According to the EAA and others, Flight Design, the market leader among Light Sport Aircraft, just announced plans to build a 4-place aircraft. This in an impressive move on many levels and I'm excited to see what they come up with.
When I think airline engines only two names come to mind: Pratt & Whitney and General Electric. Although they have a huge military market, P&W has been suffering in the commercial airline market in recent years. According to the Wall Street Journal, P&W's new PurePower PW1000G geared turbofan engine may be what it takes for them to break back into this market.
Tired of paying for avgas? Me too. The Solar Impulse project is trying to showcase and encourage the technology that will eventually help us abandon avgas. The project has great support and they've been very open about their progress. The Solar Impulse aircraft made it's first full flight on April 7th. Everything went well and it was in the air for over 90 minutes.
Erik Lindbergh (yes, the grandson of Charles and Anne Morrow) believes that electric aircraft are the future of aviation. He's been involved in promoting aviation for a long time and now he's established a new set of prizes for electric aviation. Called LEAP, the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize, is a set of four awards that will be given out every year for advances in electric aviation.
If these winglets weren't being developed by API, I would probably think they're a joke. However, I don't remember the last time I saw a 737 without a set of winglets designed by Aviation partners Inc. This picture, posted on AviationWeek.com, is of a Falcon 50 with new '“spiroid” loop-shaped wing tip devices.'
The Economist , a widely read financial magazine, recently published an outstanding detailed article highlighting, from an economic standpoint, the future of Avgas in general aviation. The bottom line is Avgas has a gun to its head.
The Solar Impulse project experienced a major victory on Thursday when their enormous aircraft flew for the first time! Although it was just a 350 meter "flea hop" at a height of one meter (well within ground effect,) it validated all the engineering work that Bertrand Piccard's team has been putting in over the last 6 years.
When Richard Branson flew a jet powered partially by biofuel nearly two years ago I wondered if he was just trying to follow a fad that would disappear when it got too expensive. Now it's starting to look like biofuel may be catching on. KLM recently flew a 747 with one engine using a 50/50 mix of biofuel. This flight was a big deal for two reasons: First, they claim their fuel is "sustainable." Second, they operated the flight with 40 of their execs as passengers.
The other significant part of this flight is it coincided with the formation of SkyEnergy, a consortium that aims to develop biofuel as a realistic and economical jet fuel alternative.