May 22, 2009 | 9
A new study says that within three years jumbo jet–makers could be testing a new type of wing that reduces midair drag and cuts fuel costs by an estimated 20 percent. The wing would do this using small, built in jets that redirect air around the wing during flight.
"This has come as a bit of a surprise to all of us in the aerodynamics community," Duncan Lockerby, an associate professor of fluid-solid mechanics at the University of Warwick in the U.K. and head of the research project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and aircraft maker Airbus, said in a statement. "It was discovered, essentially, by waggling a piece of wing from side to side in a wind tunnel."
Dec 19, 2008 | 4
The persistent concern of when and where terrorists will strike next—heightened by the Mumbai attacks—has led to a number of tech innovations over the past several years, including full-body airport security scanners and adhesives designed to keep buildings from blowing to pieces if bombed. One of the most intriguing of these inventions is a laser system developed to keep terrorist-fired infrared, "heat-seeking" missiles from striking unsuspecting aircraft (both military and civilian).
The Jeteye infrared beam, developed by London-based BAE Systems, blinds a heat-seeking missile's navigation capabilities, giving an airliner a better chance of getting away unscathed. (Although that doesn't solve the problem that the missile could do damage wherever it lands.) Jeteye senses the incoming missile's "infrared tracking signal (with which the missile paints its target) and pulses a super-intense beam of light into the missile's reticle, or eye, scrambling its brains," Conde Nast Traveler reported this week on its Web site.
Aug 22, 2008 | 6
An experimental, build-it-yourself Velocity 173 RG aircraft crashed into the living room of a house in Las Vegas Friday morning shortly after takeoff from the North Las Vegas airport, killing the pilot and two people inside the home, the AP reports. The pilot and one resident of the house died at the crash site, while the other died after being taken to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. The names of the victims have not been released.
The AP reports the Velocity that crashed was certified for flight by the FAA in 2002. The Velocity—which costs between $55,000 and $150,000 depending on the kit—is constructed in sections and can be dismantled by removing about 10 bolts and some screws. The maximum width of the fuselage, without the wings attached, is 12 feet.
Aug 13, 2008 | 3
It seems the pilot of a Titan Tornado (their site was down as of late this afternoon) ultralight aircraft—a single-seat, homebuilt hot-rod capable of hitting 90 mph—had some trouble on Tuesday morning when cruising over San Bernardino County’s Mojave Valley, which straddles the California-Arizona border. According to the Associated Press, the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing on the westbound lanes of the Interstate 40 connector road to Interstate 95.
The so-called experimental aircraft made a successful touchdown, but that’s when things evidently went wrong. Problem solved, the pilot apparently decided to take off again from the freeway. Thinking the coast was clear, the pilot, Gene Allen Sheets, 65, revved up the Tornado’s Rotax two-stroke engine, trundled down the eastbound roadway and rose up to about three feet off the ground, say witnesses, who spoke to the Federal Aviation Administration.
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