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What a plane crash feels like: The inside story

“When we yelled ‘Brace!’ ” Brown said later, “I always described it as if you watched a wind come across a field of wheat and everything bends. That’s how it was. Everybody went down. It was like a field of wheat being blown over.” What a plane crash feels like: The inside story of an American aviation disaster — and miracle [more inside]
posted by heyho on Aug 2, 2014 - 27 comments

Flying RC Aircraft Carrier

Flying RC Aircraft Carrier, Last year we saw the first launch of an RC Aircraft from an RC Carrier. Now we have the first launch AND landing of an RC Aircraft on a Flying RC Carrier.
posted by Confess, Fletch on Apr 22, 2014 - 16 comments

Trappy - 1 : FAA - 0

Previously on the blue. Raphael Pirker, a.k.a. "Trappy" was the first person ever to to fined by the FAA for the commercial operation of a drone. However, instead of paying up, Pirker decided to contest the ruling with a little pro bono legal help. Last Thursday evening, the judge issued his ruling. The judge dismissed the FAA's case, agreeing with the defense that since the FAA never created any legally binding rules for small drones to begin with, they cannot now apply rules that would be used for a pilot flying a full size manned aircraft to drone operators. For now, the ruling means that commercial operation of SUAS in the United States is, basically, legal. Within 24 hours of the ruling, the FAA appealed the case to entire board of the NTSB. SUAS experimenters who have been waiting in the wings are pleased with the ruling.
posted by smoothvirus on Mar 9, 2014 - 13 comments

"It's the lousy drink," he said, summing things up.

On September 20, 1956, just before the bars closed at 3 a.m., a single-engine plane landed on St. Nicholas Avenue near 191st Street in northern Manhattan. Behind the stick was 26-year-old Tommy Fiztpatrick, who pulled off the no-lights, no-radio "feat of aeronautics" while (allegedly) drunk to (allegedly) win a bar bet. Two years later, when a fellow patron called his story into question, Fitzpatrick did it again.
posted by gottabefunky on Dec 4, 2013 - 43 comments

Fly Aweigh My Pretties

Luigi Prina: The Ships That Sail Through The Clouds — Italian architect creates beautiful flying air ships.
posted by cenoxo on Nov 23, 2013 - 26 comments

The FAA vs. Trappy

Raphael Pirker, a.k.a. Trappy, is a FPV pilot who came to be well known after the video from his New York flight went viral. While most of the media coverage of Trappy's NYC exploits was positive, the incident prompted a heated debate in the hobbyist community, and the authorities took a dim view of it. Shortly afterwards, Trappy was hired by a PR firm to do an aerial video shoot over the University of Virginia. The FAA, having banned commercial use of UAVs in 2007, took the unusual step of issuing a $10,000 fine for the unauthorized flight. Earlier this month Trappy's attorneys filed a response(pdf) to the FAA's action which questions whether the FAA holds jurisdiction over "model aircraft" in the first place. According to Wired Magazine, he court's decision could determine the future of model aviation and miniature UAVs in the US. Once again, the response from the hobbyist/entrepreneur community has been spirited. [more inside]
posted by smoothvirus on Oct 17, 2013 - 26 comments

R/C Carrier Launches R/C Plane

Three years ago, we resolved to fly an R/C airplane from an R/C aircraft carrier [more inside]
posted by Confess, Fletch on Sep 18, 2013 - 40 comments

One more thing to worry about

Scientists first discovered invisible gamma-ray flashes in Earth's atmosphere in 1991. This year, the radiation burst, known as dark lightning, was discovered to be linked to regular lightning flashes. Will you get zapped by dark lightning when flying through a thunder cloud? A single burst can give an airline passenger a lifetime's safe dose of ionizing radiation. But it is rare enough that, for now, the risk is thought to be minimal. The US Naval Research Laboratory is rigging balloons and aircraft to further study the radiation burst threat.
posted by eye of newt on Aug 18, 2013 - 20 comments

Is there a Doctor on-board?

The Epidemiology of In-Flight Medical Emergencies Friday SLYT- No time to read the NEMJ paper? (Previous Blue Medical emergency goodness). Doctors of Metafilter, what are you're favourite stories?
posted by Wilder on Jun 28, 2013 - 31 comments

Just how do you move a secret aircraft overland to a secret base?

