‘Drone’ That Hit Plane in London May Have Just Been a Plastic Bag

A few days ago it was reported that a drone may have hit a British Airways jet flying out of Heathrow. The transport minister Robert Goodwill has yet to confirm if that’s the case, saying that it could have just been a plastic bag.

The incident is believed to have occurred at around 1,700 ft, over four times the legal limit for people who want to fly their drones in the open air and while the Air Accidents Investigation Branch is investigating the incident alongside the Metropolitan Police there has been little in the way of information released to the public.

Goodwill did respond to comments regarding “geo-fencing”, a technique where drones would be blocked from entering restricted areas by means of having ‘no go zones’ installed on their devices by the manufacturers. Goodwill didn’t show great promise or belief in that option as he said it would be vulnerable to “somebody who could get round the software”.

With people speculating that the plane struck a drone, a thought that has occurred many times before and almost happened on several occasions, Goodwill did say that it “has not been confirmed it was actually a drone”, instead saying that the original story came from a local police force who tweeted the news about a reported drone colliding with a plane. “There was no actual damage to the plane and there’s indeed some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something”, the latest news seems to be that if it was a drone or unmanned electronic device, they don’t even know what it could have been.

Going on to explain the current information, Goodwill explained that “there was no actual damage to the plane and there’s indeed some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something”.

So no confirmed Drone could mean that people are overreacting to what has been a nightmare scenario for many groups for a while now, with incidents involving everything from illegally flying their drones during major events to even crashing into famous landmarks.

Drones Banned From Flying While Obama Visits London

People love drones, from their ability to race around the skies to capturing the most picture perfect moments you just don’t feel safe taking yourself. Sadly if you were looking at grabbing a quick picture of President Obama during his visit to London in a couple of week’s you will have to shelve your drone thanks to plans to ban drones from flying around London during the president’s visit.

The bulletin was released by the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and will restrict all types of aircraft on Thursday, April 21st (The Queens birthday) and Sunday, April 24th. The restrictions will be in place on all aircraft, including drones like the one that crashed at the muses content, banning any craft from flying below 762 metres (2,500 feet).

The restrictions are in place over three separate areas, with each area having specific times and dates, with the most restrictive being in Area 2 who find a lack of air traffic all the way from 8PM on the 21st till 9.30AM on the 24th.

With this becoming a common measure for high-profile events, you should be weary of flying your drones when big events are happening as you can often end up with large fines and a ban on using any type of drone.

FAA Rule It a Federal Crime to Shoot Down a Drone

Almost a year ago now William H Meredith noticed a drone flying above his property, so with his shotgun, he removed it from the sky. This raised an interesting legal debate, given the drone was above his property at the time it was shot down, was it wrong of him to shoot it down or was the drone user invading his privacy? The FAA have now revealed the answer, saying it is a federal crime to shoot down a drone.

Meredith defended his actions saying that not only was the drone invading his privacy but that of his two daughters in his garden. David Boggs, the drones owner, however, states that he was flying the drone to take pictures of a friend’s house and even sued Meredith for the cost of the drone and then some.

Due to the FAA’s latest drone registry scheme, drones are deemed as aircraft, the same as any manned aircraft in the air. As a result, the FAA responded to a question confirming that shooting down a drone is a federal crime, citing 18 U.S.C. 32 titled Aircraft Sabotage. This escalates to the point where if you are deemed to be interfering with someone who is “engaged in the authorised operation of such aircraft” you could find yourself facing anywhere between five and twenty years in prison.

While no one has yet to be charged for this act, many drones have been shut down and people are now wondering where can you draw the line? Given that specialist task forces are being formed to deal with the threat of drones, both on people and on manned aircraft, is it ever justified to defend yourself from the threat of a drone?

Who Wants a Real Hoverboard That Can Actually Fly?

When we hear about hoverboards these days we think of those handleless Segways that people ride around the place rather than walking, even when you can’t use them legally in public in the UK. Why not look at something a little different then? Like the original idea of a hoverboard, one that can actually fly!

Typically real hoverboards that actually float use magnetism to propel themselves off the ground, with the Lexus Slide being a prime example. If you followed French Jet Ski champion, Franky Zapata, though you would know that there is something completely different available now, let us introduce you to the Flyboard!

