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Rockwell Collins touch-control primary flight display (PFD)

For the first 50 years of computing, the input and output of a computer have been to different places. Mobile computing and the touch screen are quickly changing things though and the changes extend to the aircraft industry. At the 59th Annual Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Rockwell Collins has unveiled the first touch-control primary flight displays (PFD) for business jets and turboprop aircraft, which will be available on future applications of the company’s Pro Line Fusion avionics system.  Read More

Sikorsky's X2 Technology Demonstrator on its final flight on July 14, 2011

Sikorsky’s X2 Technology Demonstrator that first took to the air on August 27, 2008 has flown for the last time. The 23rd and final flight was conducted in the early morning of July 14, 2011 from Sikorsky’s new Innovations Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. In flight tests carried out over the three-year period, the X2 flew a total of around 22 hours and on September 15, 2010 achieved a maximum cruise speed of 253 knots in level flight – an unofficial record for a conventional helicopter. While the X2 is now officially entering retirement, the lessons learned and technologies developed for the X2 program will pave the way for Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider helicopter.  Read More

An envisioned Personal Aerial Vehicle illustrates what our city skies could soon look like...

A European Union project known as myCopter has set aside funds of €4.2 million (US$6.2m) to investigate the possibility of introducing Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs) into the skyways of many congested European cities. This coming age of the "flying car" where vehicles leave the roads and launch into the skies promises to solve problems like dramatically rising urban traffic congestion, but it also throws up some formidable challenges - it's these challenges that the myCopter project aims to address.  Read More

Final checks to the X-51A Waverider scramjet, which is affixed to an Edwards B-52H Stratof...

The second hypersonic test flight of Boeing's X-51A Waverider has ended prematurely with the craft failing to transition to full power. The X-51A Waverider broke the record for the longest ever supersonic combustion scramjet-powered flight on its first autonomous flight in May 2010, flying under scramjet power for just under three and a half minutes at a top speed of Mach 5. For the second hypersonic flight test, the craft was expected to accelerate to about Mach 6, but only managed to accelerate to Mach 5 under solid rocket booster propulsion before the flight had to be terminated.  Read More

Engineers have created an unmanned aircraft  known as the Batcopter, for studying the flig...

There are millions of Brazilian Free-tailed bats living in caves across Texas, and every night, those bats are somehow able to swarm through the air without crashing into one another. The researchers at Boston University’s Intelligent Mechatronics Lab wanted to know what the bats’ secret was, so that it could be applied to the flight control algorithms for their autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In order to learn more, they decided to fly a remote-control UAV into one of these bat swarms, and record the creatures’ reactions with three ground-based high-speed FLIR cameras, and on on-board 3D HD camera. The craft that they used, named the Batcopter, is a classic example of seat-of-the-pants engineering.  Read More

Daredevil Yves Rossy, aka Jetman, has successfully flown across part of the Grand Canyon (...

Yves Rossy, the former Swiss jet fighter pilot better known as Jetman, flew over the Grand Canyon last Saturday (May 7th) using his wearable jet-propelled wing. It was the first time he has flown with the device in North America, having previously used it to cross the English Channel, perform an aerial loop, fly in formation with stunt planes, and to unsuccessfully attempt traversing a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean between Morocco and Spain.  Read More

The flying wing configuration simulated by ATTAS as part of the NACRE project (Image: DLR/...

“Flying wing” designs that offer reduced weight and drag when compared to traditional “tube with wings and a tail” designs are theoretically the most efficient aircraft configuration. However, true flying wings are inherently unstable and difficult to control. To aid in the design of future aircraft that utilize such a design, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have been performing flight tests to study the flight characteristics of large flying wing configurations using what has been dubbed a flying “chameleon”. The DLR’s Advanced Technologies Testing Aircraft System (ATTAS) research aircraft resembles a conventional small passenger aircraft, but it has been fitted with special hardware and software to give it the flight characteristics and performance of an entirely different aircraft.  Read More

Festo's SmartBird robotic seagull and its herring gull inspiration

Festo has added to its robotic menagerie with the creation of a robotic seagull that weighs just 450 g (15.87 oz) and boasts a wingspan of 1.96 m (6.4 ft). Dubbed the SmartBird, the ultralight flying robot was inspired by the herring gull and can take off, fly and land autonomously, without the help of any additional drive systems.  Read More

The pint-sized, lightweight Nano Hummingbird

AeroVironment, the California-based company behind the largest, highest and longest flying unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the Global Observer, has now achieved a remarkable technical milestone with a much smaller aircraft. With its "Nano Hummingbird" the company has for the first time achieved controlled precision hovering and fast-forward flight of a two-wing, flapping wing aircraft that carries its own energy source and relies only on its flapping wings for propulsion and control.  Read More

BAE Systems and Design Q have been working on some luxury concept plane interiors in the A...

We've come a long way from the early days of aviation. Aircraft cabins used to have more in common with our living rooms; seats were over-stuffed armchairs you could push around, and in-flight entertainment was a game of backgammon or bridge. It's tempting sometimes to wish for a return to those days – now it's more about either squeezing more people in, or providing a more comfortable experience only for those who can afford it. In this article, we're going to take a look at some new cushy options for your tush, and some others that seem quite outlandish ...  Read More

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