Research and Development

T-X: Finally a Fun USAF Competition to Watch?

The USAF is holding a competition to replace the Northrop T-38C. The USAF is referring to the new trainer simply as "T-X" for now. After a couple decades of USAF aircraft competitions that have felt unfulfilling or even disappointing, I think this competition has the potential to actually be fun to watch.

Rocket House!!

I now know what my next weekend project will be... If only I could get it past the homeowners association...

Russia debuts its first 5th Generation Fighter

Russia unveiled its newest fighter, and their first 5th Generation fighter, the Sukhoi T-50. The T-50 marks a new page for Russia in aircraft development sporting both stealth and touted super cruise capability.

Russia is developing the aircraft not only for internal bolstering of their air force but as a potential export. India has expressed interest in the new fighter as it is the only 5th Generation fighter aircraft available on the market today. The US's F-22 Rapter is a 5th Generation fighter, but it is not currently offered for export and the EU's Eurofighter Typhoon is considered a 4.5 Generation fighter with similar, not all the capabilities, to be classified as a true 5th Generation aircraft.

Ever wanted to be weightless?

Have you ever dreamed of being an astronaut? ever wanted to experience weightlessness? Well a company in Florida, Zero G, can make your dream come true. Ok so they won't put you in space, but their modified airliner will give you a chance to experience brief bouts of weightlessness.

Now the experience isn't cheap, but for just over $5000 you can saddle up for a few short minutes of weightlessness. However they are an excellent option for movies and researcher and just the curious to experience a true zero gravity moment. Now to figure out how to do the same thing in the Champ!

Will LAAR Competition Become Next Tanker Debacle?

I recently mentioned Hawker Beechcraft's (HBC's) candidate for the USAF Light Attack Armed Reconnisance (LAAR) aircraft program, the AT-6. I think their aircraft is a great candidate for this mission and stands a fair chance of getting the job. However, the AT-6 isn't the only aircraft being considered for that job. Two other major entrants include Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano and the Boeing OV-10 Bronco.

From what I've read, all three of these aircraft have the potential to do well in the LAAR role. I'd be excited to watch a competition between them as I'm sure they'd all put on a good show. Unfortunately, there is already some drama brewing over the LAAR program. I can only hope that this drama won't turn the LAAR program into the next acquisition program to flop due to politicing and perceptions of inequality.

Solar Impulse: Inital Roll-out and Engine Tests Complete!

Bertrand Picard's visionary aircraft, the Solar Impulse, completed an exciting milestone yesterday. It was rolled out of the hangar for the first time and the engines were tested at the Dübendorf aerodrome near Zurich.

This airplane is definitely an impressive sight. You can visit the Solar Impulse Blog for more pictures. It's kind of difficult to imagine an aircraft this large that only weighs less than two tons and is powered by the sun.

AT-6 Development Going Well

I wrote about Hawker Beechcraft's (HBC's) AT-6 Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft just a couple weeks ago. They've already put out a follow-up press release stating that testing of the aircraft is going well.

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