The US Navy’s new pilotless tanker plane just refueled an aircraft carrier fighter jet for the first time, and this is what it looked like

An MQ-25 refuels an F/A-18. 


By Ryan Pickrell

  • A drone has refueled a US Navy fighter jet for the first time, the Navy said Monday.
  • Boeing’s MQ-25 provided refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet on Friday.
  • The drone will extend the reach of carrier-based fighters as the Navy changes the way it fights.

An unmanned tanker aircraft has successfully refueled a US Navy carrier-based fighter jet for the first time, the Navy announced Monday.

A Boeing MQ-25 Stingray test drone refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet on Friday near MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, demonstrating that the new unmanned aircraft “can fulfill its tanker mission,” the Navy said.

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United Airlines will buy 15 ultrafast airplanes from start-up Boom Supersonic

A rendering of a United Supersonic JetSource: United Airlines


Phil LeBeau
@LEBEAUCARNEWS

KEY POINTS

  • The carrier is buying 15 planes from Boom Supersonic with the option to purchase 35 more at some point.  
  • Boom’s first commercial supersonic jet, the Overture, has not been built or certified yet.
  • Boom is targeting the start of passenger service in 2029 with a plane that could fly at Mach 1.7 and cut some flight times in half.

United Airlines is planning to turn the friendly skies into the ultrafast skies with the addition of supersonic jets.

The carrier announced Thursday it’s buying 15 planes from Boom Supersonic with the option to purchase 35 more at some point.  

Boom’s first commercial supersonic jet, the Overture, has not been built or certified yet. It is targeting the start of passenger service in 2029 with a plane that could fly at Mach 1.7 and cut some flight times in half. That means a flight from New York to London that typically lasts seven hours would only take 3½ hours.

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At 12 Times Faster Than Sound, World’s Fastest Passenger Plane Begins Model-Testing

By Anupama Ghosh

A US-based start-up is designing a hypersonic space plane that could enable people to travel anywhere around the world in just one hour.

Venus Aerospace, a hypersonic space plane start-up, will begin testing three scale models this summer, Bloomberg reported.

Travel on a space plane may seem like a regular airplane journey till the plane reaches cruising altitude. Once at that altitude, the pilot then enables the rocket boosters and the aircraft zooms to the edge of the space at a lightning speed of more than 9,000 mph or about 12 times the speed of sound.

This is the speed that the plane maintains for the next 15 minutes. Soaring through the atmosphere again, the plane slows down, cruises back to the earth, and lands at its destination airport.

In all probability, the hypersonic space plane to be developed by Venus Aerospace will complete these functions in one hour.

Based in the US, Venus Aerospace was founded by the Duggleby couple, Sarah and Andrew Duggleby in 2020. Sarah worked as a code-writing launch engineer at the Virgin Orbit, while Andrew handled the launch, payload, and propulsion operations at the same organization.

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World’s First Electric Luxury Commuter Plane Alice Aims to Reinvent Air Mobility

By Elena Gorgan

The electric revolution is slow in coming to the automotive industry, but that’s nothing compared to the snail-like crawl it’s displaying in aviation. Alice wants to change all that and, in the process, shake up the game.

Alice is dubbed the world’s first electric luxury commuter airplane. It’s the first aircraft from Israeli-American company Eviation, and it comes with an estimated delivery date for 2024. This year, Eviation hopes to take Alice on its first test flights ahead of a 2023 certification. 

Alice has been around for years, in one form or another, and it’s one of those few projects of this type that are both instantly memorable and extremely promising. It’s a proper passenger plane, so not an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft), and it’s meant for commuting across short distances. It’s also very luxurious and quite beautiful. 

First announced in 2017, Alice is now officially gearing up to take to the skies. A prototype was developed and unveiled in 2019, but it burned down in a fire in 2020. A static model was presented at the Paris Air Show and, had it not been for the health crisis of 2020, Alice would have started test flights. Not that 2020 was able to put a damper on its progress: Eviation has been working hard to advance the project and, at the same time, keep investors and potential customers in the loop.

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World’s First Electric Seaglider Will Cruise the Seas at 180 MPH

By Cristina Mircea

Regent plans to take the seas by storm and revolutionize maritime transportation with a new concept of electric vehicle that’s part aircraft, part boat.

The Seaglider is Regent’s new project that promises to combine the technology, speed, and comfort of an aircraft with the convenience and affordability of a boat, as stated in a recent press release (attached below the article). This hybrid vehicle will be an all-electric flying machine capable of reaching speeds of 180 mph (approximately 290 kph). It will be suitable for both passenger transportation and cargo.

The Seaglider will use the wing-in-ground effect and fly at low altitudes, staying within one wingspan of the surface of the water. It will have double the range of an electric aircraft, promising to cover 180 miles (290 km) at the aforementioned speed, with the existing battery technology. But Regent hopes routes will extend to up to 500 miles (805 km), with next-gen batteries.

Also, with the Seaglider being fully electric, it means it will also be a clean, zero-emissions vehicle.

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World’s Largest Airplane Successfully Conducts Second Flight; Edges Closer to Space Vehicle Usage

Stratolaunch, the world’s largest airplane.

By IANS

In 1941, the US government hired billionaire entrepreneur Howard Hughes to build a massive airplane to take some 700 American soldiers into combat. Hughes’ legendary “Spruce Goose” had a wingspan of 97.5 metres.

Last week, 80 years later, an even bigger aircraft, the “Stratolaunch,” took to the skies over southern California’s Mojave Desert, in a second successful test flight that awed onlookers marvelling at its wingspan of 117.3 metres and six Boeing engines that roared in synchronicity, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

The second successful test flight lasted 2.5 hours and the vehicle reached an altitude of 14,000-feet.