Designed as a single person hoverboard, the device is untethered and is powered solely by jet thrust created by a miniature jet turbine engine. Demonstrating the device with speeds of up to 55 kilometers per hour (that’s 34 miles an hour!) and a height of up to 30 meters the Flyboard has enough petrol is its user’s backpack for 10 minutes of continuous flight!

While it may seem like a dream, and until more details are revealed that’s all the device is; the device could be seen as the next step for single person aerial transport. While this isn’t the first time someone’s created a device that lets them fly, famously inventor and aviator David Mayman flew around the Statue of Liberty while using his JB-9 jetpack, the race is surely on with Mayman even challenging Zapata and his hoverboard to a race!

The Volocopter Completes Its First Manned Flight

Who doesn’t love a drone? From being used as video recorders and photography tools to their use in creating a whole new form of racing, they’ve come a long way from fantasy tools for soldiers and spies. E-Volo is just one of many one of many groups that want to change what drones can do, in this case, they want to let YOU ride within a many-rotor electric helicopter; as a super drone.

The Volocopter VC200 received its flight permit in Germany, meaning that managing director of E-Volo, Alexander Zosel could take to the sky in the 18 rotor helicopter. In what seems to be a smooth and seamless take off the flight goes just as well with the Volocopter gliding around the field and was even described as responding instantly to the actions put into it.

During interviews after the flight, the companies reactions were positive, with them showing that the Volocopter could be considered as an alternative to cars with everyone being able to own their own which, with the use of a touch pad, would be able to self-drive itself to your favourite location. Why have a flying car when you can have a personal helicopter?

TF-X Flying Car to Hit Roads (and Skies) by 2018

Terrafugia, a US-based small aircraft manufacturer, is building its first flying car, and has revealed that it hopes to begin testing it as soon as 2018. The TF-X is a hybrid electric flying car, which can carry four people, has unfolding wings with twin-mounted electric motors on either sides to propel the vehicle in the air, and is capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The TF-X can fly at speeds of 200mph for up to 500 miles.

The driver of the TF-X won’t need a pilot’s licence – just a standard driver’s licence – since the vehicle is semi-autonomous; you only need to tell the TF-X to take off and land at a designated spot. Prospective buyers need only take a weekend-long training course to operate the craft.

“The TF-X is the practical realization of the dream of countless visions of the future; it is designed to be the flying car for all of us,” according to the Terrafugia website. “In order to achieve this long-sought-after vision, Terrafugia will focus the TF-X program with clear goals that enhance the safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal transportation.  We believe these goals are achievable today.”

Following rigorous testing from 2018 onwards, Terrafugia hopes to make the TF-X available for sale by 2025. The Federal Aviation Administration has already given Terrafugia approval to test the TF-X within the US.

Innovative Gentleman Constructs Helicopter From 54 Drones and Garden Chair

Recently I wrote an article concerning an individual who thought it would be quite interesting to fly a drone into the stands at the US open Tennis tournament. This was a bad example of how to implement drone usage, this example below is a crazy yet fantastic example of how to use drones in a creative manner, a gentleman who goes by the YouTube moniker gasturbine101, as you do, has managed to construct a helicopter out of 54 drones and a garden chair.

You know you would like to see it, below is the video, as you can see its pretty crazy to say the least, imagine flying this past your next door neighbours bedroom window at 5am in the morning, they will feel as if they have been on the Jack Daniels all night.  This contraption is powered by four cell batteries and the estimated cost of construction has been around the £6000 mark.  oh and, if it looks like a machine powered by drones and fly’s like a machine powered by drones then the name would be? Yes you guessed it “The Swarm Manned Aerial Vehicle Multi-rotor Super Drone”.

For those who like detail then Gasturbine101 states that he used 54 counter-rotation propellers, six grouped control channels with KK2.15 stabilization. The off weight is around 148kg, max lift, approx. 164kg.  The Endurance is 10 minutes and Power is approximately. 22KW.

With a lot of tinkering this invention could be quite revolutionary, the only slight thing is that I would be concerned about my head if I sat hovering in one of these, if an incident happened then your head is not a million miles away from those propellers.  gasturbine101 also states that the craft might “need a tail rotor for spot turns.” it’s certainly a stunning piece of kit which might bring personal transport devices one step closer to reality, especially if a sizeable company adopted and invested in this notion with the aim of developing it for consumer use, iplane of Googlehover.

