We firmly believe that everything should be 3D printable. That is, if you're in the market for some sort of new widget or piece of furniture or you just need to fix something, you should be able to order up a schematic and print it out in your living room. And if you're in the market for a new airplane, you should be able to do the same thing.
The F-22 Raptor is unquestionably the most advanced combat aircraft the world has ever seen. It's also by far the most expensive. But whether it's the hands-down best is up for debate, especially after multinational Red Flag combat exercises in Alaska. In the words of one German Eurofighter Typhoon pilot, "we have had a Raptor salad for lunch."
The FanWing is arguably the first entirely new aircraft design developed within the past century. Instead of jet engines or rotors, it uses huge rotating fans embedded in its wings for both lift and propulsion. Scale models have been flying for years, and we've just learned that a manned ultralight prototype should be airborne in early 2013.
It's cheaper and more efficient for an airline to use one single large aircraft instead of several smaller aircraft, which was the initial motivation behind Boeing's venerable 747. Airbus cranked things up a notch with its truly gigantic double-decker A380, and a patent filed by Boeing last month suggests that a future generation of the 747 may follow suit.
Nothing* gets us more excited than a new generation of X-Plane, and we just found out about the latest design that NASA's getting ready to test: it's the X-48C, a blended wing body aircraft with the potential to be turned into a futuristic military transport and, just possibly, a passenger aircraft.
Just because Doc Brown's future has no roads doesn't mean the dream of a flying car is dead. With flying cars like the Terrafugia, the idea still lives. But, if you absolutely must have yourself a flying car, you can buy this vintage one from the 1950s for over a million bucks.
When we posted about the FlyNano last year, there was (apparently) some skepticism about whether it was anything more than a fanciful idea. Footage released this week shows the airplane undergoing flight testing on Monday, equipped with a new battery-powered engine.
Remember that crazy 18-rotor personal helicopter proof of concept from e-volo that we wrote about last November? Looks like the company is ready to take the next step towards making a consumer version of this thing, and ultimately, it may not even be that crazy at all.
Clearly, someone over at the Airbus design department has been working just a little bit too hard coming up with patentable ideas. What you're looking at here is patent 8,157,204 (filed back in 2008, just approved) for a double fuselage, double swept-forward wing, double turboprop passenger aircraft. It's totally crazy, but actually pretty smart.
The U.S. Air Force has a 370-foot-long surveillance airship sitting in a hangar in North Carolina right now, 95% complete. In two weeks, the blimp will be ready to fly, just in time for the USAF to scrap the entire program, dismantle the hardware, and pack it all into shipping containers for storage. Sigh.