Airbus announced today that its A380 superjumbo is out of production, with the last of the deliveries occurring in 2021, after its main customer, Emirates, agreed to drop an order for 39 of the planes. The company will build 17 more A380s until the production line closes; 14 for Emirates and three for All Nippon Airways, taking the total number of expected deliveries of the aircraft type to 251. The $445 million price tag of each aircraft was not enough to cover the production cost, so with Airbus losing money on each A380 and orders evaporating, it made economic sense to shut down production. Read more for a Singapore Airlines A380 first class suite tour and additional information.
Photo credit: Colin Murray
Residents of Vancouver Island were surprised to see fallstreak hole, also known as a hole-punch cloud, early Monday morning, and some had their cameras out ready to capture this phenomenon. The U.S. National Weather Service says these form when “high to mid-level clouds, such as altocumulus, composed of tiny water droplets that are much colder than freezing, but have yet to freeze.” These large numbers of tiny ice crystals, which could be formed by passing aircraft, introduced in the cloud layer sets off a domino effect of fusion, thus creating the hole. Read more for additional pictures and information.
Boeing aims to take on rival Airbus SE and numerous other companies developing small self-flying vehicles capable of vertical takeoff and landing with their own autonomous Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV). Measuring 30-feett-long, this aircraft is part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing plane. It successfully lifted a few feet off the ground and made a soft landing after going airborne on Tuesday at an airport in Manassas, Virginia. “This is what revolution looks like, and it’s because of autonomy,” said John Langford, president and chief executive officer of Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences in a news release. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Gravity Industries CEO Richard Browning tackles a Royal Marine assault course in a jet suit that he invented, thus earning him the nickname of “real-life Iron Man”. He managed to fly the 1,000 brake horsepower suit around the bottom field assault course at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon. “Royal Marines are sometimes called ‘supermen’ for their achievements, but even we stop short at the ability to fly. Watching Richard float, fly and hover around the assault course was a very impressive, surreal experience,” said Royal Marines Captain Oliver Mason. Read more for two more videos about the jet suit and additional information.
Jetpack Aviation (JPA) is one step closer to launching the world’s first jetpack racing series, as it has just completed a dual jetpack race with two brave pilots maneuvering the jet-powered machines capable of flying untethered above the ground at speeds up to 200 mph (320 km/h) and altitudes theoretically as high as 18,000 feet. CEO David Mayman and test pilot Boris Jarry can be seen soaring and hovering over a lake in Southern California, flying side by side and. “We did many runs up and down the lake, with the pilots slowly getting closer and closer together on each run, and found that they could fly within inches of each other when on the same level,” said Mayman. Read more for another video and additional information.
Photo credit: The Drive
You’ve probably seen, or at least heard of, the ICON A5, but it’s currently the closest thing to a flying car that has actually hit the roads, waters, and skies. This high-wing, flying boat-type amphibious monoplane boasts a carbon fiber airframe and retractable undercarriage with seating for two people in an enclosed 46-inch-wide cockpit. It’s powered by a single 100 hp Rotax 912 iS engine driving a three-bladed pusher propeller, while Dornier-style sponsons provide hydrodynamic stability and also house the retracted main landing gear. Read more for another video, additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: Twiste Sifter
The origin of folded paper airplanes is generally considered to be of Ancient China, since manufacture of paper on a widespread scale took place there during 500 BCE, and origami as well as paper folding became popular within a century of this period – approximately 460-390 BCE. The most significant use of paper models in aircraft designs were by the Wright brothers between 1899 and 1903, the date of the first powered flight from Kill Devil Hills, by the Wright Flyer. The brothers used a wind tunnel to gain knowledge of the forces which could be used to control an aircraft in flight. Read more to see a massive 122-inch paper airplane being flown.
Retired F1 and Indycar driver Tarso Marques wanted to create a custom motorcycle unlike any other, so the TMC Dumont was what he came up with. Featuring hubless wheels and most impressive of all, a 300 horsepower Rolls-Royce Continental aircraft engine, which transforms it into a rolling work of art, complete with 36-inch chrome wheels. This entire project took Marques about seven months to complete at his shop in Brazil. Read more to see in-action and for additional pictures.
Matt Chasen, founder of uShip, has unveiled his new project, LIFT Aircraft’s Hexa, an electric, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that anyone will be able to rent and experience. It resembles a large drone with 18 sets of propellers, motors and batteries, with just one seat for the pilot. Since this weighs in at just 432 lbs, it qualifies as a Powered Ultralight by the FAA so no pilot’s license is required to fly. Electric multirotor aircraft fly using distributed electric propulsion (DEP), which allows an aircraft to be controlled simply by varying the speed of multiple electric motors, accomplished by flight control computers. Unlike traditional helicopters, Hexa can even fly with up to six of its eighteen motors out, has a ballistic parachute that autonomously deploys in the event of an emergency, complete with 5 floats to safely land on water, and can be controlled remotely by LIFT trained safety pilots in the event of an emergency. Read more for additional images from around the web.
Aeromexico is currently investigating whether a drone slammed into one of its Boeing 737 jetliners as the aircraft approached its destination Wednesday in Tijuana, Mexico, as images shared on social media showed considerable damage to the nose of the aircraft. Crew members we heard saying they heard a “pretty loud bang” shortly before landing and asked control to check if the nose was damaged on Flight 773 from Guadalajara. “The exact cause is still being investigated. The aircraft landed normally and the passengers’ safety was never compromised,” said Grupo Aeromexico. Read more for two additional photos of the damage.