Below is the full transcript found on gasturbine101 Youtube channel its easier to have all the tech information in one place

NY Teacher Arrested After Crashing Drone At The US Open

Have you heard the phrase “idiots with tech”, well here is an idiot with tech who thought flying a drone near the US open Tennis tournament was a great idea, it looked promising until he crashed it into the stands.

26-year old Daniel Verley was not surprisingly arrested before being later charged with reckless endangerment and also for operating a drone in a public place outside of a designated area.   Luckily the drone crashed into empty seats and no one was injured during the incident which took place at the Louis Armstrong Stadium. An interesting fact concerning the naming of the stadium which was “Originally constructed by the Singer Sewing Machine Company for its 1964-65 World’s Fair exhibit, the Singer Bowl was renamed for Louis Armstrong in 1972.  In 1978, the stadium was refurbished and reconfigured when the United States Tennis Association moved the annual U.S. Open to Flushing Meadows from its previous home in nearby Forest Hills”

Incidences as in this case magnify the many problems with Drones, operating an air gadget without sufficient training could and has led to many situations which could place people at risk. There is also the notion that IS on another terrorist organisation could attach explosives with intent to mame and kill people, luckily the tennis stadium was less than half full at the time, otherwise this could have ended rather badly. Eye witnesses described how the drone broke into pieces as it plummeted into the stands, the match was briefly stopped while police investigated.

It is always interesting to note how the world is on full alert for a terrorist attack yet missed a New York teacher who managed to launch a drone at a stadium, I am just going to throw out stereotyping certain people.

Thank you bbc for providing us with this information.

Drone Munition Now Available To Consumers

Picture the scene; you look skywards and what lies before you? Some morons drone which is circling above your house, what do you do? If you live in the good old US of A, you walk into your garage with the aim of fetching your shotgun or course. But there is a problem, what if you do not have the correct ammunition? Luckily help is at hand as a product is now being marketed which promises to be the right kind of bullets for these pesky drones.

A company by the name of Snake River Shooting Products and Consulting Inc, consulting? We consult to offer you products which will maim or kill you, anyway, is proud to announce a new product by the name of Drone Munition. Which according to ammoland, is a

“Shot shell based defence rounds are now shipping. The rounds are a 12 gauge 3″ shot shell solution aimed at defending against drone-based privacy concerns and terror!”

Not too sure it’s the best idea to defend privacy by shooting expensive pieces of kit out of the sky, but there you go. The following sentence makes me laugh; apparently this ammunition has environmental credentials which are

“Drone Munition is lead free and safe for the environment”

Good to know, at least the planet was not harmed from the manufacturing of these bullets at someone’s funeral.

I can see this company being open to many a lawsuit, if you’re effectively condoning shooting an individual’s unmanned aerial vehicle to bits, then this will be seen as damaging property which does not belong to you. I do agree these Drones need more robust regulation, but you cannot if you feel like it, aim and fire skyward.

Casey Betzold, who is the president of Snake River Shooting Products, stated that “We are very excited to be manufacturing a product focused on defending our freedoms. We see this line as a game changer in the industry and as an important defence against rising threats to our way of life”

The words “Defending Our Freedoms” is interesting, would it be really against ones freedoms to spot a drone flying in the sky? What about if it’s a US government drone, would it be then safe to shoot that as well?. If it was a suspected terrorist drone then it would be considered OK to shoot it, but then again, I doubt it will be sign posting itself when flying.

Well, at least we know for any of life’s problems, there will be Ammo for that.

Thank you ammoland and snakerivershootingproducts for providing us with this information

Weaponizing a Frisbee

Well I can’t see too much wrong with this, said no none ever, if you thought drones were potentially lethal, then take a look at this Internet YouTube star by the name of Joerg Sprave, who has devised a prototype, of a weaponized Frisbee, of sorts.

The basic premise is quite simple, this maverick inventor has taken an ordinary everyday garden Frisbee before attaching Surgical Scalpels to it. Below is a screenshot of the finished item.  As you can see, it rather looks like a 99p Doctor Who villain and would certainly end in a nasty outcome if it connected with some poor soul while out for a picnic if thrown.

