UAVs / Satellites / Blimps

  • The world’s first "printed" aircraft flies

    Engineers have designed and flown the world’s first “printed” aircraft, which could revolutionize the economics of aircraft design; the plane is a UAV whose entire structure has been printed, including wings, integral control surfaces, and access hatches; it was printed on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, which fabricates plastic or metal objects, building up the item layer by layer

  • Texas A&M launches a blimp program

    Texas A&M is launching a new airship program to develop lighter-than-air (LTA) blimps; LTA systems generate lift force by using sufficient volume of a lighter-than-air gas, such as helium; heavier-than-air (HTA) systems, on the other hand, generate lift by a relative motion between the wings or rotor blades and ambient air; airships can contribute to a number of missions including disaster response, homeland security, and communications relay

  • Expanding Yuma flight testing schedule for Argus UAV

    The World Surveillance Group (WSGI) revealed its plans of extending the flight testing schedule for its strange-looking Argus One UAV at the Yuma facilities at the U.S Army grounds in Arizona

  • Texas gets second UAV

    Border agents in south Texas will be getting additional help thanks to the deployment of a second unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the area; currently there are four UAVs deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border and three of them are based in Arizona; the second drone is expected to arrive later this year or in the early part of next year.

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  • Satellites could predict next cholera outbreak

    With cholera making an unlikely resurgence, catching countries like Haiti and Pakistan by surprise, public health officials are exploring the potential for new technology to help stem the spread of future outbreaks; each year the disease affects three to five million people and claims more than 100,000 lives; researchers believe that satellite images of oceans could help forecast when a cholera outbreak is likely to strike

  • Pentagon: Global Hawk Drone “not operationally effective”

    The Pentagon has declared the latest Northrop Grumman Global Hawk drone “not operationally effective”; according to a report by the Pentagon’s weapon testers, the RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 30 could only provide 40 percent of the coverage requested; “Mission-critical components fail at high rates, resulting in poor takeoff reliability, high air abort rates, low mission capable rates, an excessive demand for critical spare parts and a high demand for maintenance support”; Pentagon officials declined to discuss the drone in too much detail but did say that they were working with Northrop Grumman to make improvements to the drone; defense officials have scheduled a production meeting for this month to discuss the program

  • Future UAVs will emulate birds

    Engineers at UC San Diego are mimicking the movement of bird wings to help improve the maneuverability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); this is important, because UAVs are quickly becoming popular tools for the armed forces, and there are also a myriad of civilian applications which are rapidly developing, such as border control, wildfire monitoring, search and rescue, and traffic observation

  • DARPA crowd-source next-gen UAV design

    DARPA has announced its UAVForge competition for the design of a user-intuitive, backpack-portable UAV which is also quiet, can stay aloft for at least three hours, and can fly in harsh condition; in addition to the $100,000 prize, the winning team will have the opportunity to showcase its design in an overseas military exercise

  • Arlington, Texas hopes to keep aerial drone

    The police department of Arlington, Texas is examining ways to fund an unmanned surveillance drone; the drone was originally purchased with grant money from DHS to assist local police officers with security during Super Bowl XLV held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington last February; the drone is still technically owned its unidentified manufacturer and the City Council is debating how to pay for the drone’s operation and maintenance

  • Quadrotor micro UAVs go mainstream

    A Canadian company develops small quadrotor micro UAVs for use by law enforcement, first responders, and the military; the company’s Scout has a range of three kilometers and maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour; it can fly through wind gusts of up to 80 km/h, and can cope with harsh weather conditions; the Scout is light — it weighs about one kilogram — and can be carried disassembled in a case and be assembled quickly by snapping its rotors into the main body

  • Goodyear changes blimps to Zeppelins

    There are few things more familiar to Americans than the Goodyear Blimp; no major sporting event would be complete without one of these blimps hovering overhead; during its long operational history, Goodyear has built and operated more than 300 airships; currently, the company has a fleet of three blimps, based in Ohio, Florida, and California; these blimps are reaching the end of their operational life, and Goodyear has signed an agreement with German company ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik to supply Goodyear with airships well into the next decade; the new Goodyear-Zeppelin airships will be slightly larger than the airships in Goodyear’s current fleet, fly faster, carry more passengers, and include state-of-the art avionics and flight control systems

  • Phantom Ray completes maiden flight

    Phantom Ray, Boeing’s fighter-sized unmanned airborne system (UAS), took to the early morning skies on 27 April at Edwards Air Force Base in California for its maiden flight; Phantom Ray is one of several programs in Boeing’s Phantom Works division, including Phantom Eye, which is part of a rapid prototyping initiative to design, develop, and build advanced aircraft and then demonstrate their capabilities

  • Texas lawmakers fight for more drones

    Texas lawmakers are pushing federal officials to deploy more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) along the state’s southern border with Mexico; currently one Predator drone patrols the skies above Texas’ border and the Gulf Coast, while three Predators operate out of Arizona and one in North Dakota; Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and two other congressman from Texas recently met with state and federal officials to lobby for the additional deployment of drones

  • Student aero-design competition to be held next week

    The Aero Design competition, to be held at the end of the month, is intended to provide undergraduate and graduate engineering students with a real-life engineering challenge; the organizers say the competition has been designed to provide exposure to the kinds of situations that engineers face in their real-life work environment; students will find themselves performing trade studies and making compromises to arrive at a design solution that will optimally meet the mission requirements while still conforming to the configuration limitations

  • Experts call for rules of the road for drone use in the Americas

    More and more Latin and Central American countries are using UAVs for domestic policing missions; these drones are employed as a high-tech answer by government to problems such as drug trafficking, gang violence, deforestation, and other illegal activities; experts say that Latin American countries should collaborate in developing a code of conduct that will prevent the arming of drones and assuage civilian concerns