The Solar Impulse, the world's first solar-powered manned long-haul flying machine, is currently in the midst of the longest leg in its pioneering round-the-world journey — China to Hawaii, which at a cruising speed of less than 30mph is anticipated to take most of a week. Follow along with live flight telemetry here. Swiss businessman André Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, who both previously participated in the world's first round-the-world balloon voyage, in the Breitling Orbiter 3, are alternating flight legs. Borschberg is at the controls until the aircraft reaches Hawaii.
In Flight [New York Times] [Interactive] En route from London to Tokyo, a pilot’s-eye view of life in the sky.
There is no more water, except for the clouds. In this animated short film, a heroic pilot attempts to change that. [more inside]
While scientists have long known that modern day birds are dinosaurs (a fact that is self-evident if you ever look at a cassowary), it now appears that birds were not the dinosaurs' only attempt at flight. It may have had feathers, but the recently discovered Yi qi ("Strange Wing") had wings like a bat.
Moving to Mars. "The volunteers perched in the lava fields of Mauna Loa on the HI-SEAS (Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) mission are as close as Earthlings will get to Mars in the foreseeable future." [more inside]
Three YT's showing how to fly a P-51C Mustang.
The New York Times is reporting this morning that crash of the Germanwings plane on Tuesday in the French Alps that killed 150 people "most likely happened" because the co-pilot crashed the jet deliberately, [more inside]
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]
John Collins, holder of the world record for paper airplane flight distance, shows you how to fold that airplane. Here, he demonstrates the plane to David Rees[previously], along with a few other designs, which he also teaches to you: the Tube, the Boomerang, and the Tumbling Wing. [more inside]
All these grown-up monsters for my grown-up mind, they are there in the nights I wake up terrified and taunted by death. When I feel so small and broken, when despair and terror take me, I have a secret tool, a talisman against the night. I don’t use it too often so that it doesn’t lose its power.[more inside]
Virgin Airlines has released a nearly six-hour video showing what's it like to fly from New York to San Francisco with BLAH airlines, which is fictional, gray, boring, and non-Virgin; all in excruciating detail. (Warnings: SLYT, mannequins, Lynchian, Virgin Pepsi Blue)
what it's like to fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class (includes lots of photos) [more inside]
On Thursday, NASA released the names and designs of three vehicles that could replace the space shuttle as means of sending our astronauts into space. [more inside]
Back in 2012, fashion photographer and filmmaker Milton Tan shot a time lapse film over a six month period, of planes overflying Singapore's Changi Beach on their way to and from Changi airport. After his "The Air Traffic" video went viral, managers at the airport made Tan an offer: six months of access to a restricted runway for a second film: The Air Traffic Two. (Via) [more inside]
The mechanical artwork of metalsmith and jewelry-maker Dukno Yoon simulate the flapping of wings through the simple swish of a finger, or powered by metronome. Artist's Series, youtube
This 3 minute video of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner rehearsing for the 2014 Farnborough airshow is notable for the performance takeoff, sure, but hey check out those slipping turns, and the forward slip to a landing, in a jetliner. Remember the Gimli Glider? [upbeat pseudo-techno music warning]
"Normal return route canceled. Proceed as follows: Strip all company marking, registration numbers and identifiable insignia from exterior surfaces. Proceed westbound soonest your discretion to avoid hostilities and deliver NC18602 to marine terminal La Guardia Field New York. Good luck." [more inside]
Presented for your enjoyment and perusal: the Apollo 11 Flight Plan, and other fun reading material. [more inside]
To commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the original Longitude Prize (won by John Harrison with the invention of a clock that could keep time at sea), UK charity Nesta has launched a new £10million prize to encourage inventors and scientists to find a solution to one of six problems facing the world. [more inside]
Birdly: An Attempt to Fly. "‘Birdly’ is an installation which explores the experience of a bird in flight. It tries to capture the mediated flying experience, with several methods. [...] Visualized through HMD (Oculus Rift) the participant is embedded in a virtual landscape where his body is the body of a Red Kite. The whole scenery is perceived in the first person perspective of a bird. To intensify the embodiment we include additional sonic, olfactoric and wind feedback. Soundwise you perceive only the roaring of the wind and the flaps of the wings." [more inside]
Malaysia Airlines MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is missing.
Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am on 8 March 2014. MH370 was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day. The flight was carrying a total number of 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.Rumors that the plane has landed in Nanning, China are debunked. Chinese media had originally reported Vietnamese officials saying they've picked up a signal, but this has also been refuted. There has been no contact nor distress signals, and the case is especially puzzling as the plane lost contact at the safest moment of the flight. [more inside]
How Airbus is Debugging the A350-XWB. Jeff Wise, writing in Bloomberg Business Week, describes the 18-month testing process for the new Airbus A350-XWB passenger jet. One page version (printer format). And a bonus media offering: a somewhat functional online 3D flight simulator. [more inside]
Dennis Hlynsky is a professor of film and animation at RISD whose most recent work, titled Small Brains on Mass, looks at bird behavior, particularly how they interact when flying in groups. To better understand how flying as a flock is achieved, Hlynsky filmed the birds and then stacked the images on the same frame for a set number of frames, the results show each bird’s flight as a trail, but synchronized with the flock. The results are often pure poetry. [more inside]
Luigi Prina: The Ships That Sail Through The Clouds — Italian architect creates beautiful flying air ships.
Several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra were on a flight from Bejing to Macao that got stuck on the tarmac for three hours. With nothing better to do, the musicians resorted to doing what they do best...
[V]Robo Raven[V] is a robot bird. So uncanny a hawk attacked it during testing. Other robot birds include the SmartBird, a flying robotic seagull, and AirPenguins. Robobee is a robot bee.
Prior to their southward migration, the godwits eat up large, until up to 55 per cent of their body weight is fat. They then reduce the size of their gut, kidney and liver by up to 25 per cent to compensate for the added weight. Godwits are amazing migratory shorebirds who travel many thousands of miles at a go. Here's a brief documentary of people studying them (12 minutes on youtube + ad, shows invasive surgery). Here's some science on their flights (creative commons). [more inside]
Come along when Lainey, six years old, goes for her first ever airplane ride in her family's open-cockpit 1946 Champ (SLYT).
Pretty stunning cockpit perspective footage of unmanned aerial vehicles interacting in close quarters, flying with a range of flyers (Echelon FPV). [more inside]
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]
The worlds shortest scheduled airline flight is from Westray Island in the Orkney Islands to the nearby Papa Westray Island. You can watch all two minutes of the flight.
Chilling amateur home video of the Challenger disaster "Obviously a major malfunction." Those words have always haunted me, but to hear them here, echoing across a PA system as shocked onlookers come to terms with what they have just seen, they carry even more power than they did when they were just an anonymous voiceover on a TV shot.
The Space Shuttle Discovery, known for launching the Hubble telescope, as well as being the workhorse of the fleet, made a final flight today. [more inside]
"I'm Douglas Corrigan," the man told a group of startled Irish airport workers who gathered around him when he landed his modified Curtiss Robin at Baldonnel Airport, in Dublin, on July 18, 1938. "Just got in from New York. Where am I? I intended to fly to California."
Orbiter Autopsies "What NASA will learn from dissecting Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour" before they transition into retirement. (From the May 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine.)
If We Only Had Wings explores the long-held dream of personal flight, from da Vinci's gliders to the Swiss Jetman to the in-development NASA Puffin (man, do I want a Puffin). Since the article is from National Geographic, there is also a great photo gallery.
Breathtaking first-person-view wingsuit flights in the Swiss Alps and around Europe. Jetman (with a turbine-powered strap-on wing) flies the Grand Canyon. Meanwhile, NASA continues work on the Puffin: an electric VTOL "personal air vehicle". [more inside]
GE has posted a searchable bird's-eye view of the 6,000 most popular airports in the world.
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.