HAMBURG, Germany--Sure, Miniatur Wunderland is the world's largest collection of model trains, but to describe it that way would do it a serious injustice. What it really is is a beyond-belief collection of fantastic dioramas depicting scenes from the Swiss and Austrian Alps, Germany, the United States, and Scandinavia throughout which run 900 trains on the more than eight miles of tracks.
Boeing today said one of its 747-8 freighters will be the first commercial jetliner to do a transatlantic flight on "biologically derived fuel."
According to the aviation giant, Boeing's Keith Otsuka and Rick Braun, along with Sten Rossby of Cargolux, will pilot the new plane to the Paris Air Show on Monday using a 15 percent camelina-based biofuel mix. The remainder of the fuel will be traditional Jet-A kerosene.
In a press release, the company described camelina as a plant grown in Montana and processed by Honeywell, and said that the freighter doesn't require any modifications … Read more
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany--It's warming up in the Middle East, and as the mercury rises, so does the intensity of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that means the number of seriously injured American soldiers passing through here is also rising every day.
Ramstein is known as the U.S. military's gateway to Europe, since it's where most personnel touch down when deployed here, the Middle East, or Africa. It's also part of the Kaiserslauten Military Community, whose 54,000 U.S. citizens make up the world's largest concentration outside the United States. But it'… Read more
FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany--It's one of the most famous photographs ever--the Hindenburg exploding on its mast, lives instantly lost, the romance of a modern way of travel forever tainted.
That is probably true nowhere more than this modest city on the northern shore of Lake Constance, a place where zeppelins were invented and the Hindenburg called home.
Of course, that disaster took place in 1937, but here in Friedrichshafen, the memory of that famous airship, and its many German cousins, lives on every day at the Zeppelin Museum, an homage to an age long before jumbo jets, when flying across the Atlantic meant three days, but three luxurious days for sure.
The Zeppelin Museum is part history lesson, part cheerleader. Visitors--about 250,000 a year these days--are treated both to an education in the origins of the zeppelin as an aircraft, and to a bit of a love affair with the Hindenburg and its famous predecessor, the Graf Zeppelin.… Read more
"They've got a man up there. It's Gagarin."
With those fictionalized words (see video below), spoken by actor Jeff Goldblum in Philip Kaufman's terrific 1983 screen adaptation of Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff," millions of viewers were ushered into the era of manned space flight.
Goldblum's harried alert to a roomful of top American policymakers represents just a little of the reaction in the United States to what happened 50 years ago today, on April 12, 1961, when 27-year-old Flight Major Yuri Gagarin, who was born on a collective farm west of Moscow … Read more
Usually, when someone says "this is the coolest thing I've ever seen," you know that no matter what they're looking at, they're resorting to a little hyperbole.
But today, when I saw two videos taken from the window seat of a Virgin America flight that show Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo flying alongside in tandem (give the video about 35 seconds before the spaceship appears), my reaction was, well, "this is the coolest thing I've ever seen."
And that was before hearing the audio of the person shooting the video saying … Read more
If a technology being developed by aerospace giant Honeywell that helps airplanes land in very cloudy conditions wins regulatory approval, it could make a huge dent in weather-related delays throughout the aviation system.
The technology is called Enhanced Visual System/Synthetic Vision System (EVS/SVS), and it is designed to give pilots the information they need to land safely even when there is cloud cover near ground. Current U.S. rules mandate that pilots decide at the 200-foot mark if their ground visibility is good enough to land or if they need to circle around for another try. With EVS/… Read more
If a group of scientists can get their project off the ground, there's a chance U.S. air travelers may one day be able to bring aboard more liquids in their carry-on luggage again.
The team, led by Oklahoma State University chemistry professor Allen Apblett, has come up with what it says is a nanomaterial that can both detect and neutralize some dangerous explosives. If deployed in a practical manner at airports in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, it could, in theory, make it possible once again for some people to bring more liquids with them … Read more
SEATTLE--With the beautiful snow-covered mountains of Washington state behind it, Boeing's 747-8 Intercontinental made its first-ever landing today, four-and-a-half hours after taking off on its maiden flight.
The flight went about as well as could be expected, 747 chief pilot Mark Feuerstein said in a brief press conference at Boeing Field here, minutes after the plane touched down at 2:25 p.m. PT.
The plane, with its unique red, orange, and white livery, took off at 9:58 a.m. PT from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., and headed immediately toward the Olympic Peninsula, Feuerstein told the crowd … Read more
EVERETT, Wash.--For an airplane plane geek like me, today was a very good day.
Ostensibly, I was up here in this town about 30 minutes north of Seattle for the maiden flight of Boeing's all-new 747-8 Intercontinental, which took air for the first time at 9:58 a.m. PDT.
But while dozens of other reporters and I were waiting for the new 747 to take off, we got the chance to see something else that got the shutters working overtime: a 787 Dreamliner doing touch-and-go tests.
By now, the Dreamliner is, if not old news, then at … Read more