Archive | Aviation

Scientists Study Ash of Iceland Eruption

LONDON, Sept. 28 (UPI) — British researchers say their study of ash from the eruption of an Iceland volcano will yield clues to how the material spreads in the atmosphere.

Atmospheric ash from the eruption of the volcano in March caused chaos, shutting down large areas of European air space and disrupting air travel, the BBC reported.

Samples of ash retrieved from U.K. soil after the eruption came in a vast array of shapes and sizes, Susan Loughlin, head of volcanology at the British Geological Survey, said.

Some of the individual grains of ash retrieved are less than one micron in diameter, while some of the clumps of ash are as large as 200 microns, about twice the width of a human hair, she said.

The samples gathered in the United Kingdom will be compared with those recovered in Iceland to determine how the plume formed into aggregates and fell to ground.

The plume made its way to Britain over the course of some 12 hours.

Understanding how quickly aggregation occurred and how much fine ash remained in the sky will prove vital, Loughlin said.

“What we want to know is how much ash is left up in the plume because that’s what the civil aviation authorities are interested in.

“What we need to understand is how that plume evolves through time and how that fine ash is removed from the air,” she said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Other0 Comments

Flapping-wing Aircraft Successfully Flies

TORONTO, Sept. 22 (UPI) — A Canadian-made, human-powered aircraft with flapping wings made history by becoming the first craft of its kind to stay aloft continuously, its builders say.

The University of Toronto’s human-powered ornithopter “Snowbird” flew Aug. 2 in Tottenham, Ontario, witnessed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the world-governing body for air sports and aeronautical world records, a university release said.

An aircraft that could fly by mimicking the flapping of birds’ wings has been the dream of engineers since Leonardo da Vinci sketched the first human-powered ornithopter in 1485.

Under the power and piloting of Todd Reichert, an engineering doctoral candidate at the university’s Institute for Aerospace Studies, the wing-flapping Snowbird sustained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, and covered a distance of 158 yards at an average speed of 16 miles per hour.

“The Snowbird represents the completion of an age-old aeronautical dream,” Reichert said.

“Throughout history, countless men and women have dreamt of flying like a bird under their own power, and hundreds, if not thousands have attempted to achieve it.

“This represents one of the last of the aviation firsts.”

The Snowbird has a wing span of 105 feet, comparable to that of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than all the pillows on an airliner — just 94 pounds.

And Reichert lost 18 pounds of body weight over the summer to prepare for flying the aircraft.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Birds, Engineering, Other0 Comments

Study: Flying Safety Varies by Development

HANOVER, Md., Sept. 1 (UPI) — Airline passengers flying in developing countries face 13 times the risk of being killed in crashes as passengers in the developed world, a researcher says.

And while more economically advanced countries in the developing world have better overall safety records than the others, even their death risk per flight is seven times as high as that in developed countries, an article in the journal Transportation Science says.

Worldwide air-safety data from 2000 to 2007 shows the chance of dying on a scheduled flight in a developed nation like the United States, Japan or Ireland was 1 in 14 million, said Arnold Barnett, a professor of operations research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management and a long-term researcher on aviation safety.

On the airlines of economically advancing countries in the developing world such as Taiwan, India and Brazil, the death risk per flight was 1 in 2 million.

And in less economically advanced developing world countries, the death risk per flight was 1 in 800,000, Barnett said.

But with major advances in safety in the last decade, the distinction is “between safe and very safe, and not between safe and dangerous,” Barnett said.

While the study ends in 2007, the patterns it depicts continue to persist, Barnett said.

So far in 2010, there have been eight fatal accidents on scheduled passenger flights. All eight occurred in the developing world.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Other, Transportation0 Comments

Space Tourist Launch Plane Damaged

MOJAVE, Calif., Aug. 20 (UPI) — The mother ship jet designed to launch suborbital space tourist flights was damaged upon landing in California when a landing gear collapsed, officials said.

Officials with Scaled Composites, the Mojave, Calif., company that built the twin-fuselage carrier plane, said a mechanical problem with the left main landing gear on the Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo jet caused the “minor incident,” SPACE.com reported Friday.

Inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the plane after the Thursday landing in which no injuries were reported.

“Two FAA inspectors were on scene to examine the aircraft,” Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA, said. “The left main landing gear was damaged. This appears at this time to be an incident and not an accident.”

The runway incident did not involve Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, the suborbital passenger-carrying spacecraft that will be carried into launch position at about 50,000 feet by WhiteKnightTwo.

The landing came at the end of the plane’s 37th test flight.

WhiteKnightTwo has been flying since December 2008.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Other0 Comments

Seattle Museum Campaigns for Space Shuttle

SEATTLE, Aug. 11 (UPI) — An aviation museum in Seattle wants one of the iconic space shuttles when NASA retires the three-orbiter fleet — and says it will have the space for it.

The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field is one of about 20 museums in the country competing for one of the three space shuttles scheduled to be retired by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as soon as next year, The (Olympia, Wash.) Olympian reported Wednesday.

It is not clear what selection criteria NASA will use to select permanent homes for the space shuttles but the Museum of Flight says it meets all the requirements outlined to date.

