Midnight In The Desert — aviation

Virgin Galactic poised to start its new spaceship's test flights

Posted by K R on

Virgin Galactic poised to start its new spaceship's test flights

Virgin Galactic is ready to put its SpaceShipTwo replacement through a series of test fights, and according to Bloomberg, it will begin sometime in August. The private space corporation launched Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity in February to replace SpaceShipTwo, which crashed into the Mojave Desert back in 2014. It was named by Professor Stephen Hawking, shares a similar design with its predecessor and was created take paying customers on a short tour of outer space to the tune of $250,000 per seat. The Unity will be attached to another aircraft when it takes to the skies next month, though: full-powered,...

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Is commercial aviation as safe and secure as we're told?

Posted by K R on

Is commercial aviation as safe and secure as we're told?

On Thursday, May 19, EgyptAir flight MS804, traveling from Paris to Cairo, crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. All 66 passengers and crew members aboard were killed. Terrorism is suspected. This is the fifth major airline crash since the beginning of this year, a fact that may cause some people to wonder if flying is as safe as we’ve been taught to believe. As a criminologist who studies security and safety leadership, I have reviewed how the airline industry measures its safety record and examined four different kinds of threats – airport security, flight safety, regulations violations and cybersecurity – in...

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Area 51 spy plane and other aviation tales

Posted by K R on

Area 51 spy plane and other aviation tales

It looks like an upside-down bathtub with wings, pretty odd for a spy jet that was among the nation's most highly classified pieces of military hardware. As I stand in front of the plane code-named Tacit Blue at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, near Dayton, Ohio, I'm reminded that it still holds a bit of mystery. Engineers made fun of Tacit Blue's design by nicknaming it the Whale, but the program -- declassified in 1996 -- was deadly serious. It was all about stealth. Pentagon Cold War strategists desperately wanted to build planes that could evade Soviet...

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