Brand new drone in China

The V750 is a brand new unmanned helicopter designed by Qingdao Haili. It successfully completed its maiden flight in Shandong province three weeks ago.

This UAV has a load capacity of more than 77 kg. It can reach more than 160 km/h, and it can be remote-controlled from up to 153 kilometers away. The V750 drone could be used for ISR purpose. With a weight of 100 kg, it is deemed to be the largest drone in China as it could be as large as the American MQ-8 « Fire Scout ».

Watch the video (in Chinese):

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Volcanic ash posing a threat to flight safety

Sunday 5/22/2011 – Breaking news:

The Grimsvötn volcano began erupting yesterday. It is located underneath the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier in southeastern Iceland. As it has been sending ash into the skies up to flight level 650 i.e. 65,000 ft or around 20 kilometers or 12 miles.

The European fleets might be grounded due to the spreading of an ash cloud which is forecast to drift over Scotland on Tuesday – May 24, 2011 – and expected to reach France and Spain by Thursday or Friday. Here is an interesting short documentary about how the scientists examine the volcanic ash, and how they determine that it can pose a threat to aircraft.

Watch the video:

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Solid-as-a-rock A380 aircraft struck… by lightning!

It is not uncommon for aircraft to be struck by lightning but this super heavy Emirates Airbus A380 got hit by a jagged bolt of lightning right over the pilot’s seats.

A huge amount of electric energy must have passed through the airframe of the aircraft during its approach at London Heathrow last week. Amazingly the commercial aircraft escaped damage, and nobody was hurt.

Is it any wonder this airplane may sustain such a stress in a clap of thunder? The size and the nature of the A380 airframe seems to be the right solution to such hazards. Thanks to its thick metal structure, the plane behaved as a perfect Faraday cage:

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Cold weather DC3 cargo aircraft flights to Antarctica

The Canadian Kenn Borek Ltd. DC-3 you can see below has been modified to perform landing on ice strips with skis. This aircraft, as well as another DC-3T – a Basler BT-67 – carry out Antartica Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) flights. Therefore they have been upgraded to sustain take off, flight, and landing at very low temperatures. Please, listen to Philippe Cousteau:

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Solar Impulse’s first international flight

Andre Borschberg took off from Switzerland, flew across France,then Luxembourg, and Belgium, and finally landed safely thanks to the sunlight-powered HB-SIA Solar Impulse in Brussels in the evening of May 13, 2011. Bertrand Piccard was there:

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