, a solar powered plane, has smashed the record for the longest duration un-manned flight
, staying aloft with engines running for 54 hours. This was just a test run at the US military White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, according to the UK developers, "You ain't seen nothing yet". Meanwhile in Switzerland, development continues on the Solar Impulse
, which has a goal of flying around the world, manned(!), by 2010.
posted by stbalbach
on Sep 11, 2007 -
Eject! Eject! Eject!
Whether used in the air
, on land
, at sea
it), or on the way
to the Moon, ejection seats
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
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.
posted by cenoxo
on Aug 28, 2006 -
Terror plot disrupted
. Scotland Yard has arrested about 18 potential terrorists who were planning to blow up UK to USA flights mid-air. The UK threat level
is now critical
- "an attack is expected imminently". And there's chaos
at the airports where hand luggage has been banned from all flights.
posted by featherboa
on Aug 10, 2006 -
Legend has it that Charles Dellschau (1830-1923)
was the draftsman
for the secret Sonora Aero Club
, a collective of 60 or so mostly German immigrants who reportedly constructed dirigible like aircraft
in California in the 1850's. One club member was said to have discovered suppe
-- the magic antigravity fuel alleged to have lifted the craft. There were sightings of these 'airships'
, tenuously linked back to the club, up to the end of the 20th century
, described variously as butcher, inventor, civil war spy, scientist and America's first visionary artist
, retired at age 70 in Texas and spent the last 2 decades
of his life as a recluse, producing mixed media art works
that record the craft
and workings of the fabled Sonora Aero Club. They are accompanied by cryptic symbols
, newsprint about aircraft and detailed notebooks and were salvaged from the garbage in 1967. His artworks were selling for $15,000 each 5 years ago
. A would-be author and long-time sleuth believes he has unlocked the mysteries of Dellschau's cryptic accoutrements
and may be publishing a book on the legends
this year. via
posted by peacay
on Jun 15, 2005 -
On 1 July 2002 at 21:35:32 hrs a collision between a Tupolev TU154M, which was on a flight from
Moscow/Russia to Barcelona/ Spain, and a Boeing B757-200, on a flight from Bergamo/Italy to Brussels/
Belgium, occurred north of the city of Ueberlingen (Lake of Constance). Investigation Report as of May 2004, PDF. Very detailed, intelligibly written.
71 people were killed in one of Europe's worst peacetime air accidents. The report comes the the conclusion that human error was the main cause. The TCAS system (PDF)
which should have prevented the collision worked, but the Tupolew crew followed the ATC instructions. It turned out that the air traffic controller missed a key warning on his radar screen in one of a chain of errors.
ATCs from nearby airports realized what was going on but weren't able to contact the responsible Skyguide
controller because the telephone network did not work
: the main telephone line was switched off because of work being done on the telephone network, and the collision warning system was temporarily shut down for maintenance.
The ATC in charge was stabbed to death
in February 2004 by a Russian man who lost his wife, son and daughter in the plane crash.
posted by tcp
on Jul 1, 2004 -
"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.
posted by cedar
on Mar 27, 2004 -
Pull up! Pull up!
Several detailed Quicktime VR tours of aircraft and spacecraft cockpits, from the National Air & Space Museum. [QTVR plugin required, natch.]
posted by stonerose
on Feb 6, 2004 -
It's not just for bullets anymore!
previously discussed on MeFi here
, I would like to reconsider "Depleted Uranium" (DU) in terms of its non-military uses. As ballast in the Columbia
, the pieces of which were scattered across our country, for instance? Also in the ballast of many commercial airplanes, helicopters and ships.
Should we really be using this stuff so lightly
? I mean, just because it's twice as heavy as lead
does that counterbalance
the incredibly damaging long-term (half-life = how many billion years?) effects of DU burning and becoming a wind-borne inhalant? (Gulf Syndrome)
To paraphrase Seinfeld, what's the deal with DU?
posted by zekinskia
on Feb 12, 2003 -
The F-22 Raptor is the next generation fighter for the United States. At nearly 97 million each, it will be deployed in 2004.This site
gives a remarkably detailed report regarding its design and function. Including such gems as "first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability" and " Humans are good differentiators, but they are poor integrators."
posted by JohnR
on Dec 19, 2002 -