Medicine on the Move

April 15, 2011 1 comment

‘The Calling’ is a documentary about how aviation is being used to transform people’s lives in Ghana.

Check this :

Thanks to Flightglobal for the headsup.

Categories: Aviation, News

Redefine a jolt

April 13, 2011 1 comment

In a bizarre incident, an Air France A380 swats a Comair CRJ out the way at JFK. It is amazing to see how the CRJ is spun around by the impact. Wow.


Categories: Aviation, News

Japan radiation problem and UAVs

March 17, 2011 1 comment

It is so depressing to see the difficulties that Japan is going through now. First the earthquake, then the tsunami and now the even more dire-looking nuclear radiation situation.

Footage of attempts to cool the reactors by having military helicopters dump sea water on the reactors has emerged on Youtube :

While the military personnel and the plant workers are performing heroic deeds by risking their own lives,  it seems that there is a possible way to keep up a continuous supply of water to cool the nuclear plants. Why can’t we just use some Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAVs) to continuously pump water from the ocean to the plants till the cooling systems are operative? This seems like the exact situation where UAVs could be used to do ‘dirty & dangerous’  jobs without risking human lives. Also, using heli-UAVs in this situation would mean that you can basically hover over the plant and continuously dump seawater. Surely, UAVs like Boeing’s Hummingbird or Northrop Grumman’s FireScout would be able to to do this. Hopefully Boeing/Northrop Grumman/EADS/Lockheed Martin/IAI would volunteer and help the Japanese in these difficult times.

P.S. – I just wrote a quick post on Randy’s blog about this and hopefully he can pass it on to people better informed to make a judgement.

If this solution is workable, the other issue would be the disposal of the UAVs heavily impacted by radiation. Probably, there are ways to take care of that, but this would be far far better than risking human lives.

Something to think about..

P.S. – Just found this news article : [Article] The people working at the nuclear plant, many of them volunteers, are real heroes. Everything must be done to help them

Categories: Aviation, Boeing, News, UAV

The limits of small

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment

It is fairly clear that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are the wave of the present and are going to be well into the future. The size of UAVs spans an entire spectrum ranging from the really small (Micro Air Vehicles / MAVs like these) or the really large (High Altitude Long Endurance / HALE vehicles like these). Improving the capabilities of such vehicles, in terms of flight time, range and useful payload is an active area of research at both ends of the size scale.

However, as we progress to the extremes (especially the lower end),  it becomes clear that there is much we can learn from nature. Hummingbirds are fabulous examples of extreme flight demonstrating incredible stability, agility and maneuverability at small scales. Recently, AeroVironment, on a DARPA contract, demonstrated autonomous flight of a so-called Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) – the ‘Hummingbird’ . The vehicle is a replica of the hummingbird and looks so real that it would difficult to distinguish it from a real one if they were to appear together.

(Credit : Guy Norris, Aviation Week & Space Technology)

The demonstration is amazing for a couple of reasons :

– Ability to successfully demonstrate flapping flight as such small scales.

– Ability to maintain control in flapping flight at such small scales.

Presumably, aircraft like AeroVironment’s  ‘Hummingbird’ are to be used for surveillance purposes and this is bound to throw up a question the next time you see a hummingbird – is it looking for nectar in the flowers or is it pretending to look for nectar but actually spying on you?

Categories: Aviation, News, UAV

Getting Lucky..

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

On those rare occasions when you are lost for words and filled with a myriad emotions – optimism, joy and disbelief,  you know that you have experienced something out-of-this-world. A friend pointed me towards a video of NASA’s Discovery’s launch, but with an unusual twist. Witnessing a space shuttle launch in person is a surreal experience, but, a few really fortunate people got to see the Discovery from the air. Luckily for the rest of us, it was captured on camera.

A big Thank You! to NeilMonday who captured this video. 

There are no words to describe this glorious scene – Blue skies,  small fluffy clouds below and a view of space shuttle Discovery on its way. I just realized that this video is a wonderful example of this blog’s name. liberté de vol, in French, stands for Freedom of flight. After seeing this clip, there is Freedom in flight.

Hope you enjoy the video!

Categories: Aviation

Good blog..

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

If you are interested in aviation, especially from an Indian perspective, this is an excellent blog : Bangalore Aviation and is definitely worth a visit.

Categories: Aviation, Blogs

KC-46A it is…

February 25, 2011 1 comment

After years of delays, fierce debates, a re-bidding and intense public relations battles, the KC-135 tanker replacement contract was awarded to Boeing’s KC-767 tanker which was up against the EADS North America KC-30.

Valued at over $30 Billion, this competition was witness to many twists and turns that put the spotlight on the many different players involved. What was an evaluation of aircraft proposals quickly turned into debates on illegal state subsidies, WTO rulings, patriotism, outsourcing, jobs and Mobile, Alabama vs Everett, Washington.

With Boeing opening a second 787 line in Charleston, South Carolina, there was a general feeling that Boeing’s traditional workforce in Washington was being undermined. With the KC-46A expected to be built in Everett, Washington, this win would give Boeing’s workforce in Washington a big morale boost.

More details here :

Flightglobal AirlineReporter

Here’s the announcement (at the very end!) : Link (Credit : Flightglobal)

Thanks to Flightglobal and AirlineReporter.

Categories: Aviation, Boeing, EADS, News