But does it actually work?  There is a video which conveys the designing, building and testing and is below, Joerg Sprave aims his creation at a target before throwing it.

The end result is that it does indeed attach to things,

Here is the making of Youtube video which includes demonstrations of a new kind of leaf and box cutting

This may be a low tech design, but it could be implemented in real life scenarios with lethal consequences, especially  if this idea is further modified.  If you thought parks and open spaces were just too dull, then why not liven them up with a dystopian future where you have a slightly less sharp mid-air guillotine.

You know that report in the last few days which stated that Amazon treats its employees really, really badly, where did Joerg Sprave by his Frisbee, you guessed it Amazon, lets hope Jeff Bezos does not nick this idea before calling it an “employee improvement plan”

If you would like to view other inventions by Joerg Sprave, then by all means view his YouTube channel

 

Man Shoots Down Expensive Drone

Drones may be the future, but owners certainly need to take a bit more responsibility while flying them if this tale is anything to go by. A gentleman by the name of William H. Merideth looked skyward and noticed a Drone was flying over his property, so he acted the same way any American with access to war grade weapons would, he took aim and shot it down.

According to an account of the incident, Mr Merideth’s shotgun blast hit the Drone and the hardware crashed within a short distance of his home. When police arrived to investigate why there was ammunition being fired, Merideth admitted that he shot down the Drone because it was flying over his home. Mr Merideth then gave an interview to propaganda Republican 1 channel Fox News, which he explained his actions with the following statement

I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.’ Within a minute or so, here it came. It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky…”

Owners of the Drone were slightly angry considering the machine was estimated to be worth $1,800 (£1152.75) they also claimed that they were only shooting photos of a friend’s house when the incident occurred. Police arrested Merideth and charged him with first degree criminal mischief before promptly releasing him the next day, law enforcement gave what was left of the crashed Drone back to its owners.

I haven’t really any sympathy with both parties, on one hand William Merideth should not have really shot someone else’s Drone down, on the other hand, don’t fly a machine over someone’s house. It will be interesting to note how police handle this in the future, if the fore mentioned gentleman does not receive a punishment, it will be shoot a Drone season arriving down a street very soon.

On a side note, what is wrong with the gun owner? There are ways to resolve conflicts rather than taking aim and firing a cartridge into a direction of anything which annoys you.

Thank You wdrb for providing us with this information

Google Wants to Bring Order to Drone Airspace

Drones are becoming more popular than ever, but flying them around now poses a bit of a risk. This is why Google wants to bring order to low altitude airspace, namely the airspace below 500ft, so its Wing drones may be able to fly safely and avoid collisions.

Google proposed that all people operating a drone should send their location info back to the airspace access and collision avoidance. In doing so, air traffic control authorities then could pass on the information to private airspace service providers. This is how Dave Vos, head of the Wing project at Google, said it sees the future of drone control.

Vos said that private airspace control companies, which he calls ASPs, can manage these low airspace requests from anyone willing to fly drones around. In his vision, ASPs should be given a brief flight plan of drones who request take-off, which are evaluated based on other drone flight paths. The ASPs can then determine if flight path changes need to be made to avoid collision, or even deny requests based on how congested the traffic is in the area.

At this point, low altitude airspace is mostly left unregulated, so everyone with a drone or any other sort of flying contraption can make use of them. However, with Google, Amazon and other big companies starting to take an interest in drones and how they can use them in their daily business activities, low altitude airspace needs some sort of traffic management system.

But this also means that most people who want to fly their drone in parks or above their house will most likely be denied to do so once regulations are in place. So how comfortable are you with this decision? Do you think that a low altitude airspace management system is needed? Let us know!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Man Flies Into The Air Using Balloons

Pixar’s fantastically animated film Up was a major success at the box office, but this notion of a man floating in mid-air using only balloons could not possibly happen in real life. Well yes it can and it has as one man has decided to undertake a stunt which looks wonderful but also landed him in trouble.

An individual by the name of Daniel Boria who is from Canada, attached 110 large balloons which were around 2 meters in diameter to lift him skyward in a lawn chair reports Canada’s CBC. This event was a publicity stunt for of all things, his cleaning products company which certainly became noticed after he floated past people’s windows in a deck chair. After landing, Daniel Boria stated that “it was the most surreal experience you can ever imagine.

