In its plan to advance cargo and passenger air transportation options, NASA has begun running test flights of air taxis. The space agency teamed up with electric aircraft company Joby Aviation to design and test the taxis, launching the debut partnership of its expansive Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign when the first flights took off yesterday from a base in California.
Boeing’s troubled 737 Max is reportedly close to a key round of test flights. Reuters and BBC News sources understand Boeing and the FAA are due to start a three-day set of flight safety tests for the airliner on June 29th. The aircraft crew will run a string of “methodically scripted” scenarios meant to push the (hopefully fixed) MCAS anti-stall technology to its limits, according to Reuters. Continue reading Boeing poised to start crucial 737 Max flight safety tests tomorrow
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.