A California driver managed to capture dashcam footage of an F-16 fighter jet pilot ejecting just moments before the plane crashes into a warehouse. One warehouse worker said he heard the deafening noise of the jet seconds before it smashed through the roof of the building near a Southern California air base. “Next thing I know I just hear this explosion and turn around to the back of the building, and I just seen a burst of flames and just the ceiling started falling through every part of the building. I turned around, and my co-worker just told me to get out, so I just made a run for it,” Daniel Gallegos told KABC-TV. Read more for the dashcam footage and additional information.
Soon, you’ll be able to summon a flying taxi straight from an app, thanks to Munich-based startup Lilium. It has just unveiled a prototype five-seater electric air taxi that is expected to be fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025. The battery-powered jet is capable of flying 186 miles in 60 minutes on a single charge, and connects cities through a network of landing pads. To book a ride, simply open the app and select the nearest landing pad. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
At first glance, the MD 969 Combat Helicopter looks like any other you’d see military forces using, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see that it comes equipped with a CLT (Common Launch Tube) system. This specially mounted array is located in the rear of the 969’s fuselage and consists of seven launch tubes that can be loaded with precision-strike missiles or even independently operating drones. Read more for a video and additional information.
DARPA’s ACE (Air Combat Evolution) program aims to find ways to teach machines to fly planes in dogfight scenarios, while also enabling human pilots to trust what the aircraft is doing. The ultimate goal is to have AI handle the minor fighting and let the human pilot focus on “the larger air battle.” ACE Air Force Lt. Col. Dan Javorsek says it could be possible for an AI to make split-second maneuvering during within-visual-range dogfights, while the pilot can be remotely flying a swarm of other unmanned aircraft operating in the area. Read more for another video and additional information.
BAE Systems’ MAGMA unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) recently completed a series of ground-breaking flight trials above the skies of north-west Wales, demonstrating two innovative flow control technologies that could revolutionize future aircraft design. Called “Flap-free flight,” this replaces moving surfaces with a simpler ‘blown air’ solution, which in turn improves an aircraft’s stealthiness as they reduce the number of gaps and edges that currently make them observable on radar. Read more for a video and additional information.
Stratolaunch, currently the world’s largest airplane, has successfully completed its first test flight on Saturday morning above California’s Mojave desert. Boasting a wingspan of 385 feet, it flew for 2½ hours at altitudes up to 17,000 feet, while hitting a top speed of 189 miles per hour. It comes equipped with two fuselages and six Boeing 747 engines that are designed to launch rockets from the air. That’s right, it can carry rockets up to 35,000 feet and then drop them. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Lockheed Martin has just released new pictures of its lunar lander concept that aims to take humans back to the Moon by 2024. The design features a lander section and then the ascent vehicle, which lift astronauts off the Moon’s surface. The lander may eventually travel back and forth between NASA’s proposed Gateway space station that will orbit the Moon. This means astronauts would first travel to Gateway and then take the lander from the lunar surface. Read more for another video and additional information.
Reaction Engines researchers have developed a ‘pre cooler’ that works at a simulated speed of 3.3 mach (2,500 mph) in hopes that their Synergetic Air Breathing Rocket Engine (Sabre) will eventually make it onto large aircraft, like the Skylon Spaceplane, to transport passengers around the world in hours. Future tests will see how it handles Mach 5.5 (4,200mph), and possibly one day soon, hit the proposed Mach 25 top speed, which means flights between London and New York that take under 1-hour. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
NASA and MIT researchers have developed a new metamaterial that could be used in futuristic shape-shifting airplane wings. It’s features a lightweight lattice framework that consists of of thousands of repeating, tiny triangles of struts wrapped in a thin polymer layer. When carefully positioned, these struts enable the wing to morph in response to changes in aerodynamic loading conditions, thus making the aircraft more energy efficient. Read more for another picture and additional information.
No, this isn’t a futuristic fighter jet, just th Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie, a stealthy unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) designed to be deployed by the United States Air Force (USAF). It recently completed its first maiden flight on March 5, 2019 at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Unlike other combat drones, the Valkyrie is equipped with stealth technology, including a trapezoidal fuselage with a chined edge, V-tail, and an S-shaped air intake. Read more to see it in-action and for additional information.