Who Wants a Nuclear Powered Cruise Missile?

Back in February 2019 when Russian news websites posted the first articles about the new Burevestnik “nuclear powered cruise missile”, I almost wrote about how ridiculous the idea was, since clearly nobody would be silly enough to build a nuclear powered cruise missile. The whole thing was surely just Russian propaganda exaggerating the abilities of a new project, like they had with the PAK-TA back in 2015. Fast forward to August 2019 and an apparent explosion during an engine test killed at least five people and spewed radiation into the atmosphere. I’m no longer so sure, maybe the Russians really Continue Reading

A Flying Rotor?

Helicopters are the ugly ducklings of the aerospace world. They are noisy, suffer from high vibrations and are much slower than fixed-wing aircraft. They have a shorter range and have higher maintenance costs. In short, people use helicopters when they have to, since they can land almost anywhere, but whenever there is is choice, fixed-wing aircraft are still the transport of choice. Is it Time for Something New? At the same unmanned rotorcraft have advanced greatly in recent years, such that consumer drones can now be purchased for the same price as a bicycle. Military drones such as the Northrop Grumman Continue Reading

Why We Will Never See a Solar-Powered Airliner

The recent adventures of Solar Impulse II almost completing a round-the-world flight (1st of August 2016 update: Congratulations to the Solar Impulse team, they have completed their circumnavigation!) have shown that solar-powered aircraft are undeniably possible. In an ever-changing world where aviation is under increasing pressure on both cost and environmental grounds to reduce fuel consumption, is it just a matter of time then until we see a completely solar-powered passenger aircraft? Let’s have a look at the numbers. Can we put Solar Panels on Everything? Aircraft use a huge amount of energy to fly, and the energy is stored very densely Continue Reading