The team behind the world’s fastest sailboat—l’Hydroptère, a 78-foot trimaran that sailed at a record-breaking 50-plus knots (nearly 58 mph) for more than a nautical mile last year—is designing a new model to break another big racing record. With l’Hydroptère Maxi, a crew 0f 10 hopes to sail around the world in less than 48 days and eight hours, beating the current fastest time as set by the French crew of Groupama last March.
The Swiss-built Solar Impulse airplane is about to enter the darkness today, already several hours into what is slated to become its first all-night flight.
Pilot (and CEO) André Borschberg has been gradually climbing to an altitude of about 27,000 feet, with the plane's 10,748 solar panels soaking up the sun's rays and charging the aircraft's batteries. As darkness falls over Europe, Borschberg will slowly descend to about 5,000 feet, essentially using the plane as a glider before reverting to battery power.
Late next year, you'll be able to buy your own flying car -- er, "roadable aircraft" -- thanks to a thumbs-up from the Federal Aviation Administration. As long as you have $194,000 and a sport pilot license.
The agency approved the Transition plane-car this week, giving it a Light Sport Aircraft rating. The test prototype has been flying for about a year, but plane-maker Terrafugia will unveil its production-class plane next month at the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual convention in Oshkosh, Wisc.
Automobile design has changed drastically over the last half century, and computers have gone from filling entire rooms to fitting neatly in our briefcases. The Boeing 737, however, has changed very little. An MIT team aims to bring aviation into the 21st century with two bold new designs for commercial airliners that could trim fuel use by up to 70 percent while increasing passenger capacity.
By Arnie CooperPosted 04.10.2010 at 6:01 pm 0 Comments
When the “underwear bomber” passed through security last Christmas, no one noticed the three ounces of PETN, one of the most reactive explosives, stuffed in his pants. Now a new portable chemical detector, capable of sensing explosives’ vapor at parts per trillion, could finally uncover this and other chemical threats at airports.
Most of us consider airports an unglamorous, necessary evil. Between the inevitable delays, grumpy travelers, long lines, and lost baggage, we can barely summon the energy to appreciate our surroundings, let alone how they were conceived.
Like us, past generations have envisioned a future of efficient, aesthetically-pleasing airports, and our 137-year archive certainly yields a few fantastical gems.
Piloting a plane older than two of the three crew on board, a Swiss team shattered Steve Fossett's around-the-world flight record by almost ten hours over the weekend, the first time the record has been set in this weight class with refueling stops. But the pilots didn't just have to negotiate the usual headwinds and bad weather -- their flight was nearly derailed by a volcanic eruption in Iceland that forced them to make an extra refueling stop and add an unexpected 12th leg to their journey.
In 1983, engineers at General Electric experimented with an "unducted fan" engine. Without the external casing, airflow through the blades increased, delivering more power for the same amount of fuel. The thing was loud, but the company pressed on because the trick could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 26 percent. Then fuel prices dropped, gas guzzling became acceptable, and GE mothballed the project. Now that airlines are again conscious of fuel costs and carbon, the idea is back, and new tech is making it feasible.
After cost overruns, a series of delays, and almost a decade of hype, the F-35 Lighting finally performed a vertical landing for the first time. Yesterday at 1 P.M., after descending from a 150-foot-high hover, the test plane touched down on the tarmac at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. This is a significant step forward for the F-35, as its vertical takeoff and landing capability are crucial to the fighter's role as a replacement for the aging Harrier jet.