Articles about aviation

airplane autopilot

Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

The days of listening to the captain speaking on a flight may be numbered, according to Boeing. The aerospace giant has been actively working on pilotless technology and has already built an automatic take-off and landing system into its newest model, the 787 Dreamliner. The industry is also facing a severe shortage of pilots …
Iain Thomson, 9 Jun 2017
Snakes on a Plane, kind of

NASA brainboxes work on algorithms for 'safe' self-flying aircraft

It's the fear of anyone who watches Snakes on a Plane and books a flight – what if your plane crashes? Now take a deep breath and imagine that you're travelling on a plane or rocketship with no pilot. A new NASA research project hopes to find ways to certify unmanned autonomous aircraft systems for safety. The easy part, says …
Andrew Silver, 5 Jun 2017
Aurora Flight Sciences' ALIAS robot in a simulated 737 cockpit

Robot lands a 737 by hand, on a dare from DARPA

An outfit called Aurora Flight Sciences is trumpeting the fact that one of its robots has successfully landed a simulated Boeing 737. Aviation-savvy readers may well shrug upon learning that news, because robots – or at least auto-landing systems - land planes all the time and have done so for decades. Aurora's excitement is …
Simon Sharwood, 17 May 2017
China's first large passenger jet, the C919, starts its takeoff roll on its maiden flight

China's first large passenger jet makes maiden flight

China's first large passenger jet has successfully taken to the skies and then landed again. Just after 06:00 GMT, the first C919 rolled down and off a runway at Shanghai Pudong airport, to the sounds of applause of onlookers and plenty of senior officials who showed up to celebrate a milestone for Chinese industry.It touched …
Boeing 737 Max

Boeing 737 turns 50

Boeing's 737, the world's most common airliner, turned 50 over the weekend: the single-aisle workhorse first took to the skies on April 9th, 1967. The first versions of the plane were feeble by today's standards: the 737 100 “boasted” a range of just 1,150 miles (1,850km) and offering just 107 seats. Both of those features …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2017

Boeing-backed US upstart reckons it'll be building electric airliners

A naïve American startup run by "dreamers" claims that its electrically powered airliner concept will magically sweep away all of the world's existing problems with air travel. Zunum Aero, based in Washington state, wants to build a fleet of what it calls hybrid electric jets for service on short and medium-haul airline routes …
Airbus A350-1000

Aviation regulator flies in face of UK.gov ban, says electronics should be stowed in cabin. Duh

Europe's aviation regulator has warned that electronic devices should not be stowed in an aircraft's cargo hold, advice that contradicts the recent ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on certain flights by UK authorities. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a reminder to airlines that devices containing …
Kat Hall, 6 Apr 2017
The first A319 takes to the skies

Boeing and Airbus fly new planes for first time

Airbus and Boeing have both debuted new commercial jets. Boeing's 787-10 took to the skies over South Carolina last Friday and spent four hours and fifty eight minutes strutting its stuff. The 787-10 is the biggest variant of the 787, also known as the “Dreamliner”. The plane boasts the same 60m wingspan and 574cm cross- …

Did your in-flight entertainment widget suck? It's Panasonic's fault, claims software biz

Panasonic has been hit with a lawsuit accusing the electronics giant of monopolizing the market for in-flight entertainment (IFE) devices with a series of dirty tricks. Software maker CoKinetic says that Panasonic Avionics has been illegally rigging their in-flight entertainment hardware not to work with software provided by …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Mar 2017
Concorde at Aerospace Bristol museum

Last Concorde completes last journey, at maybe Mach 0.02

VID The last Concorde to take to the skies, G-BOAF (216), has come to a stop for the final time in the soon-to-open Aerospace Bristol museum. The supersonic passenger plane first flew on 20 April 1979 and touched down for the last time on 26 November 2003. The plane was the last Concorde to roll off the production line and the …
Boeing 747 lands at dusk. Photo via Shutterstock

Boeing's 747 to fly off the production line for the foreseeable future

Boeing's iconic 747 looks safe for a few years yet, thanks in part to the internet. Last year Boeing warned that slow sales and unsold aircraft meant it was “reasonably possible that we could decide to end production of the 747”, a foreshadowing that saddened aviation enthusiasts who honour the aircraft's role as a harbinger …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jan 2017

Flight 666 lands safely in HEL on Friday the 13th

Finnish flag carrier Finnair has successfully flown the devil to hell on Friday the 13th. Finnair flies a daily AY666 service from Copenhagen to Helsinki and operated the flight as usual last week, on Friday, January 13th, 2017. But sharp-eyed aerosexuals noticed that the plane departed gate 13 at Københavns Lufthavn, Kastrup …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jan 2017

Europe trials air-traffic-control-over-IP-and-satellite

The European Space Agency has successfully trialled its air-traffic-control-over-IP-and-satellite plan that it is hoped will one day reduce the amount of spoken instructions delivered to aircraft. Known as IRIS, the project proposes real-time “4D” tracking aircraft that will record latitude, longitude, altitude and time. Such …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016
The area recommended as a new search zone in the hunt for MH370

MH370 hunters call for new search of extra 25,000km2

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is in charge of the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, has recommended an extra 25,000km2of the Indian Ocean be searched in an effort to find the plane. The new recommendation emerged today in the MH370: First Principles Review report that chronicles an early …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Dec 2016

New Euro-net will let you stream Snakes on a Plane on a *!#@ plane

Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom, Nokia and Thales say they have successfully conducted tests of a network capable of delivering in-flight broadband across all 28 (current) European Union nations. The European Aviation Network (EAN) will blend S-Band satellite coverage provided by Inmarsat with 300 LTE ground stations scattered …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Nov 2016
Airbus A350-1000

Airbus flies new plane for the first time

Airbus has successfully flown a new commercial jet model, with the first A350-1000 taking to the skies over Toulouse on Thursday. The A350-1000 is the new member of the A350 program, Airbus' attempt to offer a long-haul twin-engine jet a little larger and rather more modern than its A330 range, and also cheaper to operate than …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Nov 2016
Plane. Image via shutterstock

Melbourne man arrested for broadcasting fake messages to pilots

Melbourne man Paul Sant has been charged with unauthorised broadcasting over to pilots over radio bands restricted to aviation users, causing one plane to abort a landing to Tullamarine Airport. Sant, 19, is alleged to have placed 16 separate transmissions to pilots at Tullamarine and Avalon airports between 5 September and 3 …
Darren Pauli, 24 Nov 2016
World's shortest international flight

World's shortest international flight: now just 21km in 7 minutes

Austrian airline People's Viennaline this week started flying the world's shortest international flight: a 21km hop from the Swiss town of St. Gallen to the German town of Friedrichshafen. The two towns are separated by Lake Constance and 66.1km of roads that Google tells us will take just 54 minutes to traverse. Along the …

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