Quadrocopters like the AR.Drone
and Datron Scout
may have been hogging the UAS limelight lately but Dutch unmanned rotorcraft system manufacturer Geocopter has shown there’s still life in the traditional helicopter design yet with the official delivery of its first light unmanned helicopter called the GC-201. Designed and built just like a normal helicopter, the GC-201 features a twin gas turbine engine propulsion system, lightweight carbon fiber fuselage and full automatic takeoff, mission and landing capabilities.
If you’ve ever watched the Tour de France and winced as all those skinny-wheeled racing bikes bounced over the cobblestone roads ... well, you were right to do so. Not only are such hard, rough surfaces capable of bending rims, but they’re also hard on hub bearings – as the axle shaft flexes ever-so-slightly in response to hitting bumps, the ball bearings that encircle it are pressed against the hub’s bearing races, both causing friction and potentially damaging the bearings. Japan’s Kondo Machine Corporation, however, has created a product that is claimed to minimize this problem. It’s the “jet-engine-inspired” GOKISO Aerospace Hub, and we spied it last week at the 49th Paris Air Show
With the rising price of fuel and more stringent emissions regulations, there is a strong need for the aviation industry to begin taking steps to earn its green wings. It's not surprising therefore that biofuel
was one of the hot topics at this week's Paris Air Show
with both Boeing's 747-8
and Gulfstream's G450 business jet making the trip across the Atlantic on biofuel blends. The G450 flew in from Morristown, New Jersey, after a seven hour flight in which one of its Rolls-Royce engines was powered by a 50/50 blend of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and petroleum-based jet fuel.
Over two thousand international exhibitors, 142 aircraft and tens of thousands of visitors gathered at the Le Bourget exhibition center this week for the 49th International Paris Airshow
. Despite some grey skies and unwelcome rain, crowds were treated to spectacular daily flying displays and insights into bleeding-edge aerospace technologies that will shape the way we travel around the planet - and beyond - in the 21st Century. Gizmag joined the throng of media organizations soaking up all that the show has to offer - here's our summary of the week in pictures
One of the most anticipated commercial airplanes in recent years made an appearance at the 49th Paris Airshow
this week. The first flight-test 787 Dreamliner
(ZA001) spent two days on static display on the tarmac at Le Bourget and will take a short tour through Europe before returning to the U.S.
Younger owners of the Parrot AR.Drone
will no doubt have discovered the advantages of such a device when gathering intelligence on siblings and parents. The Datron Scout Air Reconnaissance System shares a few similarities with the AR.Drone but, like the CyberQuad, is a quadricopter designed for slightly more critical missions. With a weatherproof design that allows it to capture and transmit high quality video in dusty and hot or cold conditions and winds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph), Datron says the scout is suited for a variety of military, law enforcement, fire and civilian applications.
One of the displays that has generated a lot of buzz at the Paris Airshow 2011
is EADS’ ZEHST
concept – a zero-emission hypersonic airliner, that could be whisking passengers from Tokyo to London in under 2.5 hours, by the year 2050. Sitting alongside the ZEHST model, however, is another EADS concept aimed at the more immediate future. It’s called VoltAir, and it’s a proposed all-electric airliner that could be flying within 25 years.
Austrian research company IAT21 has presented a new type of aircraft at the Paris Air Show
which has the potential to become aviation's first disruptive technology since the jet engine. Neither fixed wing nor rotor craft, the D-Dalus uses four, mechanically-linked, contra-rotating, cylindrical turbines for its propulsion, and by altering the angle of the blades, it can launch vertically, hover perfectly still, move in any direction, and thrust upwards and hence "glue down" upon landing, which it can easily do on the deck of a ship, or even a moving vehicle. It's also almost silent, has the dynamic stability to enter buildings, handles rough weather with ease, flies very long distances very quickly and can lift very heavy loads. It's also so simple that it requires little maintenance and requires no more maintenance expertise than an auto mechanic. It accordingly holds immense promise as a platform for personal flight, for military usage, search and rescue, and much more.
Anyone who has endured a long-haul flight will know that they’re not the most pleasant way to spend a day – and night. Like EADS with its ZEHST concept plane
, UK-based aerospace company HyperMach is looking to ease the pain of long-distance air travel – at least for those that can afford it – with its SonicStar supersonic business jet concept that it unveiled at the Paris Air Show today. With its ability to cruise at Mach 3.5 at an altitude of 60,000 ft. (18.9 km), the SonicStar will be able to fly from New York to Paris in under two hours or from New York to Sydney in just five hours – a journey that currently takes over 20 hours on a commercial airliner.
EADS has used the opening day of the 2011 Paris Airshow
to showcase an aircraft of the future concept which contemplates speeds beyond Mach 4, meaning it could make the run from Tokyo to London in under 2.5 hours. The ZEHST (Zero Emission Hypersonic Transport) study incorporates three different propulsion systems and could carry passengers to heights of 100,000 feet (32 km) while still meeting the projected European Commission targets for reduced noise, CO2 and NOX emissions by 2050. Blue sky indeed!