Last week, DARPA carried out the second test of an unmanned hypersonic vehicle that can travel at Mach 20. The test ended when controllers prematurely lost contact with the vehicle, but data now shows that the vehicle flew stably for three minutes, and then made a controlled descent into the ocean. In other words, it worked. Mostly.
Yesterday, Russia's stealthy new fifth-generation jet fighter, the Sukhoi T-50, made its public debut at an air show near Moscow. The T-50 is billed as being more agile than the F-22, which is slightly worrisome for America's new fighters. Or, it would be worrisome, if every last F-22 hadn't been grounded since May due to mechanical problems. USA!
It seems inconceivable that an aircraft that can travel from New York to Los Angeles in 12 minutes — less time than it takes to wake up, whip together a proper breakfast and soak in the world news exists. But it does and DARPA's planning to test the unmanned Falcon HTV-2 aircraft today!
This fuzzy slide made an appearance during a public Air Force briefing at AirVenture last week, showing something called the "F-X," which would be a sixth-generation jet fighter that's due to replace the F-22 Raptor by 2030. We found a non-fuzzy picture of this thing, and we can tell you exactly what it is.
Last week, Burt Rutan announced his retirement from Scaled Composites while simultaneously unveiling a prototype of his latest design, the Model 367 BiPod flying car roadable plane. Rutan gave each of his aircraft designs a model number, and as you may have surmised by now, he's got a lot of designs, and most of them are innovative and, let's say, unorthodox. Possibly the most extraordinary thing about Rutan's aircraft is how many of them were actually built and flown by the company he founded, Scaled Composites. And it's not like it's just the (relatively) ordinary ones that got off the ground either, since no less than five of his designs now reside in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. You probably already know about Scaled Composites' spaceships and carrier aircraft, but today, we're taking a look back at fifteen of Rutan's earlier extreme designs.
A pulsejet sure sounds like it belongs on a spaceship or something, but it's actually one of the most primitive (or at least simplest) types of jet engines there is. The Nazis used pulsejets on their first generation of cruise missile, the V-1, and now Boeing is toying with the idea of getting them to power a VTOL aircraft.
Kids have some pretty crazy ideas about technology, as General Electric discovered when they asked children about their visions for the future of passenger aircraft. And somehow, none of these ideas were too crazy for GE.
Everybody wants to know where their flying car is, but let's just stop for a minute and think about what happens when everybody gets a flying car. All those terrible drivers will suddenly have the opportunity to crash directly into your house from above, and trust me, they will. The EU is trying to get a jump on the problem, with a project called myCopter.
The closest thing to a flying car that we've realistically developed are various types of drivable planes that don't fit into our futuristic fantasies all that well. If this flying car concept ever gets produced it'll finally signal that the future has arrived, especially since it's an eco-friendly gas-electric hybrid.
Hybrid cars are all the rage, from the Toyota Prius to the Chevy Volt and the Fisker Karma. The same kind of technology that makes these cars quieter, cheaper and more efficient is now finding its way into aircraft.