How did Lockheed move the A-12 from the Skunk Works to Area 51 for flight testing without the vehicle being seen? Here's how.
posted by Rob Rockets on Apr 25, 2013 - 61 comments

Turns out that the spacious luxury heyday of flying was over by 1950

No other hangar in the world is commodious enough to accomodate the giant. With longer wings than a Boeing 747 (70m) and ¾ of the length of an Airbus A380, but with a maximum take-off weight of only 130 tons (less than a Boeing 767), the Bristol Brabazon was only built to hold 100 passengers. The hangar that was made for it is under threat of being demolished and replaced with housing after the closure of Filton Airport, Bristol. Luckily, the red-trousered Mayor of Bristol has promised to intervene. [more inside]
posted by ambrosen on Dec 23, 2012 - 19 comments

Please turn your electronic devices off as we commence descent and landing

109 years ago today, on December 17th 1903, Orville Wright lay down and flew 120 feet at 10 feet per second on the Wright Flyer. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 17, 2012 - 25 comments

Helicopters Are Cool

Rescue of a model airplane using a helicopter (five minute YouTube video)
posted by exogenous on Oct 30, 2012 - 44 comments

Camoflage and Cognitive Dissonance.

A bunch of fighter aircraft, real and imagined, with alternate paintschemes.
posted by not_that_epiphanius on Oct 27, 2012 - 19 comments

Up In The Air

See all the aircraft* currently in flight around the world. Also: Google Flights, to help book your own trip. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Sep 12, 2012 - 62 comments

...Mitchells do fly I.M.C.

B-25 "...Mitchells do fly I.M.C." a Channel 4 UK documentary by Anthony Howarth and Carolyn Hicks detailing the effort of John “Jeff” Hawke to transport five WW II North American B-25 Mitchell bombers from the United States to England for use in the filming of “Hanover Street” in 1978. [more inside]
posted by the_artificer on Aug 31, 2012 - 16 comments

Build your own Gossamer Condor

The first human-powered aircraft to achieve sustained and controlled flight, the Gossamer Condor (6.3 MB PDF), now belongs to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (2.2 MB JPG). So you'll need to build your own. (previously)
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 31, 2012 - 10 comments

'We didn't know what 90 percent of the switches did'

In 2006, the United States Air Force declassified part of one of its secret programs: Constant Peg, the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron, which flew MiGs. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 11, 2012 - 36 comments

Rollin' rollin' rollin'...

"This is unprecedented footage of a small airplane crash from inside the cockpit from two different views. Miraculously, everyone survived. The pilot will make a full recovery and the rest of us escaped with superficial injuries and feel very lucky to be alive." (Graphic accident footage, injuries are shown) [more inside]
posted by heyho on Aug 10, 2012 - 79 comments

Spitfires unearthed in Burma

Once more into the breach! Shades of Neal Stephenson: a squadron of RAF Spifires has been unearthed in Burma and is on its way back to Old Blighty. One hopes they can be properly restored so the populace can witness the aircraft that saved England's bacon. At the very least, perhaps they'll appear in a Dr Who episode.
posted by Johnny Wallflower on May 22, 2012 - 67 comments

Duck!

Mowing the lawn. A collection of aircraft taxiing with the wheels up...
posted by bitmage on Dec 5, 2011 - 49 comments

Obscure cold war nuclear projects: the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program

The Cold War resulted in a rather large number of interesting military research programs. One of these with which I'm familiar is the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion program, which ran from 1946 to 1961. The basic idea? Modify a bomber (such as a B-36 bomber), creating an aircraft that could theoretically remain aloft for weeks at a time without refueling, much like ballistic submarines? The challenge? Shielding. Shielding the reactor alone would make the aircraft prohibitively heavy, so the idea was to primarily shield the crew compartment instead of the reactor. However, to study the concept, and evaluate various lightweight shielding concepts, two very novel and unique nuclear reactors were built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory: the Bulk Shielding Reactor, a novel "swimming pool reactor", and the Tower Shielding Reactor, an unshielded reactor that was hung 200' in the air dangling between 310' steel towers. While the program successfully demonstrated several of the concepts (including a nuclear-powered gas turbine engine running in Idaho, and a modified B-36 that carried a nuclear reactor but wasn't propelled by it (mentioned above), the program was canceled in 1961 due to feasibility and budget concerns.
posted by kaszeta on Aug 21, 2011 - 26 comments

Learn to Fly a Zeppelin

Fancy a jaunt in a dirigible, do you? Read along with Popular Mechanics and get a feel for it, go along for a 30 minute ride (YT in 4 parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, playlist with all 4), or try a flight sim or two.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 5, 2011 - 14 comments

D-Dalus

Austrian research company IAT21 has presented a new type of aircraft at the Paris Air Show which has the potential to become aviation's first disruptive technology since the jet engine. ... The key to the D-Dalus' extreme maneuverability is the facility to alter the angle of the blades (using servos) to vector the forces, meaning that the thrust can be delivered in your choice of 360 degrees around any of the three axes. Hence D-Dalus can launch vertically, hover perfectly still and move in any direction, and that's just the start of the story.
posted by Trurl on Jun 23, 2011 - 38 comments

Wheels! Threads! Atoms!

