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A front view of the 3d-printed UAV airframe
Because 3D printing allows one-off items to be created quickly and cheaply, it should come as no surprise that the technology has already been used to produce unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Engineers at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC), however, have taken things a step farther. They've made a 3D-printed UAV airframe that's designed to minimize the amount of material needed in its construction, and that can be printed and in the air within a single day.  Read More
The dragon can shoot fire three feet while on the ground
A couple of years ago, a man named Rick Hamel created one of the most insane remote-controlled flying machines you'll ever witness. No, it's not an airplane or helicopter, or anything that mundane. Instead, he created a dragon that actually shoots fire and reaches airborne speeds of up to 70 mph (112.6 km/h). Now, this beast is actually for sale via Hammacher Schlemmer, with a staggering US$60,000 price tag.  Read More
The StratoBus will hover up out of the way of airliners, but won't need to be launched int...
Satellites may be very useful for communications, navigation and other applications, but they're awfully expensive to build and launch, and once they're in orbit ... well, there's no reusing them. That's why a consortium led by Thales Alenia Space is developing the StratoBus. It's a planned autonomous airship that can be launched like a regular blimp, but that will be able to hover at an altitude of 20 km (12 miles) – that's up in the stratosphere, hence the name.  Read More
The LA100 Version2 is Wi-Fi-equipped, and works with the new OperationCenter app
A couple of years ago, France’s Lehmann Aviation introduced its LA100, a fully autonomous fixed-wing UAV designed to carry a user-supplied GoPro Hero camera. Now, the company has announced the LA100 Version2, which features Wi-Fi connectivity and a new Windows Phone 8-based OperationCenter control interface app.  Read More
The MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, Califo...
The Triton UAV's initial flight test program, which kicked off with the unmanned aircraft's first flight last May, has been completed. Now cleared to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights, the Triton is on track to be introduced into the US Navy fleet in 2017.  Read More
The new coating protects airplane engine components from heat damage, while lasting longer...
The higher the temperature at which an aircraft engine is able to run, the more efficiently it uses fuel. In order to run at those high temperatures, the metal components of airplane engines are presently treated with heat-shielding coatings. Scientists at Sweden's University West, however, are developing a new such coating that is said to be far more effective than anything presently used – it could extend the service life of engines by 300 percent.  Read More
Goodyear's new airship will enter service this northern summer
The Goodyear blimp may have been flying around for almost 90 years, but it still manages to turn heads. On Friday, there was another reason to look beyond nostalgia for the days of the great airships of old as Goodyear unveiled its new state-of-the-art blimp to the media, Goodyear associates and dealers at its Wingfoot Lake hangar in Suffield, Ohio. Built in partnership with the Zeppelin company, the new craft that replaces the 45-year old GZ-20 blimp fleet is not only larger and faster, it isn’t even a blimp, but a semi-rigid airship.  Read More
DARPA is working on revolutionizing rotorcraft technology
Helicopters and other rotorcraft are impressive bits of technology, but the only place where they match the performance of fixed-wing aircraft is in bad 1980s television. That may soon change with DARPA announcing the selection of four companies to compete in the next phase of its Vertical Take Off and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program. The four companies are tasked with developing unmanned demonstrator aircraft designed to increase the performance of VTOL rotor aircraft while reducing their complexity.  Read More
The Watchkeeper UAV has be given the go ahead for military flight tests (Photo: Richard Se...
Since first taking to the air in June 2009, trials of the UK's homegrown Watchkeeper tactical unmanned aerial vehicle have been conducted by industry partners including QinetiQ. The UK Ministry of Defence has now announced the aircraft has been awarded a Release To Service, clearing the way for flight training to begin with the Royal Artillery.  Read More
DARPA's ARES consists of a VTOL flight module capable of carrying several different types ...
