A WWII aircraft crashed in the Hudson River, expandable habitats in space, pilots almost landed an Indian airliner on a road, and a new “home-aircraft” with vertical take-off abilities promises to replace your private car. May around the world
Tal Giladi | Translation: Ofri Aharon
A WWII Era Aircraft Crashed in New York
History is sinking: a WWII era heritage aircraft crashed in the Hudson River in New York this month. In an event to mark 75 years since its production, the pilot attempted to perform a partial loop maneuver when smoke started emerging from the aircraft as it crashed into the river. An eye witness stated: “It made a kind of a U-turn, a stream of smoke suddenly bellowed from it and it tilted toward the water. In the beginning I thought they were doing some sort of maneuver, but then the plane crashed.”
The Thunderbolt P-47 aircraft belonged to the American Air Force Museum, where it had been on display until now. It was a single-seater, single-engine aircraft, one of the heaviest used by the Allied Forces during WWII. It entered service in 1942 and in was flown from time to time in the past few years for aerial displays.
A WWII era Thunderbolt P-47 crashed in the Hudson River in New York
Slow! Airliner Crossing
How would you react if you saw an airliner landing on a street in your neighborhood? This almost happened to an “IndiGo” flight to the Rajasthan district in India. The pilots mistook a road in the city near the airport for a landing strip. Thanks to a warning they received in the cockpit, they realized their mistake, took off again and landed in the correct destination. This incident that could have ended in a catastrophic accident, took place in February, and was revealed by Indian news networks this past month. An Indian aviation authority was quoted saying that the aircraft was 900 meters high, just seconds away from landing on the road. Both pilots have been grounded until the end of the investigation.
An “IndiGo” aircraft almost landed on a city road
Living in Space
Human presence in space is an age old aspiration, but now an American billionaire’s idea might make the dream of life in space more tangible than ever. Robert Bigelow invented a new model of housing, expandable habitats in space. It is basically a foldable package loaded into a rocket that will be launched to space where it will be blown up into a so called expandable habitat, which is completely livable. The project’s name is BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) and Bigelow claims that it is the first step towards permanent settlement on the moon.
The BEAM will soon be transported to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the hope of being placed on board SpaceX’s “Falcon 9” rocket, about to make its way to the international space station. It will be attached to the station by a robotic arm and then the astronauts will send a command which will release compressed air into the BEAM until it reaches a width of 3.2 meters and a volume of 16 cubic meters. Then, it will up to the astronauts to test how long it is possible to live in the BEAM, the pace of air leakage and the temperature inside the habitat. In fact, this isn’t the first time such an idea has been developed, NASA also tried a similar idea in the 90’s as a part of a project called “Transit Habitat”. The rationale behind this project was, to create an inflatable aircraft to be used in the journey to mars. The plan was canceled due to budget cuts, however, Bigelow, who was too eager to give up, bought the rights for the aircraft’s design and the patent for the multi-layer inflatable walls.
In the meantime, plans for the next step of the plan are in development, after the BEAM, the B330 will arrive, a practical habitat for a team of six, which will include private beds and windows and will be able to connect to different spaceships. It will weigh about 19.5 tons, two times the “Falcon” Rocket’s maximum carry weight and therefore the efforts are currently focused on finding a rocket able to carry it. In other words: don’t cancel your lease contract just yet.
A new development of expandable habitats is trying to make the dream of living in space a reality
A Small Aircraft with VTOL Ability
Remember when we told you about the flying car that could replace private cars last month? A new advancement in the developing field we like to call “home aviation”, offers a light aircraft that has VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) abilities similar to helicopters and can land in your backyard. Four engineers and doctoral students from the Technical University of Munich are currently developing the two-seater aircraft with electric engines, vertical take off abilities that can land on roofs of buildings and other small spaces. The aircraft will take off vertically like a helicopter by utilizing thrusters. It is called “Lilium” and is expected to land in the market by 2018.
Lilium is ESA approved and was recently presented at an exhibition held for it. Because it is electrically activated, it is environmental-friendly and because of its small size, it doesn’t need to land in airports, as it can also land on helicopter landing pads on high buildings. It can reach the speed of 400 KiH and up to 3 km height. Its manufacturers say it is the perfect aircraft for day-to-day needs and suitable for cities. Its price has not been publicized but the purchase waiting list has already been opened.
The in-development “Lilium” flying “car” has al ready received ESA approval