One hundred years ago today, on March 3, 1915, a Naval Appropriations Bill was passed through Congress and signed by president Woodrow Wilson. A small rider was attached to the bill and went through the process almost completely unnoticed. That rider legislated the formation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. [more inside]
Gamera II is the University of Maryland's Human-Powered Helicopter. So far it has remained aloft for 65.1 seconds and reached an altitude of 9.4 feet, not quite enough to win the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter competition. [more inside]
After a test flight nearly ended in disaster at the start of the Civil War, Professor Thaddeus Lowe recovered his balloon and headed back North. Recognizing the potential use of air vehicles in the war, he managed to get an invitation to the White House in order demonstrate the capabilities of balloons in the war effort. [more inside]
The X-37B OTV has landed. (previously) and (previously) Launched in late April the space plane was tracked by amateur astronomers and sky watchers during its 7-month stay in orbit. The X-37 has he capability to maneuver changing orbit, track, and altitude. This led to a cat and mouse game with the earthbound skygazers. The X-37B is one of the latest in a series of experimental aircraft known as the X-planes. [more inside]
A Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics, a web-based textbook brought to you by the folks at NASA. [more inside]
Asymmetric airplanes may look weird, but the idea isn't just for the luftwaffe anymore: Burt Rutan has done one too. Not counter-intuitive enough for you? How about an asymmetric helicopter?
Whizzy, spinny, Enterprise/UFO looking like thing. SimiCon, a Norwegian company focused on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles is developing a circular craft that uses both rotors and a low profile jet in order to provide the high performance of a fixed wing craft along with the VTOL capabilites of a helicopter. Looks pretty cool.
Build your own satellite Three years ago, when midshipmen and members of the aeronautics department approached the school about building a satellite, officials balked at the half-million-dollar price tag. The group returned with a plan to build one for less than $50,000. After a month in orbit, a satellite built by Naval Academy midshipmen with off-the-shelf parts from Radio Shack is exceeding all expectations, sending and receiving messages from ham radio users around the world. Amazing!