This massive aircraft, resembling two giant Boeing jets flying side-by-side, will not be transporting troops. Its use will be to launch rockets and space vehicles from high atmospheric locations, into the stars.

“Stratolaunch is advancing our nation’s ability to be a worldwide leader in the hypersonic market,” Stratolaunch Systems Chief Technology Officer Daniel R. Millman said in a statement.

“Our flight today gets us another step closer to our promise of delivering the world’s premier hypersonic flight test service.”

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Swiss robots use UV light to zap viruses aboard passenger planes

A robot developed by Swiss company UVeya armed with virus-killing ultraviolet light is seen aboard an airplane at Zurich Airport

By Arnd Wiegmann and John Miller

SWISS ROBOTS USE UV LIGHT TO ZAP VIRUSES ABOARD PASSENGER PLANES.

ZURICH (Reuters) – A robot armed with virus-killing ultraviolet light is being tested on Swiss airplanes, yet another idea aiming to restore passenger confidence and spare the travel industry more pandemic pain.

UVeya, a Swiss start-up, is conducting the trials of the robots with Dubai-based airport services company Dnata inside Embraer jets from Helvetic Airways, a charter airline owned by Swiss billionaire Martin Ebner.

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Rolls-Royce Gets Into the eVTOL Game, Will Power Vertical Aerospace Machines

By Daniel Patrascu

When the words Rolls-Royce come up, the mind immediately links them to the British maker of luxury automobiles for some reason. But the same name has been behind some of the aviation industry’s biggest advancements over the decades, and it will probably continue to do so in the years ahead. The same name, but not the same company, as Rolls-Royce keeps reminding people.

It is Rolls-Royce Holdings plc, an aerospace and defense company we’re here to talk about today. Together with Vertical Aerospace, also a British company, they’re on the verge of developing one of the world’s first certified passenger carrying eVTOLs.

eVTOL stands for electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle, and according to some people, this will be one of the main means of transportation in the near future. VA-4X is how Vertical’s upcoming flying machine is called, a flying contraption equipped with no less than eight propellers.

Vertical plans to take the VA-4X to the skies for the first time by the end of the year and targets the start of production in 2024. When ready, the machine will be capable of taking up to four people on 120-mile (193-km) journeys at speeds of up to 200 mph (322 kph).

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Dutch Students Just Unveiled the World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft

Courtesy AeroDelft

By DANIEL BACHMANN

“Phoenix PT,” scheduled to fly next summer, is a prototype of a full-scale, two-passenger aircraft that will make its first flight in 2022.

While hydrogen-powered aircraft have been viewed with skepticism by many mainstream aviation experts, a team of students in the Netherlands plans to fly the world’s first aircraft with liquid-hydrogen fuel cells in July. The students from Delft University of Technology, calling themselves the AeroDelft team, just revealed a prototype called Phoenix PT.

Delft University also achieved another milestone last September, successfully demonstrating a prototype of the Flying V, a blended-wing design that promises to be much more fuel-efficient than traditional commercial aircraft.

AeroDelft just announced that it recently completed the ground tests for the crew-less Phoenix PT, which weighs about 113 pounds. It will carry two pounds of liquid hydrogen for its maiden flight. AeroDelft calculates Phoenix PT will have a range of 311 miles and flight time of up to seven hours.

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NASA’s Experimental Electric Airplane Edges Closer to Its First Flight

Concept art of the electric, 14-motor X-57 Maxwell in flight.


By Isaac Schultz

Looking every bit like a winged tube of toothpaste, NASA’s X-57 Maxwell experimental plane sits in a hangar at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The is NASA’s first crewed experimental plane in 20 years; it runs solely on electric power, an agency first, and it’s about to undergo high-voltage functional testing in advance of its first flight, scheduled for later this year.

“Currently, we have a battery emulator that we’re using to provide power to the aircraft,” said Nick Borer, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, in a video call. “But this is the first time we’ve had the low-voltage and high-voltage systems operating together.”

NASA’s compendium of experimental aircraft, or X-planes, speaks to the agency’s long history of sussing out the future of flight. They range from kite-shaped, Bush-era combat drones to the Eisenhower administration’s autogyro, which sounds like a Greek dish that eats itself but looks more like a tricked-out tricycle combined with a helicopter. The new electric craft certainly looks more like a plane than any of them, and will have 14 propellers.

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Hmm: United Airlines Orders 200 Electric Air Taxis

Pre-pandemic a major focus for airlines was investing in sustainable aviation (probably due to social pressure). This has come in the form of carbon offsetting flights, as well as committing to investing in more sustainable forms of aviation.

Well, United Airlines has just announced its first plans to operate electric planes, though it’s not what you’d think, and the headline almost reads like it could be an April Fools’ joke.In this post:

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Airspeeder launches world’s first electric flying race car


A new racing series which hopes to emulate the pod racing from Star Wars has launched its first electric flying race car.

Airspeeder has unveiled the Mk3, which will form the basis of the company’s maiden season in 2021. The vehicles, which will race at speeds in excess of 120 km/h in its first year, will be remotely controlled by pilots on the ground.

Airspeeder hopes to develop the Mk3 into a manned racing craft for the 2022 season. Company founder Matt Pearson has previously stated his desire for Airspeeder to turn into a series similar to the pod racing featured in Star Wars: A Phantom Menace.

The Mk3 has been in the pipeline for three years. Airspeeder aims to “create a sport that will accelerate a new clean-air aerial mobility revolution”. More than 10 identical racing vehicles will be produced and supplied to teams in 2021.

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