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VTOL

Aeroscraft ML866: the ultimate corporate aircraft

The trend towards radical new aircraft designs aimed at achieving new levels of efficiency and operational capability beyond anything currently gracing our skies is on the rise. Recently Gizmag examined Boeing’s Blended-Wing Body (BWB) and now Aeros have announced the new Aeroscraft ML866 aircraft which utilizes a combination of buoyant and dynamic lift to create usage possibilities that far outstrip currently available aircraft platforms. The ML866 can be utilized as a private air yacht, corporate air vehicle, business office in the sky, or commercial commuter, providing its passengers with far more space than any existing business jet.  Read More

One of the diagrams included in the Personal Flight Systems patent

This has to be one of the most 'futuristic' developments we've seen in some time; a new U.S. patent has been awarded to a company that has plans for a safe, silent personal flight device using electromagnetic ion propulsion as its primary thrust generator and drawing its power wirelessly from earthbound inductive green power broadcast stations. California's Personal Flight Systems are taking a serious look at the future of personal flight, and the technology involved will leave you shaking your head.  Read More

New CH-47F Chinook helicopter begins Operational Testing with U.S. Army

February 20, 2007 The first production CH-47F Chinook helicopter is heading for the battlefield in the near future with the news that Operational Testing (OT) for the U.S. Army has begun at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. The aircraft successfully completed acceptance and developmental flight testing last December. The aircraft is the first of 452 CH-47F helicopters included in the U.S. Army Cargo Helicopter modernization program. It features a newly designed, modernized airframe and a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System cockpit and BAE Digital Advanced Flight Control System. The advanced avionics provide improved situational awareness for flight crews with an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allows storing of preflight and mission data. Improved survivability features include Common Missile Warning and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser Systems.  Read More

Unmanned helicopter rescue service for Mount Everest

February 7, 2007 One of the many problems of climbing a mountain as tall as Mount Everest, is that once you’re up there, there’s not much help available if things go wrong. Most helicopters are not designed to operate above a ceiling of about 14,000ft (4,300m), yet Base Camp on Everest is at nearly 18,000ft (5364m) and the summit is another 11,500ft (3,486m) above that. Now UAV specialist TGR Helicorp, creators of the Snark, has developed an unpiloted full-size alpine rescue helicopter; the Alpine Wasp, which will be able to operate safely and autonomously at altitudes up to and beyond 30,000ft (over 9000m). The company will be donating the Alpine Wasp to the Everest Rescue Trust after it has undergone testing and systems evaluation in the harsh mountain environment of the Mt Cook region of New Zealand during 2007. It will be capable of airlifting up to two sick or injured climbers at a time from extreme altitude, using ultra-modern composite technologies, a revolutionary diesel helicopter engine and rotor blades designed especially for maximum performance in thin air. The Everest Trust is to use the Alpine Wasp as its key technology in building and operating a self-funding unmanned rescue helicopter service for the extreme altitude regions of Nepal. This humanitarian project aims to save lives on Everest and improve the safety and emergency services in Nepal, while directly benefiting the Nepalese people.  Read More

The sub US$200,000 family aircraft – the Sky Yacht

December 12, 2006 Skyacht Aircraft has created a whisper quiet, steerable, Personal Blimp capable of sustained and affordable flight. Under development for four years, the first Personal Blimp, named Airship Alberto, made its first flight on October 27, 2006, becoming the first and only aircraft to meet this seemingly straightforward goal. The Personal Blimp uses hot air (rather than Helium) for lift and silent electric motors for propulsion and is hence a hot air balloon that can be flown, steered and landed in perfect quiet offering passengers a serene flight experience. It can hover and steer around objects making it ideal for, amongst other things, eco-tourism, aerial photography and film-making. It’s due at market in about two years for a price under US$200,000 compared to the smallest helium airship which costs US$2,000,000+ while a top-notch helium ship costs more than US$12 million. When not in use, the Personal Blimp can be deflated and folded for storage (much like a hot air balloon.) The combination of ready buoyancy control and rapid deflation eliminates not only costly hangars but also the large ground crews typically required for helium airships.  Read More