Helicopters are an invaluable military resource for transporting supplies, carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance, and evacuating casualties from rugged terrain. Unfortunately, they are also a finite resource. That's why DARPA is looking to share the load with the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) concept, a compact, high-speed and highly-automated delivery system with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities.  Read More

Spike Aerospace has announced that its S-512 will feature a windowless cabin
Aircraft windows have always been a sticking point in the bid to go faster, cheaper and safer. As well as creating drag, the additional structural support and parts required for windows add weight to the plane. Spike Aerospace is set to overcome these problems by doing away with cabin windows altogether in its S-512 jet, and replacing them with video screens embedded in the interior walls.  Read More
The UAE is planning to use drones to deliver official government documents (Photo: Shutter...
The United Arab Emirates is set to deploy unmanned drones to deliver official government documents such as driving licenses and identity cards within a year, according to a report from Reuters.  Read More
The Scan Eagle UAV, and the Cessna that it knew not to fly into
In a recent flight test in Australia, a Scan Eagle UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) succeeded in visually identifying an approaching Cessna aircraft, and letting its own ground-based operators know that evasive action was required. It's being hailed as a major step towards the allowance of UAVs in commercial airspace.  Read More
The Hubsan X4 FPV is likely the world's smallest quadcopter that can be flown by first-per...
It was just a few months ago that we showed you what is probably the world's smallest consumer quadcopter, the tiny Estes Proto X. Although it's a marvel of modern engineering, Gizmag writer Jonathan Fincher noted that it lacks any particularly interesting features, such as a camera. Well, late last year, Hubsan released its X4 H107D FPV. It's not much bigger than the Proto X, and it has a camera that transmits a real-time video signal to the user. When I heard about it, I knew I had to try it out.  Read More
FlexSys' variable geometry airfoil, the FlexFoil
If there's one thing that needs to be aerodynamic, it's an airplane wing. Conventional wing designs however, suffer from a glaring weakness in this respect: the joint where the main wing meets the trailing flaps. Michigan-based FlexSys has developed a way to optimize wing aerodynamics with FlexFoil, a seamless variable geometry airfoil system that could deliver fuel savings of up to 12 percent.  Read More
Boeing is seeking approval to fly aircraft on green diesel
Over the past few years, we've heard about "green" airliners running on a mixture of jet fuel and biofuels made from things like plants and recycled cooking oil. Now, Boeing is looking at blending jet fuel with green diesel, which is already used to fuel trucks.  Read More
Endangered White Rhinos such as these could soon be getting some protection from an aerial...
Aerial drones, whether they be dropping bombs, books or burritos, have attracted a certain degree of controversy in recent times. While the potential of the technology is plain to see, many aren't convinced that the benefits will outweigh the risks associated with unmanned vehicles zipping about in the sky above. With its recent field testing of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to protect an ailing rhino population, Airware are determined to help the industry shed some of these negative connotations.  Read More
The Pocket Drone, prior to being folded up
The original DJI Phantom quadcopter is now priced below US$500, and it's designed to carry a GoPro camera. However, while the copter could conceivably be stuffed into a backpack, doing so might be a little ... awkward. That's why the guys at San Diego-based AirDroids created the Pocket Drone. It squeaks in under the $500 mark and is made to carry a GoPro, but it also folds down for easy transport. What's more, its battery runtime is about twice that of the Phantom.  Read More
The Phantom FC40 is one of two quadcopters recently introduced by DJI
Last year right around this time, DJI Innovations released its original Phantom quadcopter. The fact that the aircraft was designed to carry a GoPro camera made it quite popular. Then in November, the company started selling the Phantom 2 Vision model, which features its own built-in Wi-Fi-controlled HD camera. It's pretty awesome, but at US$1,199 it's priced $720 more than the base Phantom. Now, DJI has introduced two new models that occupy the middle ground between those two price points.  Read More
Tornado aircraft have flown with 3D-printed functional components on board for the first t...
