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!

Near Miss at Los Angeles Airport Calls for Future Drone Regulation

Drones are on everybody’s wish list this year. If you want them to just enjoy being in charge of your very own Enterprise or just because you are curious about the new technology, you should remember to use them safely. Sadly that seems to be a lesson that was missed by a drone pilot who caused a near miss at Los Angeles International Airport.

The incident involved a drone flying around 200 feet from a plane of a Lufthansa aircraft, a move which has sparked debate for greater control over drones and the authorities abilities to manage, control and restrict drones freedom when it comes to regulated space.

This is not the first time a drone has come close to the plane, with the same thing happening at Heathrow and other airports around the world. The problem with drones is their ability to operate remotely makes tracking down a drone’s operator difficult, an act which the authorities want to become easier.

Some of the proposals include the geofencing of drones sold domestically, meaning that drones would be unable to fly above their legal altitude or the use of collision-avoidance software. With the requirement for drones to now be registered, it is expected that drone capturing equipment such as the SkyWall could offer authorities a way of tracking down and tackling dangerous drone users.

Amazon is Now Leasing Airplanes to Help With Deliveries

When it comes to ordering things online, Amazon is one of the places people first look. With distribution all over the world, the company is currently at the forefront of technology to help deliver their products, including being the leader in the “drones for deliveries” concept. In the companies latest move, Amazon is now leasing airplanes.

A step up from your garden delivery drone, Amazon has signed a lease on not one but 20 Boeing 767 freighter planes. With the ability to control and help organise international deliveries, could this be the first step in a truly global delivery system?

In an email to ArsTechnica, Dave Clark (Amazon SVP of Customer Service) provided the following:

We offer Earth’s largest selection, great prices, and ultra-fast delivery promises to a growing group of Prime members and we’re excited to supplement our existing delivery network with a great new provider, ATSG, by adding 20 planes to ensure air cargo capacity to support one and two-day delivery for customers.

From this statement, it would seem to be the case that the new planes will be there to help support and expand on Amazon’s Prime delivery scheme, something which offers quick delivery of their products.

Am I the only one who’s expecting Amazon to create a drone carrying aircraft to help deliver their products?

UN Aviation Want Real-Time Tracking Of Aircraft

In recent years, we’ve had tragic incidents in which aircraft have gone missing, leaving many wondering what happened to the people on board. To prevent further loss, the UN’s international civil aviation organization (ICAO) want to create a system to enable real-time tracking of aircraft.

The three most significant tweaks to Annex 6 of the Chicago Convention (the document outlining how aircraft, airports and anything operating in their airspace needs to work) are as follows:

  • Aircraft must carry “autonomous distress tracking devices” that can “transmit location information at least once every minute in distress circumstances.”
  • The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) must be able to store at least 25 hours of recording, “so that they cover all phases of flight for all types of operations.”
  • Aircraft must be “equipped with a means to have flight recorder data recovered and made available in a timely manner.”

These moves mean that even if you were unable to locate the plane immediately and recover the CVR or flight recorder, the information and details regarding the flight would still be accessible. ICAO’s president Olumyiwa Benard Aliu states that in the case of an accident “the location of the site will be known immediately to within six nautical miles”.

While this may be late for some, the new rules which airline operators have until 2021 to adopt, could prevent others from asking the question of where.

Another Near Miss as Drone Flies Close to Jet at Heathrow

Drones are a wonderful piece of technology and the more we advance them the more we can do. I mean, they have created a drone that works both in the air and even underwater. How can we not find uses for drones that can be deployed at sea, both above and below the sea line? The problem being is that a select few are ruining the experience for everybody, with drones being used and damaging everything from the Empire State building to cutting out power for residents in LA.  The most recent in a long stream of incidents is a near encounter when a drone flew within 30 feet of a jet that was landing at Heathrow.

The Airbus A319 was landing at Heathrow Airport in September while it was on approach to land. The pilot reported that it went so close as 25 yards left of the cockpit and only 20 feet above. The incident was reported to the police and classed as a meeting risk category A, the highest risk that two objects meet short of actually colliding. The worrying part is that the drone was flying at 500 feet, while the legal limit for drones in the UK is 400 feet, with anything beyond that being considered controlled airspace.

This isn’t the first time that a drone has almost collided with an airplane, and given the risk to both the crew and passengers of the craft and those on the ground, drone pilots performing these kind of stunts, putting others at risk, are the reason that the FAA has pushed for drone registration in the USA.

Unmaned Jets to be Backed by “Arsenal Planes”

Technology changes, every day it shifts and moves. A major area for technological advancement is the military. Companies and governments pay billions to advance technology in everything from bulletproof walls to injectable sponges. One of the areas for advancement is drones or unmanned aircraft. The problem is that these craft need to not only be smarter but also built for stealth, something strapping a few weapons to them doesn’t help with. The proposed solution, back up the stealthy ones with the big guns mounted to an ‘arsenal plane’.

Traditional unmanned planes can only equip a few weapons, the problem being that they just become too big and end up drawing too much attention on radar. The solution proposed by the Defence Department budget, is that they would instead have an arsenal plane behind the stealth jet.

Described as “a flying launch for all sorts of different conventional payloads. In practice, the arsenal plane will function as a very large airborne magazine, networked to 5th-generation aircraft that act as forward sensor and targeting nodes”. While not a new idea the concept of a small jet being the precursor to a giant multi-purpose airstrike is certainly a frightful one.

With the reuse of old craft to save on costs, the issue of strapping a lot of explosives to an outdated model surely raises some heath and safety questions.

