GA Aircraft R&D

Wind Tunnel Time for Stratos

They haven't posted the press release on their website yet, but Stratos Aircraft just announced that they are another step closer to giving customers this much legroom in an aircraft that will hopefully be able to take 4 people 1500 miles at 400 knots.

They've raised enough funds to build a 1/8 scale model of their aircraft for wind tunnel testing to verify the computational fluid dynamics analysis that they've already done on their design.

Chinese Company Buys Continental Motors - Time for a Diesel Now?

AvWeb recently mentioned a deal that Teledyne struck with AVIC International, a Chinese company, to sell Continental Motors to AVIC subsidiary Technify Motors. (See TCM's press release here.)

This is a pretty big deal for several reasons. First, it's more aviation business going to companies based overseas. Thankfully, AVIC seems to have made a strong commitment to keeping Continental at their current location in Mobile, AL. Second, this move will hopefully provide Continental the capital it needs to develop a series of diesel aircraft engines.

First Flight of Fully-Conforming HondaJet

We've all been drooling over the HondaJet for some time. Honda did a great job of capturing our attention by surprising us with a polished-looking, fully functional aircraft that included some interesting new design features.

Although the prototype HondaJet looked great from a distance, I'm told it wasn't perfect up close. It definitely didn't conform to FAA standards for production Very Light Jets. Having gained a lot of knowledge from their prototype, Honda built a fully-conforming version and proudly announced its first flight this Monday.

John Monnett Flies Electric Waiex

VSS Enterprise Makes First Glide

Chris Christiansen: Homebuilt Hero

I'd love to build my own airplane. The performance, efficiency and fun available with experimental aircraft seems to double or triple what's available in the certified aircraft market at equivalent prices. The avionics (like Dynon's new Skyview system) do practically everything the most expensive stuff from Garmin or Avidyne at a fraction of the price. What's holding me back? Time and expertise. At least, that's what I've always told myself..."I'm just too busy to build the aircraft of my dreams and enjoy amazing flying..."

For better or for worse, Chris Christiansen just blew that argument out of the water.

X2 vs X3 vs V-22: Battle of the High-Speed Helicopters

One thing a pilot can never get enough of is speed. With airplanes and rockets, you can get about as much speed as you long as your bank account is fat enough. With helicopters though, there has been an upper limit...until now.

Retreating rotor stall happens at the point where the vehicle is moving forward faster than the rotor is spinning. It causes all kinds of problems and has limited the top speed of helicopters for years. (See for a good discussion of the phenomenon.)

Several companies have been working on ways to overcome this limitation and get faster helicopters. The first one to hit full production was Boeing's V-22 Osprey. It rotates the rotors so that they'll act more like propellers. It's a decent solution, but it involves a lot of moving parts...including rotating a pair of huge turboprop engines 90+ degrees. Other companies have other ideas.

Airbus: Catching Up With Our Imaginations

If you don't recognize this picture, you might not be as impressed by the latest development in aircraft design from airline manufacturer Airbus as I am. It's still worth mentioning though. (Thanks to for the picture.)

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