What once was considered the future of luxury flight is today but a relic that one can find in museums. The Concorde fleet of commercial planes, which still holds the record for the fastest traversing of the Atlantic, ended its dominion of the skies 15 years ago.
The two Concorde carriers, British Airways and Air France, officially announced that the Concorde was retired on April 10, 2003, with the last flight of the planes having taken place on June 27 for Air France and October 24 for the British carrier. This marked the end of 27 years of the aircraft’s operation and service.
The sleek aircraft boasted of an average cruise speed of 1,155 miles per hour, which was more than twice the speed of the conventional aircraft and over twice the speed of sound. But it had to be retired primarily due to the combination of steep maintenance cost and low passenger rates. The decline in passenger turnout was largely the result of an Air France Concorde crash in 2000, wherein 113 people perished just minutes after the plane took off.
Investigators said that the accident was caused by a piece of metal on the runway that burst a tire and led to the fuel tank igniting as the Concorde was leaving the tarmac. The 9/11 attacks of the following year also played a big part in the ceasing of operations, as fewer people were willing to fly for some time after, much less to pay expensive ticket fares.
Interestingly, as 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Concorde’s inaugural test flight, a group called Club Concorde is raising funds to purchase, restore, and bring one plane back in the air. If only to give what once was deemed the king of the skies one more fitting salute.
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First developed a few decades ago, the Blended Wing Body or BWB is a hybrid aircraft design that makes a plane look like a manta ray. The design was then strictly used for military applications, but NASA and its affiliates are now keen on further studying its potential for use in commercial flight.
The BWB concept is seen to offer certain advantages over conventional tube and wing airframes. Firstly, it combines high-lift wing with an airfoil-shaped body. This would allow aircraft to generate more lift while minimizing drag. The shape likewise offers significantly decreased fuel consumption even with a bigger cargo or passenger capacity in the middle of the aircraft’s body.
During the 1940s, the original BWB concept was used in the B-2 Bomber and the YB-49 military planes. These aircrafts had lighter and stronger metal frames and control surfaces on the trailing edge, following the same design principle as the current BWB which does away with the conventional tail assembly.
NASA believes that BWB can be used in large commercial planes. The configuration of the plane is efficient and would eat up 20 percent less fuel than most modern planes. Though BWB planes will have a slightly wider wingspan than a Boeing 747, they can operate in most airports in the U.S. These new planes are likewise seen to cost less to operate, weigh less, and generate less emissions and noise.
Scott Beale has been working in the aviation industry for more than two decades, successfully growing businesses, both which he acquired and founded. Through the years, he has developed competencies in account development and acquisitions, strategic and tactical planning, operational execution, and contract negotiations among others. For similar reads, visit this blog.
While most people can only board passenger aircraft, only elite pilots can commandeer fighter jets. These technological marvels fly in supersonic speeds and are armed for combat, ready for battle at a moment’s notice. And since the fighter jet has broken the sound barrier, advancements have continued to make them better. Here are some of the top fighter jets in the world.
Currently the best fighter jet in the world, the Lockheed Martin Boeing F-22 Raptor is the most powerful and most expensive fighter jet ever to be produced. When it flies, it is almost invisible to most radars. And while information regarding most of its avionics and sensors are strictly classified, what is known is that its latest versions can perform multiple roles in combat. It can fight in the air, as well as engage targets on the ground.
Another Lockheed Martin makes it to the list, this time it’s the F-35, also known as the Lightning II. This aircraft was developed under the Joint Strike Fighter program that aimed to replace existing jet aircraft with a common fighter type aircraft. Unlike the F-22 Raptor, the F-35 has a smaller build and only has one engine instead of two. Similarly, it also has advanced stealth technology which makes it harder to detect.
The third most advanced jet comes from Russia, the Sukhoi Su-57. It is considered to be Russia’s answer to the F-22. Like the Raptor, the Su-57 can also engage surface targets.
Scott Beale has been working in the aviation industry for more than 20 years, successfully growing businesses, both which he acquired and founded. For more updates on the aviation and aerospace defense industries, visit this blog.
For the longest time, commercial airlines have used the same tube and wing design. Regardless of how many engines or even size, the main design is still the same. There is one design which may be applicable for commercial use, the blended wing body design.
A blended wing body or a BWB aircraft has a hybrid shape that resembles a flying wing but also incorporates some features from commercial planes. Its airframe merges efficient high-lift wings with a wide airfoil-shaped body. This allows for the entire aircraft to generate lift instead of just the wings. By minimizing drag, this shape will help fuel economy while creating more areas for cargo and passengers alike.
The blended wing body design isn’t anything new. In fact, it was designed decades ago, and certain planes have already incorporated the design. The famous BWB plane has to be the B-2 bomber and the YB-49. The YB-49 was developed in the 1940s and used composite materials that are stronger and lighter compared to conventional metal planes. BWB planes are also known for having several control surfaces on the trailing edge as demonstrated by the B-2.
If a commercial airline decides to make use of a BWB design, it would truly be revolutionary. Ticket prices may go down with the savings on jet fuel, more people could be accommodated, and the new design could create unique interior designs never seen before.
Scott Beale is an aviation and aerospace professional with more than 20 years of leadership experience. For more reads on the aviation field, visit this blog.
Anyone who has ever taken a flight, international or domestic, knows that the number on your ticket is the key to everything. It tells you where to go, it helps you find your flight on the departures and arrivals board, and it is one of the main ways that you keep track of yourself and your luggage at the airport.
Visions of a war fought with robotic soldiers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or a drone, has been for decades, deemed the fodder for science fiction lore. However, the military capabilities of drone aircraft have taken aviation warfare into a new Sci-Fi age. Does this mean the next great fighter ace will be a drone? Not necessarily.
The landscape of ground warfare changes slowly. However, the environment surrounding air assaults can be altered in an instant. There is an inherent delay in communications, if ever so slight, between ground control and a drone. With reaction time being so vital real time success in air combat, humans are still critical to the success of these missions.
People who fly will notice that once they land, they feel incredibly tired and lethargic. This happens even if the flight was long enough to have a nap. Have you ever wondered why flying makes you feel tired? There could be several factors at play.
Reduced Humidity The air that is circulated into the airplane cabin is brought in from the outside atmosphere. The air that exists so high in the atmosphere is surprisingly void of moisture which means that the air you breathe during a long flight is dry. Dry air can cause you to develop dehydration. Dehydration causes lethargy and tiredness because it means that your blood volume has been reduced and isn’t providing necessary oxygen to your muscles and organs. The best way to combat this type of exhaustion is to drink plenty of water while in flight.