To understand this map, think of Denver as the center of the universe. Created during World War II when airplanes were becoming common. It was an “air age” that shrunk the world down to flyable chunks, and new maps were created to show distance – in one tank of gas or two.
NASA has awarded the largest prize in aviation history, created to inspire the development of more fuel-efficient aircraft and spark the start of a new electric airplane industry. The technologies demonstrated by the CAFE Green Flight Challenge, sponsored by Google, competitors may end up in general aviation aircraft, spawning new jobs and new industries for the 21st century.
The first place prize of $1.35 million was awarded to team Pipistrel-USA.com of State College, Pa. The second place prize of $120,000 went to team eGenius, of Ramona, Calif.
“NASA congratulates Pipistrel-USA.com for proving that ultra-efficient aviation is within our grasp,” said Joe Parrish, NASA’s acting chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Today we’ve shown that electric aircraft have moved beyond science fiction and are now in the realm of practice.”
The winning aircraft had to fly 200 miles in less than two hours and use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the equivalent in electricity. The first and second place teams, which were both electric-powered, achieved twice the fuel efficiency requirement of the competition, meaning they flew 200 miles using just over a half-gallon of fuel equivalent per passenger.
“Two years ago the thought of flying 200 miles at 100 mph in an electric aircraft was pure science fiction,” said Jack W. Langelaan, team leader of Team Pipistrel-USA.com. “Now, we are all looking forward to the future of electric aviation.”
Electric vehicle pioneer Chip Yates is upping the ante in the world of electric airplanes. Today, the world-record holder for electric motorcycles announced plans for an all-electric recreation of Charles Lindbergh’s famous trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. And Yates isn’t content with just retracing the path across the Atlantic. He’s betting that like Lindbergh’s, his airplane will fly non-stop to Paris. Yates plans on flying at least as fast as Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, and for added challenge and recreation authenticity, he’ll fly relatively low to avoid getting an extra push from the jet stream.
Yates is currently preparing an existing airplane to serve as a test bed for his electrical propulsion system. The airplane is a modified Long-EZ, an efficient design from the desk of Burt Rutan. The first flight of the electric test bed is expected in July. And because it’s a Chip Yates project, he plans to set speed and altitude records with the airplane while testing.
“You could fly this route today in an unmanned solar craft at 80,000 feet being blown over there by the Jetstream, or in something incredibly slow, or in a balloon,” Yates said in a press release, “but that doesn’t get our society any closer to realizing long-range, legitimate payload, electric flight capabilities that everybody can actually benefit from.”
Nothing’s worse than coming home from a long flight to find your shampoo all over everything in your bag. Redditor thinkadinky has an easy fix: put some plastic wrap under the caps of your bottles.
Even if you use Ziploc bags as required by the TSA, this method still saves you from losing all that shampoo/lotion/whatever, and keeps it from getting all over your other toiletries. All you need to do is unscrew the cap, lay some plastic wrap over the hole, and screw it back on. You should be safe from any explosions that may come your way.
The Commercial Crew Program is responsible for helping companies develop vehicles that can ferry astronauts, and maybe civilians, to space. Could this lead to a ‘spaceline’ industry, a la the airlines?
An interview with Ed Mango, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program:
What’s the goal of the Commercial Crew Program?
We still have Americans in space. But we don’t have a way to get there. So the motivation for this small team I have is that we are the next organization within NASA that’s going to get American systems back into low Earth orbit.
Why is NASA relying on private companies instead of operating the flightsitself?
It fits with what has happened in the past. Look at how the airlines got started: Air Mail was run by the government, totally. Then eventually, the government didn’t want to be the ones to own airplanes, own airfields, employ the pilots — all that kind of stuff. So they said, “We’re going to contract this out.”
That became cargo capability. And as time went on, companies said, “We can transport people, not just cargo.” Thus, the birth of the airlines.