Tag Archives | airplane

Electronic Skin for Airplanes Will Help Them “Feel” Damage and Environmental Changes

Air Canada C-FIVX, Hatton Cross/Heathrow Airport by Au Morandarte via Wikimedia Commons.

Air Canada C-FIVX, Hatton Cross/Heathrow Airport by Au Morandarte via Wikimedia Commons.

As long as it isn’t colored like the faux-flesh furniture.

via Mashable:

Concerns about airplane safety are are at a fever pitch thanks to the very visible nature of plane crashes in the past year. But as the perceived need for better danger detectors rises, so does the level of creativity used in addressing potential issues.

British aerospace company BAE Systems is designing a “skin” for airplanes that can detect damage and other environmental changes to the plane, helping to diagnose potential issues before they spiral out of control.

“The idea is to make platforms ‘feel’ using a skin of sensors in the same way humans or animals do,” senior research scientist Lydia Hyde, who instigated the project, said in a statement.

The idea came to Hyde while doing laundry one day. She noticed her dryer had a sensor that detected overheating, and realized she could apply the same kind of technology to a plane to prevent it from succumbing to extreme conditions.

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KLM To Use Recycled Frying Oil To Fuel Flights

800px-Klm.fokker.f100.ph-ofg.arpKLM airlines are going green, well, at least for some flights. BBC reports:

The Dutch airline KLM says it plans to use recycled cooking oil on 200 flights between Paris and Amsterdam.

The fuel, biokerosene, is derived from used frying oil, which has to be tested to meet the same technical specifications as traditional kerosene.

Airlines are under EU pressure to cut their carbon emissions by 3% by 2012.

KLM’s interest in biofuels dates back to 2009, when it ran a test flight carrying 40 people, including the then Dutch economics affairs minister.

The 90-minute flight was majority powered by traditional aviation fuel, with just one of the its four engines powered 50% by biofuel.

Future flights will use half traditional kerosene and half biofuel.

[Continues at BBC News]

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Sci-Fi Private Jets Of The World’s Dictators

British photographer Nick Gleis specializes in documenting the elaborate private jets that belong to African dictators and other heads of state. The Telegraph has a slideshow of his photos of plane interiors that resemble science fiction rendered in real life. I’m guessing, your leader’s having one of these insanely-ornate luxury jets probably corresponds with living in a country that’s not in great shape.

plane2

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Chinese Airport Closes After UFO Sighting

Spotted over the Hangzhou Airport

Spotted over the Hangzhou Airport

Shanghaiist reports on a UFO sighting in China that resulted in the shutting down of an airport. (The loudspeaker announcement must have been interesting.)

On Wednesday, Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan airport was shut down for about an hour while airport authorities scrambled to figure out what unidentified flying contraption was hovering on their radars.

According to a story that first appeared in Zhejiang Online, the UFO showed up on radar a little past 8:30pm. Suddenly, airport personnel saw a “shining light” in the air, later confirmed by passengers that were flying at the time.

Some have theorized it was a private jet [or] a piece of rocket debris. At least one official has said it has a “military connection” – which is why more details of the incident can not be divulged.

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SolarImpulse Lands First 24-Hour Solar Powered Flight

SolarImpulse, the solar-powered plane

SolarImpulse, the solar-powered plane

Could solar powered flying be a new way to diminish the use of fossil fuels? With the success of the first 24-hour flight powered solely by the sun, the planet may be ginning. Eliane Engeler (AP writer) gives the story:

An experimental solar-powered plane completed its first 24-hour test flight successfully Thursday, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night.

The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun.

Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at exactly 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT).

Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn’t scrape the ground and topple the craft.

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