Aerospace is one of the industries set to benefit from the 3D printing revolution, with last year's test of 3D-printed rocket engine components by NASA being just one example of the shape of things to come. Now BAE Systems has revealed that 3D-printed functional components designed and produced by engineers at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Marham military airbase have flown for the first time in Tornado fighter jets taking off from BAE Systems' company airfield at Warton in Lancashire.  Read More

Gizmag looks back at the top five drone stories of 2013
Although aerial drones been around in one form or another since World War I, it hasn’t really been until the last decade that they’ve really taken off, so to speak. Where they were once restricted to a spot of battlefield reconnaissance, in addition to military applications, drones are now used for everything from agriculture to oil prospecting and by everyone from rescue workers to real estate agents. Although the technological advances and proliferation of drones has accelerated over the past decade, 2013 was the year that the technology really entered the public consciousness. So let’s have a look back at Gizmag’s pick of the top drone stories of 2013.  Read More
Gizmag looks at the top five aeronautical stories of 2013
It’s almost 2014 and time for a bit of aeronautical reflection as we look back at what records were broken, which new prizes were won, and what new technologies promise us a hypersonic, jet-packed future of aviation and innovation. So let’s have a glance at Gizmag’s pick of the top five aeronautical achievements of 2013.  Read More
Spike Aerospace's S-512 is a supersonic business jet designed to travels at speeds of up t...
With the Cessna Citation X set to receive FAA certification in early 2014 and knock the Gulfstream G650 off it's world's fastest civilian aircraft perch thanks to its maximum operating speed of Mach 0.935, Boston-based Spike Aerospace is looking to leave both those aircraft in its wake with its S-512. Spike says its S-512 will be the world's first supersonic business jet, boasting a cruising speed of Mach 1.6, and a maximum speed of Mach 1.8.  Read More
'Quick Robin, to the AirMule!'
If you saw The Dark Knight Rises, then you no doubt remember the very cool-looking Batwing aircraft in which Mr. Wayne flew over the streets of Gotham. Perhaps you thought that while it was pretty impressive, there was no way that anything like it could work in real life. Well hey, guess what? The Batwing-like AirMule VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) prototype aircraft recently demonstrated its ability to fly autonomously, bringing it one step closer to carrying out a full mission demo.  Read More
A Sense and Avoid (SAA) system that allows UAVs to operate safely around other aircraft in...
Palmdale, CA. General Atomics Aeronautical System, Inc. (GA-ASI), the maker of the Predator and Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) successfully completed the first of several flight tests of a prototype Sense and Avoid (SAA) system, that allows a UAV to see and avoid other aircraft in flight.  Read More
The DelFly Explorer MAV in flight
We've seen autonomous MAVs (micro air vehicles) before, and we've seen flapping-wing MAVs before. According to a group of researchers from the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology, however, we've never seen an autonomous flapping-wing MAV – until now. Yesterday the four-man team announced its DelFly Explorer, which is described as "the first flapping wing Micro Air Vehicle that is able to fly with complete autonomy in unknown environments."  Read More
E-volo's Volocopter takes to the air for the first time last month
The maiden flight of e-volo's 18-rotor Volocopter electric aircraft prototype last month seems to have impressed quite a few people. The company is claiming a European crowdfunding record after raising €1.2 million in under four days.  Read More
SkyJack was made from a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 like the one pictured here
Amazon's Prime Air announcement last week brought concerns about the use of commercial drones to the fore, but one programmer may have just muddied the waters even more. Notable hacker Samy Kamkar recently modified a Parrot AR.Drone 2 with his custom software, called SkyJack, allowing it to seek out the wireless signals of other UAVs and take control of them, even while in flight.  Read More
The new-and-improved PowerUp 3.0
Early this year we first heard about PowerUp 3.0, a kit that converts an ordinary paper airplane into a powered, smartphone-controlled flying aircraft. Inventor Shai Goitein has made some improvements to the product since then, and recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance its large-scale production. At the time of this posting, he's exceeded his funding goal by over 960 percent.  Read More
A quadcopter running the algorithm is able to remain in control, even after losing one pro...
Whether it's for Amazon-purchased goods, text books or defibrillators, unmanned multicopters are increasingly being considered for use as delivery vehicles. Given that this would involve their flying over heavily-populated areas, however, many people are rightly concerned about the aircraft malfunctioning and crashing down onto someone below. That's why researchers at ETH Zurich have created a control algorithm that allows any quadcopter to keep flying, even if it loses multiple motors or propellers.  Read More

According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the drones will deliver packages to customers within 3...