War is Boring's Steve Weintz has a two-part article up on mobile nuclear reactors, called Atoms In Motion: Portable Reactors (part two here). The links referenced cover planes, trains, and automobiles (though calling the last one an "automobile" might be stretching the definition a little.)
posted by Harald74 on May 10, 2011 - 8 comments

A pilot's worst nightmare

Putting aircraft back into service after storage is sometimes hazardous. Witness this TU-154, where control problems occurred approximately 30 seconds after takeoff. [more inside]
posted by pjern on May 2, 2011 - 73 comments

The World's Shortest Runway

The largest model railway layout in the world, Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland has been featured here before. Featuring areas modelled on real life attractions, it also is home to the fictional town of Knuffingen where the 200,000 mini-inhabitants are very much looking forward to the opening of their new airport. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Feb 12, 2011 - 15 comments

Roger, Roger.

14 high-res panoramas of aircraft cockpits.
posted by gman on Feb 8, 2011 - 20 comments

It's a Small World After All

A 24 hour observation of all of the large aircraft flights in the world, condensed down to just over a minute. Similar videos are created by NASA's Future ATM Concepts Evaluation Tool (or FACET), like this one of a day in the life of air traffic over the United States.
posted by gman on Jan 4, 2011 - 14 comments

J-20 Fighter First Pictures

The first pictures of China's "5th generation" fighter prototype were leaked this week. The aircraft, believed to be the J-20, is expected to have its first flight in early 2011. [more inside]
posted by Simon Barclay on Dec 31, 2010 - 50 comments

Harriers fly into the sunset

The Harrier Jump Jet makes its final flight over England. The venerable Jump Jet, famous for its hovering capability, is to be decommissioned - along with the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal - as part of Britain's cost-cutting measures. It will be replaced by the F35 Joint Strike Fighter. Another story w/video. Is this "the beginning of the end of plane-making in Britain"? [more inside]
posted by schoolgirl report on Dec 15, 2010 - 41 comments

The Hidden Beauty of Flight

Paths of Flight [more inside]
posted by bwg on Dec 6, 2010 - 13 comments

"Aircraft is flying safely and we'll get back to you very shortly with further information. Thank you for your patience."

On Friday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released their preliminary report regarding the Qantas Flight 32 in-flight engine failure. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Dec 6, 2010 - 30 comments

eject

Pilot ejects an instant before fighterjet crashes [video] (via mr)
posted by kliuless on Oct 18, 2010 - 54 comments

swissair

Evolution of the Swissair logo and Swissair posters. Many more logos and posters at the Swissair fan site. (logos/posters are direct links to frames at the fan site)
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse on Oct 12, 2010 - 6 comments

A Wing And A Foyer

Francie Rehwald said she wanted a curved, feminine-shaped house for her Malibu lot overlooking the Pacific Ocean, so architect David Hertz designed her a home built from a scrapped 747.
posted by mattdidthat on Jun 28, 2010 - 41 comments

Desdemona's rocketship to the stars

The Cosmic Muffin is a boat that was once a 1939 Boeing 307 Stratoliner airplane that belonged to Howard Hughes. [more inside]
posted by bwg on Jun 20, 2010 - 10 comments

Yarchive - Notes from the hinterland.

Yarchive is one man's collection of UseNET posts on the topics of Air Conditioning; Aircraft; Bicycles; Cars; Chemistry; Computers; Electrical, Electronic; Environment; Explosives, Pyrotechnics; Food; Houses; Guns; Jokes; Medicine; Metalworking; Military; Nuclear; Telephones; Physics; Risks; Security; Space mostly from a select group of authors. It has been updated several times since it first appeared here in 2001 and it never fails to sucker me in for hours every time I stumble upon it from a Google Search. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on May 19, 2010 - 37 comments

SR-71A Flight Manual

Online SR-71A Flight Manual. Included in sr-71.org's excellent Blackbird Archive is a scanned copy of the actual "Dash-1" flight manual for the famous SR-71A reconnaissance plane. [more inside]
posted by FishBike on Feb 28, 2010 - 65 comments

21st Century Jet: The Building of the 777

21st Century Jet: The Building of the 777 (part 1 of 5) In the early 90's, Boeing decided to build a new airplane, the 777. They also decided to allow KCTS Television and Channel Four London to film the design, construction, and testing of the new airliner. This 5-hour documentary, first aired in 1996, is no longer shown on TV, and out of print on VHS, but you can now watch it on Google Videos. [more inside]
posted by FishBike on Dec 18, 2009 - 20 comments

A Crash in Shanghai raises questions about an airline...

