While your next plane won’t be 3D-printed (we think), plenty of parts will be soon, thanks to huge advances in additive manufacturing
Let’s get one thing straight right from the start: You cannot have your next plane printed for you. Not now, not soon, probably not ever. It’s a beautiful dream, to be sure, like the Willy Wonka invention that let kids reach into a television screen and pull out a chocolate bar. In this case, you’d more »
The first hybrid propulsion experiments have already taken flight, and capabilities are scaling up rapidly
My father’s dreams of flight were powered by avgas. Lots and lots of it. For his generation, big, radial Wright Cyclone engines and Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12s were the ticket skyward—transforming about 100 gallons an hour into 300 knots or more of speed and an instantly recognizable percussion that those in any nearby zip codes would more »
The future is not only coming, it might be here already
Pulleys. Pushrods. Electrical connectors swabbed with stabilant goo. Aircraft have untold connecting points that translate an input to an action. And, as those long-ago games of elementary school “telephone” demonstrated, every time a command moves from one node to the next, there’s potential for corruption or failure. Of all these connection types, one holds an more »
Already being tested in F-16s with application for GA aircraft, a new ground collision avoidance system may help pilots avert a date with dirt
It sounds like the setup to a bad aviation joke: What do an F-16 and a Cirrus have in common? Let me think: One shoots and the other chutes? Except, in this case, the real punch line isn’t funny. It’s tragic. The answer is that, in both cases, a leading cause of fatalities is controlled more »
Forget ground-based sims. Imagine sitting inside the cockpit of a real plane while computer-generated graphics place you in a real-world scenario outside.
Like many pilots, I remember that more than once my flight instructors accused me of trying to fly an airplane right through the runway. That error is part of learning just how much to flare, or pull back on the controls to slow, then stop, and descend to land. Pull too much, and the plane more »
Researchers are looking toward the animal and plant kingdoms, and coming up with ingenious ways to stop airframe icing
As the old saying goes, if folks were meant to fly, they would have been born with wings. I might add that if they had been intended to attempt flight through icing conditions, they would have been blessed with dimpled wings like the Namib desert beetle or coated with a slippery substance like the carnivorous more »
The airfoils and flight control surfaces of the future might be very different than what we’re used to. Think engines, lots of them, and bird wings.
If you’ve been around aviation for any length of time, you know a few stories about so-called revolutionary aircraft that sounded too good to be true. Turns out, most of the time, they are. So, stop me if you’ve heard the one about the airliner that cruises at 600 mph, but lands on a 3,000-foot runway. more »