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Sikorsky flies coaxial-rotor X2 in secret

Sikorsky has flown its coaxial-rotor X2 Technology demonstrator, in secret. To keep the private-venture project out of the public eye, the company took the unusual step of flying the small helicopter indoors. But in a blow for Sikorsky security, clandestine video of the secret first flight has been posted on youtube. From the video, it’s […]

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Must fly, here’s my car…

Every year, around this time, someone somewhere says: “Another year gone and still no flying cars.” This time it was a comic strip in Sunday’s Washington Post. After all this time, it seems having an aeroplane in every garage is still a yardstick of technological progress. And it remains an unfulfilled dream. There have been […]

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Welcome to the dawn of the age of electricity

Electricity was discovered and harnessed over 200 years ago, but for most of its 100-plus years powered flight has relied on hydrocarbon energy and hydraulic force. That is changing, fast. Aircraft designers recognise the benefits of an all-electric systems architecture. No more pipes and pumps, filters and vales, regulators and reservoirs, and the ability to […]

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Boeing applies to patent a ducted, er, open rotor

Okay, “open rotor” I understand. But “ducted open rotor”, what’s with that? Better ask Boeing. Its name is on the recent patent application my colleague Steve Trimble came across when browsing the US patent office website. And it actually is for an open rotor with a duct around it…. The patent application talks about “an […]

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Could the iPhone ever go to war?

So why can’t we just equip the military with Apple iPhones and save a lot of time and money networking our armed forces? Apparently those developing the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS, or “Jitters”) get asked that a lot when folks see the billions of dollars and the years it will take to equip the […]

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NASA’s long look into the future of civil aviation

We are all wondering what the next Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies will look like, but NASA is already looking beyond that – waaaay beyond that, to airliners that could enter service in 2030-35. The agency is holding a pre-proposal conference in Washington DC on 29 November as a precursor to inviting bids for advanced concept […]

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Clean, quick and composite – Europe’s R&D targets

The European Commission has unveiled the first tranche of aeronautics research projects to be funded under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). No real surprises among them: there is a big emphasis on reducing the environmental impact of air transport and advancing the use of composites in aircraft. Leading the list of oh-so-European-sounding projects are: MAAXIMUS, […]

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NetJets sponsors new fuel to reduce emissions

NetJets – the world’s largest fractional-ownership operator, with a fleet of almost 700 aircraft making it larger than most airlines – has announced an initiative to reduce its emissions. It includes sponsoring efforts to develop an ultra-low-emission jet fuel – the Next Generation Jet Fuel Project – at Princeton University and the University of California, […]

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PDEs to nanotech – inside GE’s Global Research Center

Pulse detonation engines, active flow control, nano-engineered materials and open rotor noise reduction were among the technologies on show when I toured General Electric’s Global Research Center in upstate New York this week. You can see some of the technologies in action at the research centre’s blog, From Edison’s Desk, at www.grcblog.com. (Thomas Edison’s actual […]

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The next big thing – power-by-algae

Here’s one to watch. DARPA’s BioFuels programme is seen as the strongest candidate to produce an economically viable process for turning biomass into a jet fuel equivalent to everyday JP-8 or Jet-A1, with a net reduction in carbon dioxide production. DoD pushes to reduce its dependence on oil (USAF photo)

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