The first air-to-air refueling took place on this day in 1921. This video explains its evolution throughout history.
Tag Archives | Aviation
Back in the 1950s, under the threat of communist apocalypse, the US military had plans for a long-range bomber using the energy of nuclear decay heat to stay aloft for weeks at a time. The Convair X-6 was a design to use a radical, high-temperature, molten-salt-fueled-and-cooled reactor (MSR), and made nuclear-powered aviation come quite close to reality. This program, called NEPA (Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft), like its space-faring cousin-project NERVA, was ultimately a sink for around 7 billion US taxpayer dollars before it was cancelled by Eisenhower. But it actually resulted in the development of a radical type of reactor (MSR) that still could be used to safely generate massive amounts of electricity. More on that later.
The Convair X-6 bomber prototype, which carried a working nuclear reactor and heavy radiation shielding for the pilots (105,000 pounds of lead alone), was test flown nearly a dozen times in 1957.… Read the rest
The myth goes that if a helicopter engine dies, it will drop like a rock and crash. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Daven Hiskey via Today I Found Out:
In fact, you have a better chance at surviving in a helicopter when the engine fails than you do in an airplane. Helicopters are designed specifically to allow pilots to have a reasonable chance of landing them safely in the case where the engine stops working during flight, often with no damage at all. They accomplish this via autorotation of the main rotor blades.
Oliver Smith, writing in the unlikeliest section of Britain’s Telegraph newspaper (Travel), pooh-poohs the concept of chemtrails and, seemingly not satisfied with rubbishing that conspiracy theory, tries some other aviation-related theories out for size:
… Read the rest
The seemingly random appearance of “contrails”, as these lines of condensation are commonly called, is considered by a small but vocal online minority to be evidence of government conspiracy. The clouds are, according to some, in fact “chemtrails” – chemical or biological agents sprayed at high altitude for any number of top secret reasons.
So persistent is the chemtrail theory that US government agencies regularly receive calls from irate citizens demanding an explanation. Pernilla Hagberg, the leader of Sweden’s Green Party, even raised the issue in parliament. The trails which arouse the most suspicion are those that remain visible for a long time, dispersing into cirrus-like cloud formations, or those from multiple aircraft which form a persistent noughts-and-crosses-style grid over a large area.
People powered might just as well be the description of this nifty solar plane, as the 12,000 solar cells are all sponsored to the tune of $200 each.
Finn Olaf-Jones reports for the Wall Street Journal:
… Read the rest
…In 2003, [Bertand] Piccard approached European companies to sponsor what has become a $148 million project and began assembling a team of 80 engineers and technicians plucked largely from Swiss universities. After seven years of tinkering, they arrived at a machine with a deceptively simple design: Solar Impulse—with its sleek, clean lines, white-gloss finish and rakishly angled 208-foot wings (bent to increase the plane’s stability)—resembles what you might get had Steve Jobs reimagined a child’s balsa-wood glider in giant form.
“The crux to flying nonstop around the world with solar energy is being able to fly even when the sun isn’t out, especially at night,” notes André Borschberg, a former Swiss air force fighter ace and McKinsey & Company consultant who, as the project’s CEO, oversees the design team and takes turns piloting the plane.
Via the Telegraph:
The Solar Impulse took off on the world’s first cross-Mediterranean flight from an airfield in western Switzerland and is scheduled to make a stop-over in Spain after a 20-hour flight, before finally flying to the Moroccan capital Rabat on Monday.
Lessons learned on this fight will help prepare the pilots for an attempt at a round-the-world journey. “Today it’s the last rehearsal for the flight around the world in 2014. For Andre and myself as pilots and for the entire team, the mission control team and technical team”, Solar Impulse founder, Bertrand Piccard, told Reuters. Pilot Andre Borschberg, who was flying the aircraft to Madrid, found it “rewarding” that the plane flies only using solar power.
“Well the most fun is to be able to go up to 9,000 metres with solar energy, and the more I will fly during the day, the more energy I will collect even in the batteries, so that’s very impressing, very different”…
Read More: Telegraph
Military officers rarely speak out against their services, but in our lead story you'll hear from two elite pilots who question the safety of Air Force's most sophisticated, stealthy, and expensive fighter jet, the F-22 Raptor. Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Joshua Wilson have chosen to stop flying the F-22 because they say during some flights they and other pilots have experienced oxygen deprivation, disorientation, and worse. They are concerned about their safety in the air, as well as the long-term health consequences. The Air Force says it is doing all it can to investigate and solve the problem, and are keeping the jets in the air with careful supervision of the pilots.
The ability to have tacos delivered at their feet is an idea many people wouldn't hesitate to get behind — especially when the tacos are being delivered by a robot. The Tacocopter — an unmanned drone helicopter that gives customers tacos on demand — would without a doubt be wildly popular were it to exist throughout the nation. Taco-hungry Americans could order and pay for tacos on their smartphones, which would supply GPS coordinates to the drone. Once ordered, the tacos would be delivered as long as the customer remained in the ordering location. It exists in the Bay Area — in concept, at least. For now, the Tacocopter, which has existed since July 2011, has been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration, as would be any unmanned commercial drone. According to FAA regulations, "unmanned aerial vehicles" cannot currently be used for commercial purposes.