As early as 2015, your Amazon purchases could be dropped at your door within 30 minutes courtesy of unmanned aerial drones. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed plans for the delivery service dubbed Prime Air (an extension of Amazon Prime which guarantees two-day shipping) in a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night.  Read More
The SmartPlane can be controlled by tilting the connected iOS device
Parrot's AR Drone quadcopter has been strutting its smartphone-controlled stuff for a few years now, but fixed wing remote controlled aircraft have been a little thinner on the ground – and in the air. TobyRich, a German company specializing in smartphone-controlled gadgets, has now launched its SmartPlane, which it calls "the first smartphone-controlled airplane in the world."  Read More
New York University's flying jellyfish (Photo: Leif Ristroph)
What could be better than a jellyfish-inspired machine that swims underwater? Well, how about one that flies in the air? A group of scientists from New York University have created just such a contraption, and it could have big implications for tiny flying robots.  Read More
Artists drawing of the Zee.Aero concept for a vertical take-off-and-landing (VTOL) flying ...
Zee.Aero, a small company located near the GooglePlex, home to Google, is working on a flying car concept that can take off and land vertically using a plethora of small electric motors turning four-bladed propellers. According to illustrations included with the patent filings, one version of the vehicle is narrow enough to fit into a standard shopping center parking space.  Read More
Artist's concept of the HammerHead UAV on a mission (Photo: Piaggio)
There was an unusual shape in the skies over Italy last week as the Piaggio Aero Company and Selex ES successfully completed the first flight of the aptly-named Hammerhead UAV on Thursday, November 14, near the Trapini Air Force Base. The aircraft was remotely controlled from the ground, with no crew on board, while two chase planes kept the UAV in sight during the flight.  Read More
The 18-rotor electric Volocopter has taken to the air for the first time
E-volo recently celebrated the maiden launch of its electric two-passenger, 18-rotor VC200 "Volocopter," touting the vehicle's safety and simplicity after an indoor flight inside the Dm-arena in Karlsruhe, Germany on November 17. While the copter is similar in form to both quadcopters and helicopters, the company resists the helicopter label, pointing out the numerous radically different safety and design choices that set the vehicle apart.  Read More
The Morph concept would allow passengers to purchase additional sitting width
Economy airline seats have a one-size-fits-all design that seems to fit hardly anybody and often makes flights of any length into an extended exercise in discomfort. Last week, London-based design firm Seymourpowell presented Morph – a new concept economy seat for airline travel that uses stretched fabric sheets and movable supports to allow passengers to customize their seats and even purchase extra width.  Read More
Boeing has launched its new 777X, 777-8X and 777-9X aircraft
Boeing has launched its newest airliner, the 777X, at the 2013 Dubai Airshow. The aircraft is designed with folding wing-tips that will increase wingspan and, as a result, fuel efficiency without limiting access at airports.  Read More
It's actually a little startling to pick the Proto X up for the first time, because it isn...
You may have noticed that we enjoy our quadcopters here at Gizmag, from the GPS-equipped Phantom 2 Vision to the palm-sized 1SQ V-cam. Recently though, we had a chance to try out a somewhat unusual style of quad in the form of the tiny Proto X from Estes. It may not have a laundry list of features under its belt, but the Proto X does hold the distinction of being the smallest quadcopter we've ever reviewed ... by a huge margin.  Read More
Artist's concept of the London Britannia Airport
Sometimes, success brings its own problems. London’s airports may have managed to grab a considerable chunk of the passenger air market, but the result has been congestion over the south of England and a desperate clamor for new runways. This week, the Thames Estuary Research and Development Company (Testrad) consortium unveiled details of a scheme designed to take the pressure off. Its London Britannia Airport proposal involves building an artificial island in the Thames Estuary near the Isle of Sheppey to provide the capital with a larger airport, which would replace Heathrow.  Read More

The ESTOLAS combines features of a plane, helicopter, hovercraft and airship in one aircra...
