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The AVOID System designed to allow aircraft to detect volcanic ash plumes and avoid them (...

A new invention out of Norway promises to keep the skies of the world open. When a volcano in Iceland erupted in 2010, it spewed out invisible clouds of ash that spread across Europe–effectively shutting down all civilian and military air traffic, stranding millions of people and costing the world economy billions of dollars. Now, a new camera has been developed that will allow pilots to see and avoid volcanic dust clouds, making similar eruptions in the future much less disruptive.  Read More

France's FRAC Center will be hosting an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots (...

The FRAC Centre in Orléans, France will for the first time host an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots. Titled "Flight Assembled Architecture," the six meter-high tower will be made up of 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam modules. The exhibition has been developed by Swiss architect Gramazio & Kohler and Italian robot designer Raffaello D'Andrea, to inspire new methods of thinking about architecture as a "physical process of dynamic formation."  Read More

The U.S. Army has completed a successful first flight test of its Advanced Hypersonic Weap...

Following the two test flights of the unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2) earlier this year, both of which ended prematurely with the vehicle making a “controlled descent” into the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command last week conducted the first test flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept.  Read More

A view from JP Aerospace's Tandem airship, at its record-breaking altitude of 95,085 feet ...

On October 22nd, just a day after the first manned flight of an electric multicopter took place in Germany, California’s JP Aerospace achieved an aeronautical feat of its own – it broke the record for the world’s highest airship flight. Remotely controlled from the ground, the all-volunteer group’s Tandem twin-balloon airship reportedly ascended to an altitude of 95,085 feet (28,982 meters). That’s almost four miles (6.4 km) higher than any airship has gone before.  Read More

German aircraft company e-volo has accomplished what it claims is the world's first manned...

By now, most readers are probably pretty familiar with quadracopters - small hovering unmanned electric aircraft, which get their lift from a set of four propellers. Well, make the whole thing larger, boost the number of propellers (and accompanying motors) to 16, and you get what German aircraft developer e-volo calls a multicopter. While the company has previously demonstrated unmanned drones, on October 21st it accomplished what it claims is a world first - a manned flight.  Read More

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System flying with its landing gear up during a test flight ...

Having completed its first flight earlier this year, the Northrop Grumman-built U.S. Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft achieved another milestone on September 30 with its first flight in cruise mode. Part of the on-going “envelope expansion” program to demonstrate the aircraft’s performance under a variety of altitude, speed and fuel load conditions, the flight took place at Edwards Air Force Base and saw the aircraft retracting its landing gear and flying in cruise configuration for the first time.  Read More

Derek Deville's Qu8k rocket climbed at altitude of 121,000 feet (36.8 km) after 92 seconds...

Launched from Black Rock Desert in Nevada on September 30 in an attempt to win John Carmack's 100kft Micro Prize, Derek Deville's home-built Qu8k rocket reached an altitude of 121,000 feet (36.8 km) after 92 seconds flight ... and captured some excellent video footage along the way.  Read More

DARPA researchers have ruggedized a compact solid oxide fuel cell fueled by propane and in...

Small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have become an increasingly important intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tool for the military and their use will only continue to expand. While vehicles that are small enough to be carried provide soldiers in the field with capabilities such as over-the-next-hill imagery or the short-term monitoring of convoys, much research is going into finding ways to extend mission duration through better battery systems. DARPA researchers say they have overcome this limitation with the development of a compact solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) fueled by propane that quadruples the endurance of small unmanned aircraft systems .  Read More

Pascal Chretien's prototype electric helicopter takes flight

It's easy to look back at the history of exploration and aviation and feel like there's no mountains left to climb, that the age of the great pioneers is behind us and we're doomed to a future of LCD tanning and monitor hypnosis. But don't try telling that to Pascal Chretien. On August 12, this electrical/aerospace engineer and helicopter pilot took to the air in the world's first untethered, fully electric manned helicopter flight in a prototype machine that he designed and built almost entirely by himself within a 12 month development period. In his 2 minute, 10 second test flight, Chretien beat aviation giant Sikorsky into the record books - but it was not without significant risk. As the man himself puts it: "in case of crash I stand good chances to end up in kebab form."  Read More

DARPA's HTV-2 hypersonic vehicle, which prematurely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on ...

The first – and perhaps only – video footage of the ill-fated second test-flight of DARPA’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) has been released. Shot with a handheld camera by a crewmember aboard the Pacific Tracker, the first monitoring vessel able to visually track the HTV’s initial entry into the atmosphere, the video shows the HTV-2 hurtling across the sky on August 11 at Mach 20 before its “controlled descent” into the Pacific Ocean.  Read More

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