Below is the image and it certainly shows how high, no pun intended, he managed to achieve, so much so that when he looked down, he could spot a few 747 planes landing and also taking off. Once he landed he was arrested with Police officers confiscating Boria’s parachute and his video which he recorded while aloft, although what he will be charged with is anyone’s guess.

This story does show the ingenuity of people if their minds are put to it, it’s great publicity although it did cost $20,000 (£12948.96) after he spent cash hiring an airplane to carry a banner advertising his company to make circles around the Stampede grounds. Next time you would like a cleaning company, remember the man floating up in the air.

Thank You RT for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of HDW

US Army One Step Closer To Star Wars Land Speeders

So around four months ago we reported on a Kickstarter that was launched to raise funds for a hoverbike. That’s right, a bike that uses the same idea as a drone to help it hover. After raising nearly twice as much as it initially intended the UK-based company has now got a new client, The US Army.

The US Department of Defence announced the deal with Malloy Aeronautics today. With the option to operate remote controlled or with a human pilot, the small craft is more controllable and maneuverable in tight spaces and due to the blades being guarded the chance of someone getting themselves or their clothing caught is drastically reduced.

Before the deal is finalised Malloy are required to develop a full-size model, from which the DoD will develop military prototypes from. With the cheaper, more economic vehicles being designed for both civilian and military use now, it may not be long before those hover vehicles in fiction start become reality.

Malloy told Reuters that they consider the vehicle ideal for small cargo delivery missions (similar to a what Amazon hope to do) or search and rescue missions. They also suggested surveillance, but I think if you spotted one of these down your road you would get a little too curious.

With speeder bikes becoming a step closer to reality, I’m just waiting for the lightsabers and force powers. What would you do if you had one of these bikes?

Thank you The Verge for the information.

Image courtesy of Malloy.

No Plans for Flying Mounts in Warlords of Draenor or Beyond

For everyone eagerly waiting to get to the patch that will allow flying mounts in Warlods of your hopes were just dashed! In an interview with Polygon lead designer Ion Hazzikostas made it clear that Blizzard is done with flying mounts, and they will not be in Warlords of Draenor or future expansions or patches.

Polygon was doing an interview that was to be about the upcoming 6.2 patch when Ion Hazzikostas made it clear that I won’t get to use my glider parachute.

Hazzikostas said,”At this point, we feel that outdoor gameplay in World of Warcraft is ultimately better without flying. We’re not going to be reintroducing the ability to fly in Draenor, and that’s kind of where we’re at going forward.” He went on further, “Having looked at how flying has played out in the old world in the last couple of expansions, we realized that while we were doing it out of this ingrained habit after we introduced flying in The Burning Crusade, it actually detracted from gameplay in a whole lot of ways. While there was certainly convenience in being able to completely explore the world in three dimensions, that also came at the expense of gameplay like targeted exploration, like trying to figure out what’s in that cave on top of a hill and how do I get up there.”

So now I no longer need to look at the flying mounts from the Blizzard store.

Thank you pcgamesn.com for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of mmosite.com

FBI Claims Security Researcher Was Able to Issue Commands to Engines

Security on planes has always been an issue, be it from people leaving their electronic devices on during flights or people making threats via social media. So when the FBI received a message from a security researcher claiming to have hacked an in-flight plane you can see why they might be concerned.

Chris Roberts is an aviation computer security researcher, that is he attempts to access and assess the security regarding plane’s as to prevent people from doing the same for more malicious reasons than to get paid. Apparently in his message Roberts claimed to have accessed the in-flight entertainment system. He then was able to overwrite code on the airplane Thrust management system, allowing him to control the engines on the plane in question.

Using his new access Roberts claims to have given an engine a climb command, resulting in the plane going sideways while still in flight. This isn’t the first time he’s been in trouble with the FBI because of his actions though, in 2015 he was detained after tweeting a joke about sending EICAS messages and toggling the oxygen masks. This resulted in him getting his iPad, MacBook Pro and his electronic storage devices confiscated for fear he was going to misuse them.

To the best of our knowledge Roberts has yet to be arrested or charged with any crime for the most recent claims, luckily for him I guess. Given the nature of the claims it’s a serious issue if he did manage to command the in-flight engines, especially if he hasn’t alerted the Airplane company regarding the issue. Ethical hacking is a serious issue these days, with some people crossing the line between ethical hacking and hacking just to make a point in order to get a payday.