Could Hypersonic Air Travel Become a Reality?

Air travel has become the norm within today’s fast past society, from the extremely affordable ticket prices coupled with the package holiday’s that have become part of many people’s yearly quest for adventure. But, what is next for air travel? Can it be developed to the point whereby consumers are able to fly to for example Australia from the UK in less than 22 hrs?

Well, a potentially sizeable development is on the horizon after Orbital in conjunction with NASA has developed and preliminarily tested what is known as a “3D printed hypersonic engine combustor at NASA’s Langley Research Centre in Virginia”. This could potentially facilitate air travel at amazing speeds of up to 3,425 mph (5,500km/h) or 4.5 times the speed of sound, which is fast.

Below is an image of a concept hypersonic plane which has been modelled within design software that is used for the purposes of aerodynamics, it certainly looks fascinating for a ground level design. The combustor was created through a manufacturing process known as “powder bed fusion” (PBF). Within this is a layer of “metal alloy powder that is printed before a laser fuses areas together based on the pattern which is fed into the machine by a software program

The combustor has as you would expect been put through a series of hypersonic flight conditions over the course of 20 days. Orbital have also stated that one of the most complex parts with which to develop is the Scramjet combustion system which needs to maintain stable combustion within an extremely volatile environment. This technique could also have the potential to be used within future versions of NASA’s X-43 experimental hypersonic aircraft which is pictured below alongside the Langley Research Centre in Virginia.

In case you’re wondering, the definition of a Scramjet is an air-breathing aircraft that carries only “hydrogen fuel, the aircraft pulls the oxygen needed and burns it from the atmosphere; this is instead of the traditional method of fuel and the required oxygen to provide acceleration

These developments could pave the way for a future whereby consumers could, in theory, be whizzing around the globe by hypersonic power.

Airforce Wants Its Jets To Have Lasers By 2020

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ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 16, 2014) The Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15) conducts an operational demonstration of the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Laser Weapon System (LaWS) while deployed to the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

Everyone loves a good laser, be it shot into the sky at a festival, or at your favourite hero as they try to save the galaxy. Even the real world is liking them, with more and more of science fiction being created and used in the real world. The Navy have even created and mounted a rail gun onto a ship  while BAE are looking at magnetic force fields.  Now even the Airforce want to get in on the science fiction weapons and mount “lasers” onto their Jets by 2020.

Dubbed Directed-Energy weapon pods, the devices will be mounted onto jets and will use beams of directed energy to ‘burn’ missiles and UAV’s, with the hopes of being powerful enough to even combat other aircraft. With a large contract on the line several companies have come up with solutions, HELLADS (High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defence System), from General Atomics, runs off a single lithium-ion battery and is small enough to fit onto a predator drone.

With the possibilities of being mounted to both land, sea and air vehicles, laser technology could revolutionise the way we act against other weapons. With the ability to shoot down missiles and heat up and melt the components in vehicles laser technology could quickly become the new step in modern warfare.

Thank you Engadget for the information.

Image courtesy of LiveScience.

‘Concord 2’ Hypersonic Airbus Being Developed!

Airbus are known for their giant airplanes, and it’s not hard to know why, as they’re used all over the world to transport people and materials. Their new design hopes to improve on that by allowing them to travel at speeds of up to four and a half times the speed of sound!

To summarise this, travelling to New York from London currently takes seven to eight hours, with the new airbus design the flight would take a single hour. Flights from Paris to San Fransico and Tokyo to Los Angeles would take a mere three hours, saving people and companies time which they often don’t have lying around (or sitting) in the air.

The airplane will be a little different from your normal flight. designed to take off vertically thanks to some engines mounted underneath the jet is designed to climb vertically until it’s almost at the speed of sound. After this, it relies on rocket motors to carry it up to 100,000 feet before finally allowing the ramjets to push it to a final speed of Mach 4.5.

The design is similar to a lot of high-speed military jets, and even has some resemblance to the concord, a jet which was not allowed to operate over land due to the worry that it would cause a sonic boom. The new crafts design is built to limit not only the noise it creates but also the sonic booms, thereby hoping to allow it to travel in more populated areas without the restrictions set on the concord.

With only twenty seats on each jet, the chances are the tickets will be highly priced and the onboard entertainment short. Who wants a meal with their flight anyway?

Thank you Tech Sport for the information and the image. 

Tooltime Meets Mario Cart: Jet Powerted Go-Kart Can Do 60MPH

Most boys have dreamed of a jet-powered go-kart at some point, I know I have. But where most of just dream, others have to make it a reality. YouTuber, plumber, and ex-BMX rider, Colin Furze has done just that and created something that reminds of a crossover between Tooltime (Home Improvement) and Mario Kart. Also, lets not forget some of his real-world super hero inventions from last year!

The kart has been extended to make room for the giant home built turbine on the back, and it isn’t without power. He manages to achieve a top speed of 61 MPH before he runs out of track to drive on and has to stop. That’s pretty cool and there might be even more power left in the engine.

The kart starts with gasoline and transitions to diesel with a leaf blower motor providing enough moving air to ease the transition between the two fuels. Two pressurized tanks, one with air and one with fuel all cleverly controlled by a foot lever, fuel rail and butterfly valve controls the fuel flow through the jet engine.

This isn’t the first time Colin Furze attached a jet to something, he has previously built the jet bike but also other contraptions such as a flame thrower scooter or a bicycle with tires made from ice.

Your guess is as good as mine on what he will strap a jet on next. Whatever it might be, I can’t wait to see it.

Thank you Art of Gears for providing us with this information