As evidenced by ongoing efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, getting aid and support personnel in and victims out of disaster-stricken areas is a major problem when infrastructure such as runways has been rendered unusable. A new aircraft concept combining features of an airship, plane, helicopter and hovercraft that is being developed as part of the European Commission's Extremely Short Take Off and Landing On any Surface (ESTOLAS) project could help address the problem.  Read More
Passengers on European airlines will be able to use mobile electronic devices 'gate-to-gat...
The European Aviation Safety Agency is following in the footsteps of the US Federal Aviation Administration by easing restrictions on the use of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) by passengers during flights.  Read More
Gizmag takes a turn behind the joysticks of DJI's new Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter
It was less than two weeks ago that DJI Innovations released its Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter, the camera-equipped successor to its popular Phantom model. Since then, I've received a review unit from the company, which I've had a few chances to try out – between snowfalls and high winds, that is. My verdict? It's awesome, despite a couple of surprising shortcomings.  Read More
The HX-1 Rescue Helicopter (Photo: Mike Hanlon/Gizmag)
The Hirobo stand at the International Robotics Exhibition in Tokyo this week was full of surprises. The first was the appearance of the HX-1 unmanned electric helicopter, due to go into production before the end of the year, but an even bigger surprise was in store when you opened the brochure – details of the company's planned personal (manned) BIT electric micro helicopter.  Read More
The Citation X has been confirmed as the world's fastest civilian aircraft
In the wake of the Gulfstream G650 claiming a new around-the-world speed record for a certified civilian aircraft, Cessna is signaling that the record will be short lived. On its way to certification, Cessna's Citation X recently wound up all high-speed certification flights with the FAA, which confirmed the aircraft as the fastest civilian aircraft in the world.  Read More
The MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter's maiden flight lasted seven minutes (Photo: Alan...
The next-generation MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter has taken to the air for the first time at Naval Base Ventura County in California. Built by Northrop Grumman around a Bell 407 helicopter, the MQ-8C is designed to boast twice the endurance and three times the payload capacity of the MQ-8B variant that has clocked up over 5,000 flight hours in Afghanistan.  Read More
JetBlue flew the first flight under the new regulations (Photo: JetBlue)
On Thursday, the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) eased regulations against airline passengers using their Personal Electronic Devices (PED) during the flight. On Friday at 4:30 PM EDT, only 15 minutes after receiving FAA approval for the regulation change, JetBlue’s Flight 2302 from New York's JFK to Buffalo became the first commercial flight to allow passengers to use their PEDs gate-to-gate.  Read More
Artist's concept of the SR-72 (Image: Lockheed Martin)
When the last SR-71 Blackbird was grounded in 1998 it was a double blow. Not only did aviation lose one of the most advanced aircraft ever built, but also one of the most beautiful. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has now revealed that it is building a successor to the Blackbird: the SR-72. Using a new hypersonic engine design that combines turbines and ramjets, the company says that the unmanned SR-72 will be twice as fast as its predecessor with a cruising speed of Mach 6.  Read More
The SkyRunner in flight
Back in 2008, we heard about a parasail-equipped dune buggy, known as the Parajet Skycar. It could scramble over rough ground like a true off-roader, but then take to the skies when needed. One epic 6,000-km (3,728-mile) drive/flight from London to Tombouctou later, its creators got some ideas about how the design could be improved. The result is the lighter, better-flying and less-polluting SkyRunner – and you can order one now.  Read More
DJI Innovations' new Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter
DJI Innovations unveiled its GPS-enabled Phantom quadcopter less than a year ago, and since then it has become perhaps the go-to aerial platform for the GoPro HERO actioncam. In April, the company provided us with a sneak peek at the next model in the line, the Phantom 2 Vision. While there weren't many details available at the time, that's changed as of today, with the Vision's official commercial release. Among its new features are improved battery life, a video-stabilizing platform and most significant of all, an included HD video camera that allows for first-person-view via a mobile device.  Read More

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