A Zimbabwean cargo aircraft crashed earlier today at Shanghai-Pudong airport, killing three and seriously injuring four. It is not yet known why the aircraft, an ex Varig MD-11F (pic) operated by an airline called Avient, failed to become airborne, but the airline itself has received quite some attention recently. Headquartered in Salisbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom, they almost went bankrupt, leaving behind massive debts in France, only to almost out of nowhere get this MD-11F, which crashed within a week of being acquired. (pprune, reg req) But that's not the only shady thing about this airline... [more inside]
posted by krautland on Nov 28, 2009 - 32 comments

An Ingenious Blend of Airplane and Helicopter

What does an aircraft company do when military contracts dry up? Fairey’s answer was to reinvent the helicopter and revolutionize the short-haul airline industry. After 15 years of effort, its unique project, the Rotodyne, came within an inch of achieving that goal. The Fairey Rotodyne, which first took to the air more than 50 years ago, was billed as the world's first vertical take-off commercial passenger aircraft. Fairey talked up expressions of interest from BEA in the UK, New York Airways and the US Army, but the crucial launch order never came. British government policy to rationalize the industry saw the end of the Rotodyne and Fairey as an airframe maker in 1962.
posted by veedubya on Nov 11, 2009 - 27 comments

The C-17 Globemaster III

January: Newly sworn-in President Obama says, "We need greater investment in... essential systems like the C-17 cargo... aircraft, which provide the backbone of our ability to extend global power." April: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says, "Our analysis concludes that we have enough C-17s, with the 205 already in the force and currently in production." May: The Office of Management and Budget proposes the termination of the C-17 program with a savings of $17 billion. July: The 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill includes funding for the program. September 29: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) proposes an amendment to strip that funding - "You can't walk through these hallways without bumping into a lobbyist from Boeing." September 30: By a vote of 64 to 34, the Senate defeats the amendment.
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 1, 2009 - 113 comments

non-flight of the unPhoenix

Abandoned PBY-5A Catalina Flying Boat in Saudi Arabia. More images. (via)
posted by Artw on Sep 7, 2009 - 24 comments

It's not too early in history to be exterminated by a Dalek

The ring wing or annular airfoil is an aircraft design which has been experimented with throughout the history of aviation with some interesting variations. It has served as the inspiration for several paper airplane designs, model airplanes of course, and a variety of children's toys. The capabilities imagined by the French coléoptère engineers of the 1950's and 1960's and the U.S. "flying tank" designers are available today at least in the form of unmanned vehicles (large PDF brochure, 6 minute video download, 1½ minute YT news clip). The technology has also been adapted to become the surfboard tunnel fin and there are underwater UAVs as well.
posted by XMLicious on Aug 28, 2009 - 14 comments

They're models, not toys!

Building and flying free flight model airplanes is a pastime so obscure it doesn't even register on the geek heirarchy. But in the period between Lindberg's flight across the Atlantic until the start of the Second World War, thousands of boys (and some girls) around the world succumbed to the allure of rubber, lube, and dope. [more inside]
posted by gamera on Aug 6, 2009 - 13 comments

The Lear Jet Repo Man

The Lear Jet Repo Man
posted by JeffL on Jun 6, 2009 - 69 comments

Return from orbit is simply the reverse of takeoff.

The Haynes Workshop Manuals are a series of practical instructional repair manuals aimed at both the DIY enthusiast or shade-tree mechanic and the professional garage repairman. In that spirit, they offer the following guides to repair and service the following: The Spitfire Fighter (no, not that one), The Lancaster Bomber and the Apollo modules.
posted by 1f2frfbf on Jun 4, 2009 - 30 comments

Aerial Fire Fighting

Firefighting with an Air Tractor (SLYT with unflattering music).
posted by exogenous on May 10, 2009 - 23 comments

Make It, Fly It

It has lately been popular to make stuff. But few have made an airplane. A great variety of homebuilt/amateur experimental aircraft can be made, some speedy, some aerobatic, some quite popular. Some folks have even made a blimp. [more inside]
posted by exogenous on May 4, 2009 - 24 comments

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