Book Review: Jet Age

We don’t get many requests to review books here at AviationBull, so I was nervous when the publisher for “Jet Age” contacted me to do a review. I hadn’t even heard of the book, and honestly from the dust jacket excerpt I kind of expected to be reading the running narration from the “Wings” channel. You know, the voice-over accompanying the faded videos of the golden age of flight. What I found instead was a story that drew me into a part of aviation history that I had largely ignored, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Iran Unveils First Squadrons of Ground Effect Vehicles

The EAA just posted an article containing this video. It's about a new type of amphibious aircraft that Iran has just introduced into service. The aircraft are designed to fly in ground effect though, as you can see in the video, they can climb to higher altitudes. It's definitely a unique aircraft and it'll be interesting to see how they employ it. The ground effect vehicle (GEV) is called the Bavar 2.

VSS Enterprise Makes First Glide

Chris Christiansen: Homebuilt Hero

I'd love to build my own airplane. The performance, efficiency and fun available with experimental aircraft seems to double or triple what's available in the certified aircraft market at equivalent prices. The avionics (like Dynon's new Skyview system) do practically everything the most expensive stuff from Garmin or Avidyne at a fraction of the price. What's holding me back? Time and expertise. At least, that's what I've always told myself..."I'm just too busy to build the aircraft of my dreams and enjoy amazing flying..."

For better or for worse, Chris Christiansen just blew that argument out of the water.

X2 vs X3 vs V-22: Battle of the High-Speed Helicopters

One thing a pilot can never get enough of is speed. With airplanes and rockets, you can get about as much speed as you want...as long as your bank account is fat enough. With helicopters though, there has been an upper limit...until now.

Retreating rotor stall happens at the point where the vehicle is moving forward faster than the rotor is spinning. It causes all kinds of problems and has limited the top speed of helicopters for years. (See DynamicFlight.com for a good discussion of the phenomenon.)

Several companies have been working on ways to overcome this limitation and get faster helicopters. The first one to hit full production was Boeing's V-22 Osprey. It rotates the rotors so that they'll act more like propellers. It's a decent solution, but it involves a lot of moving parts...including rotating a pair of huge turboprop engines 90+ degrees. Other companies have other ideas.

Airbus: Catching Up With Our Imaginations

If you don't recognize this picture, you might not be as impressed by the latest development in aircraft design from airline manufacturer Airbus as I am. It's still worth mentioning though. (Thanks to SciFiTV.com.au for the picture.)

Orni-what?

I don't think it's possible to watch this video and not be impressed. It was a short flight of only 19.3 seconds covering 145 meters, but it was an amazing achievement in many ways. This is the first ever sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter. What's an ornithopter? I'm glad you asked...

My Kind of Swingset

What else would you use that old helicopter for right? Seriously though, I would definitely buy this at the local home improvement center... If only I could figure out how to get it past my wife!

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