For sale: magnificent NASA supersonic plane model from the 1960s

This gorgeous 1960s aerodynamic test model of a NASA supersonic transport plane from the space agency's Langley Research Center can be yours for $5,685. On offer from Agent Gallery Chicago, it's approximately 51" long with a wingspan of 24" and "built of wood and composite materials." Unfortunately, one of the fins has snapped off but I'm sure the right person could work wonders with a little balsa wood, X-acto knife, and paint.

"RARE 1960'S NASA AERODYNAMICS SST MODEL" (via Uncrate)

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World's shortest scheduled flight may go electric

Loganair's flights between Westray and Papa Westray, two islands in the Orkneys off the British coast, are the world's shortest at only 1.7 miles. They're planning to go electric, either by replacing the current plane's engines or getting a new one.

It takes about two minutes - including taxiing - to complete the 1.7 mile Westray / Papa Westray leg flight, which is about the same length as the runway at Edinburgh Airport.

The record is 53 seconds. The short inter-island services are seen as an ideal possible route for electric planes as a limitation of the aircraft would be range.

As well as Westray and Papa Westray, the inter island routes via Kirkwall on mainland Orkney also serve Sanday, Stronsay, Eday and North Ronaldsay.

The flight spends as much time on the runway taking off and landing as it does in the air between the islands. Three airlines bid the last time the subsidized service came up for tender, according to the Orkney Islands Council News. Read the rest

World's longest nonstop commercial flight takes off this week

Starting Thursday, Singapore Airlines will offer a nonstop flight between Singapore to New York, becoming the longest commercial non-stop route at 19 hours in the air. That's 3 hours longer than Quantas Airlines' Perth to London long haul. To handle the distance, Singapore Airlines ordered nearly 50 of Airbus's new A350-900 ULR (for Ultra Long-Range). From CNN:

"The A350 is a clean-sheet design that has been designed for those long-range flights," Florent Petteni, Airbus' aircraft interiors marketing director for the A350, tells CNN Travel.

All A350s share Airbus' design philosophy that makes the aircraft cabin feel more like a room, rather than a long tube. The plane has high ceilings, sophisticated LED lighting, almost vertical sidewalls and a low noise level.

These features, along with a maximum in-cabin simulated altitude of just 6,000 feet, all combine to provide an improved passenger experience, according to Petteni.

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Baggage handler gives zero f*cks

This baggage handler looks like she's been at her job for a long time, effortlessly tossing luggage down the slide as if they were bags of marshmallows. Hopefully, marshmallows are what's in that luggage because anything else is likely to break. Read the rest

Watch these heart-pounding jet maneuvers from the pilot's POV

A very skilled pilot takes a Saab Gripen fighter jet through its paces, and his audio from the recording indicates just how physically and mentally taxing this kind of flying is. Read the rest

Secret Nazi experimental plane was an epic piece of vaporware

Behold the incredibly weird-looking Horten Ho 229 -- an all-wing "wonder weapon" plane that the Nazis frantically developed even as they were collapsing and losing WWII. Read the rest

Video: How the Red Arrow Aerobatic Team does their thing

I used to go to a lot of air shows when I was a kid growing up in Canada. I used to love seeing the American, British and French air forces show off their aircraft. It was always a thrill to see Canada's Snowbird aerobatic team show up to strut their stuff. Now, thanks to this video, I have a little insight into how they and other elite flying teams do what they do. Read the rest

Watch a Blue Angel surprise the hell out of some folks

One of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels surprises the hell out of some people yesterday during the Chicago Air and Water Show.

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Plane disappeared and crashed in Bermuda Triangle, family still missing

On Monday, a small plane with two adults and two young children disappeared from radar over the Bermuda Triangle. The Coast Guard has recovered parts from the plane but are still searching for the passengers, Jennifer Blumin, 40, her 3 and 4-year-old sons, and Nathan Ulrich, 52. Since the 1950s, the Bermuda Triangle, an area between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Florida, has been infamous for what many believe is a disproportionate number of mysterious aircraft and boat vanishings or accidents. From ABC News:

The plane was scheduled to fly from Puerto Rico to central Florida, but never arrived at its destination, according to the Coast Guard.

Miami Air Traffic Control reported that it lost radar and radio contact with the airplane just three hours into the flight, the Coast Guard added in a statement.

"There's no indication of significant adverse weather at the time," Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Kelly, a Coast Guard spokesman, told The Associated Press.

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Designing airplane interiors to feel bigger than they are

A commercial airline is no Tardis ("bigger on the inside") but designers and engineers do use several techniques to reduce your claustrophobia in the sky.

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Cabin video from Dubai crash landing: "Leave the bags!"

Moments before a crash-landed jet at Dubai airport burst into flames, amid screams and billowing smoke, passengers chock the aisle to fetch bags from overhead bins. The video starts sometime after evac begins, lasts more than 2 minutes, and ends before it's over: "Leave everything! Leave the bags!... Leave your bags behind! Jump!"

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Lithium batteries should be banned as cargo on passenger planes, says UN aviation watchdog

Planes that carry passengers should be prohibited from carrying large quantities of lithium batteries in cargo, a United Nations aviation watchdog says. Read the rest

You think holiday air travel sucks? Try flying while disabled. On American Airlines.

Air travel is degrading, stressful, and humiliating enough as it is, so imagine doing it when you can’t get up and walk off the plane.

The Concorde will fly again! (maybe)

Fans of the iconic supersonic Concorde aircraft hope to bring the plane back into the skies in the next few years. Club Concorde, a group of enthusiasts including pilots and frequent fliers, has more than $250 million they will use to buy one of the planes for display as a London tourist attraction and to purchase and restore another for air shows, special events, and private charter. The last flight of a Concorde was in 2003. From The Telegraph:

(Club Concorde president Paul) James will be well placed to cater to that demographic. During the aircraft’s heyday, he worked as a tour operator and chartered Concorde 19 times for luxury trips. A particularly extravagant excursion was a one-day visit to the pyramids in Cairo in 1982; priced at £780, it was marketed as the most expensive day trip in the world. He suggests that this future incarnation of the plane could be used, for example, to take groups from London to Monaco for the Grand Prix...

Jonathan Glancey, author of Concorde: the Rise and Fall of the Supersonic Airliner, believes the group could well succeed in their efforts. “So many people miss Concorde [and it] could certainly fly again given both financial and technical wings, while from a technical point of view there is nothing a team of expert and motivated engineers can’t tackle. For the moment, we should support it."

And of course, don't miss designer Lawrence Azerrad's Boing Boing feature about his love for this very special aircraft. Read the rest

Snake actually on a plane

Reuters: "The three meter-long (9.1 foot) non-poisonous Amethystine python appeared about an hour into the Qantas flight between Cairns in northern Queensland and the Papua New Guinean capital of Port Moresby on Thursday." Read the rest

How safe is safe?

The precautionary principle comes up a lot when you're talking about the side effects of technology in the real world. When you don't have evidence that something is dangerous — but you suspect it might be — you could cite the precautionary principle as a reason to ban or limit the use of that thing. It's a messy idea, though, and I'm still not sure what to think about it. On the one hand, technology is often available before data on the wide-ranging effects of that technology are available. Do you use it or not is a legitimate question. On the other hand, following the precautionary principle in a blind sort of way can lead to things like this. Read the rest

Composited, time-accelerated video of airport traffic

Filmmaker Cy Kuckenbaker composited four and a half hours of San Diego International Airport traffic into 25 seconds.

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