Flexible Nimrod

It appears the mighty Nimrod is well ahead of the field, despite its age, and needs no modification programme. According to recent reports, a secret tiltrotor derivative has already entered service and is saving lives:

"The men, who were dressed in survival suits and prepared to take to the water if necessary, were winched to safety by an RAF Nimrod."

(From BBC Scotland, spotted by nephew Colin Winter)

Drones R'Us

Bruce Strewth and Monty Orangeball report from the Really Huge Model Planes show in Disneyland.

Monty: "Can you give us an update on what's happening with the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance UAV Programme?"

Bill Bams: "Well how can I put it? The timetable is rather fluid right now."

Monty: "You mean it's..."

Bams: "Yes. I'm afraid it is all at sea."

Gen Strike on the US Marine Corps maintenance "tool of choice" for the Dragon Eye mini-UAV: "Duct tape".

Delegates to the UAV show were puzzled to be sharing the convention halls with the annual meeting of the American Phytopathogen Association. Officials from both are rumoured to have later held talks on future collaboration under the new theme: platforms and payloads - one stop shopping forbiological warfare.

To make its presence felt, a certain major US aerospace company with a growing expertise in UAVs decided to erect the mother of all stands at the convention. The muttering complaint of some competitors was heard as they scuttled to and from their stands, which lay in the shadow of the "Great Wall of Grumman".

X-Prize heats up

As the clock ticks down towards the long-awaited first attempts at the X-Prize, it seems some of the more enterprising entrepreneurs are cashing in on the merchandising potential of the race to space. To those familiar with the contestants, the Da Vinci Project is the Canadian X-Prize contender. Imagine the shock, therefore, when Budgie News's very own space specialist Jodrell Blank checked the results of his internet search engine to find an entirely unexpected result to a "Da Vinci rocket" query. "Da Vinci Blast Off Thong. This lil' number is guaranteed to get his...(Budgie News cyberwatch editor here: all you need to know is that the edited out section contains various comments about rockets being launched into the air, etc. I mean what's wrong with real rockets? Why do people always have to poke fun at those of us who still have the "can do spirit"?) ...er that's enough about rockets and thongs. Ed.

Source: Flight International