If you're a Star Trek fan who dreams about taking a journey on the USS Enterprise, then a flight in first class on a Qantas A380 looks like a pretty good substitute. Of course you won't be traveling at Warp 8, but it can still get you from Los Angeles to Sydney in about 15 hours.
The Joint Strike Fighter, aka the F-35 Lightning II, was named after the P-38 Lightning, a long-range escort fighter that saw extensive service over the pacific during World War II. Lockheed Martin (or just Lockheed, back then), is responsible for both aircraft, and they set up a little photoshoot where new school met old school.
You remember SpaceShipOne, right? It's the passenger-carrying rocket ship that's boosted a big chunk of the way to space by that crazy airplane that's really two airplanes stuck together. A company called Stratolaunch is going to take this concept and supersize it to launch cargo rockets (and eventually passengers) to orbit.
Alaska Airlines recently launched 75 passenger flights running on a 20% biofuel blend made with reclaimed cooking oil. Once we learned this fuel blend met aviation and military safety, environmental, and performance standards we breathed a huge sigh of relief. And this, right after some airlines decided to go electric when taxiing.
Ryanair is probably best known for it's low low prices, which it achieves thanks to low low standards of comfort, service, and convenience. But who cares, because pretty soon, you're gonna be able to watch porn on Ryanair, which should make everything 100% better.
It's unfortunate that forest fires almost never happen on islands in the middle of lakes. If they did, we wouldn't have this problem of having to get lots of water into what's usually the middle of nowhere to put them out. Aircraft specially rigged to do this are expensive (and few), so Boeing wants to just use giant water balloons tossed out of cargo aircraft instead.
Science: is there anything it can't do? Dr. Jason Steffen, a scientist at Fermilab, got frustrated with how inefficiently airlines board customers. So he used simulations with a Monte Carlo optimization algorithm to come up with a better way.
Airplanes are loud. Very loud. And all that means is that they're pumping out massive amounts of acoustic energy that's being wasted assaulting your eardrums. Airport runways made of custom "designer" gravel could harvest some of this energy and turn it into useful amounts of electricity.
We talk a lot about what the future of air travel will look like, but Boeing's long-time-coming 787 Dreamliner is finally ready for its first passengers and will definitely offer travelers a taste of the good life. Our favorite feature: the electronically dimming windows.
Spacecraft waste an incredible amount of energy getting into orbit, partially because most of what they're lifting is useless fuel. This is why a space elevator is such an appealing idea, but there's no reason why the same basic concept wouldn't be beneficial for regular old airplanes.