The north magnetic pole is slowly sliding from its current locale in the far north of Canada toward Russia at a rate of something like 40 miles per year, but most of us don’t feel the repercussions of that. However, far from the frosty Canadian tundra, sunny Tampa, Fla., is feeling the magnetic shift. Tampa International Airport has closed its primary runway until January 13 to repaint the numeric designators and taxiway signage to reflect the change.
It turns out the lumbering Spruce Goose could've learned something from its namesake. Researchers at Stanford suggest that airliners flying in formations akin to the "flying V" employed by migrating geese could trim double digits from fuel consumption and emissions, improving overall range efficiency and saving on fuel costs.
At long last, the long-delayed A380 has finally made its first commercial flight—over 18 months behind schedule but still early enough to meet the conditions of our PPX proposition. A380FLIES has been delisted and paid out at POP$100 per share.
Personally I was skeptical, but the market was leaning toward success all along, with the proposition trading above $80 for the last few months. It closed at POP$99.75—doesn't get much more certain than that!
Above is a video of the historic touchdown in Sydney, courtesy of the UK's Telegraph. —John Mahoney
Having passed its emergency-evacuation test last weekend, the Airbus A380 is officially certified to haul a staggering 853 passengers—that's how many people safely escaped a darkened test aircraft in less than 80 seconds. The A380's capacity puts it well past its next-largest rival, Boeing's venerable 747, which has held the title of world's largest active commercial jet for almost 36 years. When the A380 takes to the skies on its first commercial flight with Singapore Airlines later this year, it will probably max out at around 500 people (800-plus is for a nightmarish single-class setup).
So how does an aircraft this big get itself built, let alone get in the air? Check out this cool time-lapse video of an A380 assembly to find out, and stick around for the end—the double-time painting process is amazing to watch. —John Mahoney