aircraft

Solar Impulse finally leaves Hawaii to complete Pacific crossing

Solar Impulse finally leaves Hawaii to complete Pacific crossing

Earlier this week we talked a bit about the Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft that had been grounded in Hawaii for an extended period of time. A severe overheating in the battery packs that store the solar energy led to damage requiring those batteries to be replaced. Earlier this week we had learned that test flights had been conducted and the aircraft was waiting for the ideal window to take off. That launch happened yesterday when the Solar Impulse left Kalaeloa, Hawaii.

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Solar Impulse plane ready to continue solar-powered flight around the world

Solar Impulse plane ready to continue solar-powered flight around the world

The last news you may remember hearing about the Solar Impulse 2 project, which aims to fly a small solar-powered aircraft around the world, was last summer when the plane arrived in Hawaii with "irreversible damage" to the batteries. The aircraft and its pilot had just spent over 4 days and 21 hours flying across the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii, setting a world record for the longest solo flight in the process, only to be grounded due to severe overheating damage.

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e-volo Volocopter VC200 done its first manned flight

e-volo Volocopter VC200 done its first manned flight

Small and very lightweight helicopters have been around for decades for enthusiasts to enjoy just for fun. A company called e-volo has been working on something it calls a multicopter that looks more like a giant multirotor drone aircraft than a machine designed to carry human occupants. The flying machine is called the Volocopter VC200 and e-volo has announced that it has conducted its first manned flight.

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Imagine flying with 21-inch touchscreen seatback displays

Imagine flying with 21-inch touchscreen seatback displays

The state of in-flight entertainment has been steadily improving over the last few years, with WiFi increasingly being offered by more airlines, and a wide range of movies and TV shows available from the built-in seatback displays. But what if airlines went all out and provided flyers with luxurious-sized touchscreens to help distract them from the miserable amount of legroom? Well, it might look like these 21.3-inch screens in a prototype from Thales, a French aerospace company.

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DARPAs Gremlins are air-recoverable drones

DARPAs Gremlins are air-recoverable drones

Say the word Gremlins to any child of the '80s and we automatically assume you can't feed them after midnight. DARPA is working on a new program that it calls Gremlins, but rather than adorable little animals that turn murderous after late night snacks, the DARPA Gremlins are flying drone aircraft that are capable of being launched and recovered in the air. DARAP has awarded phase 1 contracts to four different companies to begin looking at ways to make the air-recoverable drone aircraft possible.

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UN aviation agency unveils new rules to prevent future aircraft disappearances

UN aviation agency unveils new rules to prevent future aircraft disappearances

New rules have been made public on the anniversary of the loss of MH370 that are intended to prevent any future aircraft disappearances from happening. The ICAO Council adopted new rules to prevent the loss of aircraft that run into distress in very remote locations. These new rules will be amendments to Annex 6 of the Chicago Convention covering the operation of aircraft.

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Boeing’s self-sanitizing lavatory makes germs ‘literally explode’

Boeing’s self-sanitizing lavatory makes germs ‘literally explode’

Boeing has a new prototype aircraft lavatory that, among other things, uses UV light to kill germs after each use. Many people travel on any given commercial flight and they bring their germs with them. The lavatory is arguably the epicenter of these germs and, given their cramped nature, it can be hard to avoid touching potentially unsanitary surfaces. Boeing has addressed these issues with its new prototype bathroom, enabling it to nuke germs instantly.

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DARPA VTOL X-Plane moves into phase 2 design with Aurora Flight Sciences

DARPA VTOL X-Plane moves into phase 2 design with Aurora Flight Sciences

DARPA wants a new unmanned aircraft that combined the best aspects of a helicopter with the best aspects of fixed wing aircraft. The program to create this new aircraft is called the VTOL X-Plane and DARPA has now announced that the project is moving into phase 2 design. The contact for this phase of the program was awarded to Aurora Flight Sciences.

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Virgin Galactic officially debuts SpaceShip Two, the VSS Unity

Virgin Galactic officially debuts SpaceShip Two, the VSS Unity

It's been some time in the making, but Virgin Galactic, the commercial space flight division of Sir Richard Branson's company, has officially taken the wraps off the new SpaceShip Two. As the first new craft from Virgin Galactic since the tragic crash during a 2014 test flight, killing one of two crew members, the ship will bear the name VSS Unity, which was given by none other than Stephen Hawking.

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Elon Musk shares idea for vertical take-off electric plane

Elon Musk shares idea for vertical take-off electric plane

As the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk is responsible for groundbreaking changes in both the auto and space markets, but he may now be turning his eye towards aviation. When speaking at the Hyperloop Pod competition held over the weekend at Texas A&M University, Musk commented that the idea of an electric plane capable of taking off vertically is something he's been focusing on recently.

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Dutch Police use an eagle to down drones

Dutch Police use an eagle to down drones

Back in December, we talked about the Tokyo police and their new drone catching drone. The Japanese drone used a net to fly up and capture rogue drones. The Dutch police have upped the cool factor for catching rogue drones by training an eagle to capture drones from the sky.

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Windspeed’s SkyDeck puts luxury seats on top of a plane

Windspeed’s SkyDeck puts luxury seats on top of a plane

First class won’t be the same once a new luxury option goes into effect: seats in a clear dome on top of an airplane. Called SkyDeck, this new seating arrangement concept has been designed by Windspeed Technologies, an aerospace engineering firm; it features a clear glass dome with a pair of seats inside, giving passengers a 360-degree view of the open sky around them.

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