Technology lost: A very real possibility

Greekfire

Modern society exists in its present form, all over the world, because humans have developed, deployed, and adapted to technologies that make our lives easier, more pleasant, and longer than ever before.

Every phase of life is improved to some degree by the availability of technologies we use without the slightest thought. These technologies are convenient, relatively inexpensive, and widely available even to the least fortunate among us. Microwave ovens, wide-screen televisions, airplanes, helicopters, GPS navigation in our cars and on our phones, computerized cash register/scanners, and compact florescent light bulbs are all available to us, more or less all the time.

I wonder if that will be the case 100 years from now. Or 200 years out from today. Perhaps not. [Read more…]

NASA picks six ‘wild ideas’ to study

This conceptual art shows the main idea whether a vehicle with electric propulsion could use its structure to serve as a battery.

It never hurts to ask. In that spirit, six teams of NASA’s aeronautical innovators are about to take the plunge and ask if the novel ideas they have come up with have the potential to transform aviation as we know it, extending the frontier of what’s possible with flight.

Imagine an electrically-propelled airliner whose fuselage is the battery. How about an remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) equipped with artificial intelligence programmed to respond to unforeseen situations the same way a human pilot would?

Those are among the six concepts recently selected for study during the next two years or so as part of an imaginative venture under NASA’s new Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) project. [Read more…]

Baron hits runway light on go-around

The pilot of the Beechcraft Baron was attempting to land at an airport in St. Paul, Minn. After touching down, he realized he had landed long, and was concerned about being able to bring the plane to a stop before he ran out of runway, so he initiated a go-around.

During climb-out, the pilot heard a “thump,” so he returned to the airport and landed the airplane. [Read more…]

Commercial drone rules should be in place by this time next year

Asctec-Hummingbird-Drone-300x192

Commercial drone operations could take flight on a large scale by this time next year, according to a Reuters report. FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker told a Congressional committee the agency expects to finalize its regulations within the next 12 months. Previous forecasts had anticipated rules by the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.

“The rule will be in place within a year,” Whitaker said in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Hopefully before June 17, 2016.”