As clean as electric aircraft can be, there’s still one kind of pollution they still produce: noise. Even that might go away before long, though. MIT researchers have successfully flown an ionic wind-powered aircraft that doesn’t use any moving parts. The 16-foot wide machine stays aloft by charging wires with a high enough voltage (40,000V) that they strip negatively-charged electrons from air molecules, which are promptly attracted to negative electrodes at the back of the aircraft. The collisions from that newly-formed ionic wind create the thrust needed to keep the vehicle airborne.
Nervous fliers, stop reading now.
The Department of Defense has accused China of hitting US military aircraft with blinding lasers. The laser beams, which allegedly came from China’s military base in the African nation of Djibouti, have been striking aircraft landing at the nearby US military base. Continue reading Pentagon Accuses China of Striking US Military Aircraft With Blinding Lasers
Airliners are growing ever bigger to haul more people per flight, which means they need appropriately massive engines — and GE Aviation is happy to oblige. It recently conducted the first test flight of the GE9X, widely billed as the world’s largest jet engine. It’s easy to believe the claim from a glimpse (it’s as wide as a Boeing 737), but the specs back it up as well: it has a whopping 11.2ft diameter front fan that, combined with carbon fiber blades, a next-gen high-pressure compressor and a new combustor, puts out over 100,000 pounds of thrust. For comparison, some of the earliest GE90 engines aboard Boeing 777s kicked out ‘just’ 74,000 pounds.
Don’t be surprised if you see a very large, very unusual drone flying through Nevada’s skies. The state’s Institute for Autonomous Systems has given China’s EHang permission to test fly its passenger-toting 184 dronelater this year. In addition to providing basic clearance, the move will also have the Institute create criteria that shows the airworthiness of the autonomous single-seater to the Federal Aviation Administration. It’s not certain just where the 184 will fly, although it’ll sometimes need restricted airspace. EHang won’t just be flying in the empty desert, then.
Since last Friday, search teams have been gathering debris from the crash site of Flight MS804. Now, an Egyptian forensics official has admitted that from what’s been recovered so far it seems likely there was an explosion aboard the airplane.
Here’s a British Airways Airbus A380 attempting to land at the Vancouver airport. You can see the world’s largest passenger airplane make its final approach and come so, so close to the ground—but then decide to abort and make a go-around instead. It’s crazy impressive to see such a big plane make a maneuver like this.