sky Eye and Black Swan. The i-Fly Micro Lightning lets you control the helicopter via an app for the iPhone, iPod or iPad. The Sky Eye and Black Swann models house a camera capable of taking still and video images.  Read More

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