I’ve always been comfortable on flights but should I take a second guess about taking my phone or laptop out while in flight?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information.

Image Courtesy of Airlines

NASA Launches 10-Engine Electric Plane

NASA is testing a 10-engined prototype battery-powered VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aeroplane. The 10-foot wingspan GL-10 plane, codenamed Greased Lightning, is currently being put through a rigorous design and testing phase at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, and is meant as the precursor to an even larger, 20-foot wingspan model, which may be an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

“We have a couple of options that this concept could be good for,” said aerospace engineer Bill Fredericks. “It could be used for small package delivery or vertical take off and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications. A scaled up version—much larger than what we are testing now—would make also a great one to four person size personal air vehicle.”

David North, a member of the GL-10’s engineering team, added, “We built 12 prototypes, starting with simple five-pound (2.3 kilograms) foam models and then 25-pound (11.3 kilograms), highly modified fiberglass hobby airplane kits all leading up to the 55-pound (24.9 kilograms), high quality, carbon fiber GL-10 built in our model shop by expert technicians.”

“Each prototype helped us answer technical questions while keeping costs down. We did lose some of the early prototypes to ‘hard landings’ as we learned how to configure the flight control system. But we discovered something from each loss and were able to keep moving forward.”

With initial tests promising – the GL-10 has passed its hover test, taking off vertically and hanging in the air like a helicopter – the biggest hurdle was to transition the craft from hovering to flying.

“During the flight tests we successfully transitioned from hover to wing-borne flight like a conventional airplane then back to hover again. So far we have done this on five flights,” Fredericks said. “We were ecstatic. Now we’re working on our second goal—to demonstrate that this concept is four times more aerodynamically efficient in cruise than a helicopter.”

The next test will assess the GL-10’s aerodynamic efficiency, and NASA engineers are optimistic that Greased Lightning will prove a success.

Thank you phys.org for providing us with this information.

Flying Cars to be “Commercially Available” in 2016?

Terrafugia, a company based in Boston in the United States, says that it will offer the first “commercially available” flying car in 2016.

The ‘Transition’, as it’s called, will allow those who hold pilot licenses to fly their aircraft as well as drive it on the roads too. It is officially street legal – the first flying craft to receive such certification. The craft runs on standard unleaded fuel and is supposed to be incredibly easy to fly.

However, you might be questioning this and wondering, is this really the flying car we’ve always envisioned? Well, you do need a pilot’s license for it and it costs $279,000, making it inaccessible to many. Terrafugia thinks it has the answer to this though.

They say that the ‘Transition’ is just the beginning and that in 10 years, they will be able to offer the TF-X – a craft that is completely driverless, allowing literally anyone to step onboard and fly to wherever they want to go at speeds of up to 200mph. They say that the cost issue will be solved too – the vehicles will offered perhaps in a similar way to a taxi or Uber for example, where you can pay a fare just for the journey you wish to take.

While all of this is incredibly exciting, we’ll have to see it to believe it first.

Source: BBC News

Need to Land a Plane? There’s an iPad App for That

Xavion, an iPad app used by pilots to plan flight paths, is due to receive an update that will allow it to land a plane without its pilot.

The app is designed for pilots of small aircraft and has traditionally given them data to help them on their way. Xavion can provide detailed weather updates so pilots can avoid turbulence for example. But this new update, due to arrive early next year, will do something no app update has done before. The update promises to be able to bring an aircraft to a point just before landing, so even the least experienced pilot can land an aircraft and “walk away”. By subscribing for $199 a year, the app can help guide a plane in to landing in the case of an engine failure, lack of fuel or even if the pilot is incapacitated.

“In practice, pilots would use this app to guide them down to just before the threshold of the runway,” Meyer says. “At that point, any pilot can take over and land the airplane. Our tests today took us practically all the way down to touchdown. If the pilot didn’t take over, he would have just had a hard landing, broken the landing gear, and everyone would have walked away.” – The Creator of the app Austin Meyer speaking to Popular Science.

Check out the video at the source link to see the app in action.

Source: Popular Science Via: The Verge

Parrot Bebop Drone Coming in December

Parrot, the French telecommunications company, now more famous for its A.R. Drone, has announced that its new Bebop Drone will go on sale next month starting at $500.