As an example, the museum says, NASA officials say candidates must have a covered structure in place by July 2011 to house a space shuttle — and the museum is breaking ground this month for its 15,500-square-foot Space Gallery.

Museum officials say they have secured $11 million of the $12 million needed for the museum expansion.

If the museum isn’t awarded a shuttle, it says, the exhibit space will still be put to good use, housing a full fuselage shuttle training module donated by NASA along with a number of other artifacts from the space program.

“We will have an exhibit plan, even if the shuttle isn’t there,” museum Executive Director Bonnie Dunbar, a former Rockwell engineer and astronaut who flew five space shuttle missions, said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Museums, Other0 Comments

Supersonic Air Travel May Come Back

RENO, Nev., July 23 (UPI) — Supersonic air travel, halted in 2003 with the retirement of trans-Atlantic Concorde service, may be coming back, one U.S. aerospace company says.

The Aerion Supersonic Business Jet will carry a dozen passengers at a speed of Mach 1.5 — about 1,100 miles an hour — for 4,000 miles, Aerion Corp., which has headquarters in Reno, Nev., said on its Web site.

Named for a fleet-of-foot horse in Greek mythology, the design has undergone proof-of-concept aerodynamic testing in supersonic wind tunnels, the company says.

The Aerion SBJ will fly from Paris to New York in 4 hours, 14 minutes, the company said, about 3 hours quicker than conventional jets.

Aerion hopes to have its design certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and in the air by 2015.

The company says it has more than 50 orders for the $80 million jet.

Air travel took a step backward with the retirement of the Concorde, the company says, and it wants to change that.

“The fastest commercial aircraft we ever had are in a museum,” Aerion Vice Chairman Brian Barents says. “That’s not progress.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Other0 Comments

Study to Look at Disease Spread on Planes

AUBURN, Ala., June 9 (UPI) — Researchers at an Alabama university have received federal funding for a study of whether diseases spread in airline cabins.

Tony Overfelt, executive director of the Airliner Cabin Environment Research Center and a professor of mechanical engineering at Auburn University, and James Barbaree, an Auburn biologist, will carry out the study, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The research is being funded with $300,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Overfelt said many passengers believe they picked up diseases, especially colds, while flying, a concern that has become sharper with the advent of the new strains of influenza and respiratory diseases like SARS. The concern needs to be “thoroughly investigated,” he said.

The Auburn team will be sharing data with researchers at Purdue, Kansas State and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Engineering, Other0 Comments

NASA and Hawaii Partner on Space Science

HONOLULU, April 14 (UPI) — NASA says it has entered into a partnership with Hawaii for a variety of activities involving various space science projects.

Officials said the projects will include small satellite development, advanced aviation, space exploration, education and science.

The three-year Space Act Agreement was signed during a ceremony in Honolulu by the director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, S. Pete Worden and Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.

“NASA and Hawaii have collaborated in space exploration since the early years of our space program when Apollo astronauts trained for their missions on the lunar-like volcanic terrain on the Big Island of Hawaii,” Worden said. “With this agreement, we look forward to extending that partnership even further as we continue to explore and expand into space.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Education, Other0 Comments

NASA and Hawaii Partner on Space Science

HONOLULU, April 14 (UPI) — NASA says it has entered into a partnership with Hawaii for a variety of activities involving various space science projects.

Officials said the projects will include small satellite development, advanced aviation, space exploration, education and science.

The three-year Space Act Agreement was signed during a ceremony in Honolulu by the director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, S. Pete Worden, and Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle.

“NASA and Hawaii have collaborated in space exploration since the early years of our space program when Apollo astronauts trained for their missions on the lunar-like volcanic terrain on the Big Island of Hawaii,” Worden said. “With this agreement, we look forward to extending that partnership even further as we continue to explore and expand into space.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Education, Other0 Comments

NASA Tests Mars Landing Radar System

PASADENA, Calif., April 13 (UPI) — NASA engineers say they have started testing a radar system that will be used during the next landing on Mars of a U.S spacecraft.

The tests, recently conducted near Lancaster, Calif., involved a helicopter carrying an engineering test model of the landing radar for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory. It tested the system on various descent paths at different angles and from different heights.

The Mars Science Laboratory mission, managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is in its assembly and testing phase, in advance of a planned launch late next year. It will deliver a rover named Curiosity to Mars during the summer 2012.

“During the final stage of the spacecraft’s arrival at Mars in 2012, a rocket-powered descent stage will lower the rover on a tether directly to the ground,” NASA said in a statement. “This rover is too big for the airbag-cushioned landing method used by NASA’s Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997 and Mars Exploration Rover landings in 2004.

“At Mars, a radar on the descent stage will track the spacecraft’s decreasing distance from the surface. Additional helicopter-flown testing of the mission’s radar system will include checks of whether the suspended rover might confuse the radar about the speed of descent toward the ground.”

Wolfe Air Aviation, of Pasadena, Calif., is providing the helicopter and flight services for the testing by a team of JPL engineers.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Engineering, Other0 Comments

No Posts in Category
Advertisement