“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]
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.
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]
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.
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)
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.
"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]
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]
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]
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.
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.
Eclipse Aviation yesterday told all of its employees to go home and that they would not be paid for their past two weeks of work. [more inside]
Eject! Eject! Eject! Whether used in the air, on land, at sea (and under it), or on the way to the Moon, ejection seats and capsules have saved thousands of aviators worldwide. The basic concept was first tested in 1912, developed by the Germans in WWII, and became standard safety equipment in high-speed, high-altitude jet and rocket aircraft. (Although ejection seats were in Gemini spacecraft, they were only in early Space Shuttle flights.) Much happens very quickly during ejection, and harrowing accidents and pilot deaths still occur. The decision not to eject right away may be heroic, but even pilots who wait may live while innocent bystanders^ die. However, the efforts of dedicated researchers and rocket sled testing by seat manufacturers keep adding new members to the unique club of men and women who survive to fly again.
Planes check in but they don’t check out. At boneyards across the country, derelict airliners await cannibalization, destruction, or possible restoration.
Wildcats, Falcons, Dragonflies, Dominators, Lancers, Starlifters, Sea Stallions, Shooting Stars, Stilletos (or is it Stilleti?): instrument panels
X-43A Flight. "The unpiloted 12-foot-long X-43A vehicle, part aircraft and part spacecraft, will be dropped from the wing of a B-52 aircraft, lofted to nearly 100,000 feet by a booster rocket and released over the Pacific Ocean to briefly fly under its own power at seven times the speed of sound." Watch (RealPlayer) it live.