The new drone is being billed as a ‘prosumer’ drone, with its 1080p, 14MP camera, 3-axis image stabilisation and optional range extender controller. The base model starts at $500, which you control with a smartphone or tablet, and the more expensive model will be available for $900 and includes the SkyController which extends the range from 200 metres to 2 kilometres. Both will be available from Best Buy and Apple Stores next month.

Many are seeing it as a competitor to the popular DJI Phantom – a drone famous for its ease of use and professional-grade video recording capabilities. It seems that this consensus is accurate too, as many who have tried the drone say that it is easy to fly, yet provides incredible footage and is pretty much indestructible.

Indestructible is important too, my drone flying days ended when my A.R. Drone went out of range and fell 2 storeys. Whoops.

Source: TechCrunch 

Fly from New York to China in 2 Hours by 2020

Have you ever sat in your 19 floor beach-side mansion and thought to yourself: “If only I could fly to Bejing and back in one day, that would make it much easier to attend Francine’s ballet recital”? Well now for those with copious amounts of funding, it’s going to be made possible.

Set for release in 2020, Sub-orbital commuter flights will be jet setting the worlds top 0.01% across the globe at a blistering pace of 40,000 miles per hour. Compared to the current 500 mph of commercial airliners, the speed does however come at a great price – between $90,000 and $250,000 we’ve learned.

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson has indicated he’s looking into this business model to bring it to the public sector.

Aaron Pressman from Yahoo Finance commented on some issues with this technology development, showing it’s not quite ready for the general business man or woman:

“These [jets] can only take off and land in very special places like the spaceport that’s in New Mexico . That’s not going to help the 0.1% get from New York to London or Australia. So it’s going to take a while before these rockets become more like normal airplanes that can land at normal airports. [sic]” Yahoo

However, if this technology is worked on and improved, we could possibly see our grandchildren jet-setting across the globe in minimal time for current commercial airliner pricing.

Image courtesy of Neowin

Scientist Working On Nature Inspired Millimeter-Sized Drones

Drones are apparently not only becoming more common, but a lot smarter and smaller it seems. According to latest news, some research teams are currently looking into nature for answers in order to tackle the problems when designing new and improved drones.

From flying through narrow spaces to picking up objects, drones have plenty to learn from birds and other animals in the wild. However, the precision when looking at a flying drone depends entirely on its flight control. And where to get a better tutor than a which is born with the ability to fly.

This is the aim of some US-based groups scattered around the country. One of these groups is based in Harvard and is looking into creating a millimeter-sized drone which can manoeuvre in small, narrow and hard to reach areas. The drone at hand is reportedly inspired by flies or other winged insects, hovering in the air for extended periods of time. The team tasked with this project is hoping to gain a more detailed insight into insect population and even help in areas such as pollinating plants in the future.

Other groups such as the ones based in UNC Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins University, or the University of California, are tasked with finding a way to create drones which can handle and perceive the elements of hot and cold or rain and heavy gusts of wind. The main objective for the latter teams is to come up with a wind-proof drone, having the hawk moth as the primary source of inspiration.

Thank you Daily Digest News for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Daily Digest News

New FAA Guidelines Permit More Devices During Take-off And Landing

New FAA guidelines mean that flyers won’t face such strict regulations for playing Angry Bird, or what ever it is they’re doing on their smart devices, during take-off and landing. Given that previously, flyers were instructed to turn off their devices it is well-known that most of us simple put them on silent or just in our pocket, defiant of the rules of the airline. At least now we can continue what we were doing but not be breaking the rules from now on.

The rules will depend on each airline though, so don’t start-up WhatsApp to your friend a few rows away just yet. Although it is expected that most, if not all airlines will allow you to use your phone in airplane mode throughout the entire duration of the flight by the end of the year.

These rules will apply to eBook readers, gaming devices, video devices, mp3 players, etc. So long as the devices are in Airplane Mode for landing and take off, but the rest of the time you will be able to use your devices Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features to connect your smart devices.

Regulatory organizations have issued a simple check list to ensure that flyers can still meet the new rules.

1. Make safety your first priority.

2. Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.

3. Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.

4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.

5. Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.

7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.

8. It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.

9. In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.

10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.