GoldenEye 80 ducted fan UAV makes successful first flight

December 7, 2006 Flying saucer sightings are certain to be on the increase from this point forth as a new type of aerial vehicle comes into existence. The Aurora Flight Sciences GoldenEye 80 unmanned air vehicle made a successful first flight last month, becoming the first ducted fan UAV to fly under the power of a heavy fuel engine. The fully autonomous GoldenEye 80 UAV is being developed under contract to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through its Organic Air Vehicle (OAV-II) program. The GoldenEye 80 is designed to give company commanders the ability to spot, identify, designate, and destroy targets. With its powerful sensors and quiet operation, the aircraft can dash to a target area, hover motionless in the sky, and observe and designate a target – all without being heard by people on the ground. The unique design and embedded capabilities of the GoldenEye 80 enable the UAV to be used for a variety of military missions, from conducting surveillance beyond hills in rural areas to gathering intelligence while flying between buildings in urban warfare operations.  Read More

Special Forces get the first CV-22 Ospreys

November 18, 2006 The United States Special Forces have been the best equipped in the world for a long time, though the gap widened considerably on Thursday with the first delivery of the CV-22 Osprey to the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The CV-22 is the Air Force version of the V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the speed and range of fixed wing aircraft with the vertical flight performance of a helicopter. With its engine nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter, but once airborne its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. The CV-22 offers unprecedented speed in the ingress and extraction of special forces into any terrain. Just in case the advantages of the CV-22 and its almost identical brethren the V-22 aren’t entirely obvious, the following recently published briefing by Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute highlights why the Osprey is one system the military needs more of right now.  Read More

The World’s Smallest RC Helicopter for US$100

November 1, 2006 The lines between manpackable UAVs for the military and high end Radio Controlled toys blurred some time ago, and when we saw the latest toy from Interactive Toy Concepts, we began to wonder just how far this trend might go, given the trend towards miniaturisation of everything. The Micro Mosquito is claimed to be the Worlds smallest, lightest and quietest full function indoor R/C helicopter and weighs only 15 grams – that’s hellishly impressive, but the startling bit is the retail price of just over US$100. We’re sure it’s not the smallest, because military contractors around the world no doubt have much smaller versions in the labs – but this one does have the advantage of being available on retail shelves within the next few weeks and is certain to be there only a short while.  Read More

UK's VTOL Harrier Jets upgraded

October 11, 2006 An upgraded version of the iconic Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Harrier GR9 aircraft has entered service with the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy and Royal Air Force after a GBP500 million improvement package. The GR9 programme provides updated digital systems and enhanced operational capability that will allow the RAF to hit a wider range of targets harder, at longer range, with greater precision and with less risk to aircrew. A number of new systems have been or will be integrated onto the GR9, linked by a new on-board computer. These include the Precision Guided Bomb and infra red & television variants of the Maverick missile. Also included is the Successor Identification Friend or Foe (SIFF) system, which will make the aircraft less vulnerable in an operational environment. The GR9 will also carry the Brimstone missile which will enable it to attack up to 12 ground targets simultaneously compared with just two with the GR7.  Read More

Hybrid Manned/Unmanned Light Helicopter Makes First Flight

October 10, 2006 This photo shows the first of two newly designed A/MH-6X light-turbine helicopters lifting off for the first time late last month at Boeing’s Rotorcraft Systems facility in Mesa, Arizona. The flight was a significant milestone in the continuing development of the versatile hybrid manned/unmanned military aircraft which combines the proven performance of the A/MH-6M Mission Enhanced Little Bird (MELB) with the unmanned aerial vehicle technologies of the Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) Demonstrator, a modified MD 530F civil helicopter that has been in development since 2004. Aircraft performance will be similar to the ULB Demonstrator with an additional 1,000 pounds of payload that can be used for increased range, endurance or mission hardware. Total payload for the ULB Demonstrator is greater than 2,400 pounds.  Read More

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