Northrop's Flying Ram Would Have Sliced Enemy Planes in Midair

War drives technological innovation like little else. No proposal is too ambitious, impractical, or downright foolhardy for consideration if it provides a strategic advantage. This school of thinking has led to atomic bombs, autonomous vehicles, and, in 1945, a short-lived fighter prototype that could cut through enemy … » 4/17/14 11:42am Yesterday 11:42am

The Crazy Things Delta Does to Cancel Fewer Flights Than Any Airline

Last year, Delta Air Lines canceled fewer flights than any other airline, scratching just 0.3 percent of its flights. That's more than five times better than the industry average. It's an obsession for Delta, an airline that once ranked near rock-bottom for cancellations, and as The Wall Street Journal explains, the… » 4/03/14 12:40pm 4/03/14 12:40pm

Listen to the awesome cast of The Lion King start singing on a plane

This is either the best flight ever—if it wasn't delayed and you managed to eat and rest beforehand—or the worst flight ever—if you're trying to catch up on sleep and are stuck next to an oversized mouth breather. Still, I'd like to think that most people with a working heart that pumps blood would have a good time… » 4/01/14 11:14pm 4/01/14 11:14pm

Why It's Taking Satellites So Long to Find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Today, we're hearing yet another report about a satellite that has spotted "potential objects," which might be floating wreckage from the vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Today, those images come from France. Yesterday, the images came from China. Last week it was an Australian bird making discoveries. » 3/23/14 1:38pm 3/23/14 1:38pm

NASA's Vomit Comet Trains Astronauts in the Ways of Weightlessness

With limited lab space aboard the ISS and skyrocketing launch costs, only the very best extra-terrestrial experiments make it into orbit. To put prospective experiments and astronauts alike through their weightless paces over the last six decades, NASA has relied on a gracefully arcing series of cargo planes called The … » 3/16/14 11:00am 3/16/14 11:00am

This Absurd Flying Whale Ushered in a New Age of Stealth Technology

Not every program DARPA undertakes can be another Big Dog—the agency has had its fair share of fizzled experiments over the years—but even those failures can yield exciting new insights. Just look at the Northrop Tacit Blue, a plane so unwieldy it incorporated more redundancy than the Space Shuttle but also… » 3/14/14 11:40am 3/14/14 11:40am

How the Granddaddy of US Recon Planes Is Helping Search for Flight 370

The mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 off the coast of Vietnam has prompted a massive multinational maritime search for hints of the plane's fate. Among the growing armada of surface and aerial search vessels is the US Navy's venerable P-3C Orion, a long-range surveillance platform still just as… » 3/12/14 11:40am 3/12/14 11:40am

The 500 MPH Superplane That Bugatti Had to Hide From the Nazis

This is the Bugatti Model 100P: A 900 HP, 500 MPH, race plane imagined by none other than legendary automotive designer Ettore Bugatti, so technologically advanced that it could have single-handedly dominated the skies of WWII for Germany, had the Nazis ever gotten their hands on it. But after more than seven decades… » 3/10/14 11:40am 3/10/14 11:40am

You Must Read This Test Pilot's Story of an SR-71 Disintegrating Midair

This story has been kicking around the internet for awhile, but man oh man oh man is it worth a read. Test pilot Bill Weaver was flying an SR-71 Blackbird on an experimental evaluation flight when a malfunction at Mach 3.18 caused the plane to literally tear apart. Yet somehow, Weaver survived. » 3/08/14 1:00pm 3/08/14 1:00pm

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Is Having Wing Cracking Problems

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Boeing's long-suffering 787 Dreamliner has hit yet another snag: At least 42 newly-produced jets may have hairline fractures along the wings. Luckily, the planes haven't been delivered to buyers yet, but it's still bad news for Boeing. » 3/07/14 4:56pm 3/07/14 4:56pm