The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) awarded Boeing a $30.6 million contract to develop an airborne satellite launch vehicle the company has designed to attach to an F-15E Strike Eagle. The aim of Darpa’s Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program is to reduce the cost of routinely launching microsatellites into space.
In what the organizers claim is a first, an aircraft–in this case a chartered Dassault Falcon 900B carrying 12 photographers and amateur astronomers on November 3–was used to intercept an extremely short total solar eclipse with a “perpendicular crossing” of the eclipse path. While aircraft have previously been used to capture solar eclipses, they flew with the eclipse path and waited for the shadow to catch up with the airplane.
Fifty years ago, on Sept. 14, 1963, a pair of test pilots for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries pushed the power levers forward and a uniquely designed twin-engine turboprop raced down the runway then lifted into the sky. Powered by two Turbomeca Astazou turboshafts, the XMU-2, as the prototype was named, spawned the production version Garrett 331-powered MU-2 family, of which about 290 are still successfully flying worldwide.
LH Aviation’s LH-10 Ellipse light aircraft is no stranger to the Paris Air Show, and an example is flying in the display here this week. Another Rotax 912ULS-powered LH-10 is being shown at the company’s stand (outdoor area B57) in an armed ISR configuration, complete with TDA’s new RPM laser-guided 68mm rockets in two-round launchers.
On its way to Shanghai, the Pilatus PC-12NG on static display this week at ABACE stopped in Shangri-La for a demonstration of the airplane’s high-altitude capabilities. When the turboprop single took off from Shangri-La Airport in Diqing (elevation 10,787 feet), it had a payload of 2,200 pounds. Included in this payload were six people, including two from the Chinese CAAC (aviation authority), a Chinese navigator and the pilot. The aircraft reportedly used only one third of the airport’s runway before lifting off.
On its way to Shanghai, the Pilatus PC-12NG here on the ABACE static display stopped in Shangri-La (Tibet) for a demonstration of the airplane’s high-altitude capabilities. When the turboprop single took off from Shangri-La Diqing Airport–elevation of 3,288 meters (10,787 feet)–it had a payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds). Included in this payload were six passengers (two from the CAAC), one Chinese navigator and the pilot. The aircraft reportedly needed only one third of the airport’s runway before lifting off the ground.
Canadian MRO, completions and refurbishment specialist Flying Colours is rapidly expanding its presence in the Asian market.
Since the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) last year, the company has delivered four Challenger 850 cabin completions in the Chinese market and has another five 850s in the pipeline, scheduled for delivery over the next year.
While regular helicopter pilot training in day-to-day operations is always beneficial, such training is not always safe when conducted in the air. FlightSafety International’s Dallas Learning Center recently offered AIN reporter Mark Huber a look at the vast range of scenario-based training flights available with Vital X graphics and five-projector technology now available on the EC135 that the simulator emulates.
At the NBAA Convention last month, Greenwich AeroGroup of Wichita offered live demonstrations of the Iridium OpenPort Aero, described as “the only aviation broadband solution that works everywhere in the world, including remote, oceanic and polar regions,” using Iridium’s worldwide satellite network.
The science-fiction pundits were wrong. The future of space travel doesn’t look like a Buck Rogers-style rocket poised to roar straight up into the twinkling heavens from a tinkerer’s backyard. What space travel will look like, according to a company called Stratolaunch Systems−which includes board member and backyard tinkerer Burt Rutan−is kind of unsurprising, more airplane-like, although no less fantastical.
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