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Posts Tagged ‘Boeing 747’

First solar-powered plane unveiled (and are these the world's bravest pilots?)

It has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 but weighs less than a small car – and could be the first plane to fly around the world powered entirely by the sun.

This is the Solar Impulse, unveiled in Switzerland, which its inventor hopes will revolutionise air travel and reduce its impact on the environment.

Prospective passengers might need some convincing, however, that it is capable of staying up in areas where the sun picks and chooses its moments, ie, Britain.

Not adventurer Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, though, they are the pilots of this ground-breaking craft, making them possibly the bravest in the world.

Bertrand Piccard and co-pilot Andre Borschberg are set to begin tests on the solar powered plane

They are planning to prove the airplane’s viability with a round-the-world trip, although the scheduled take-off date, 2012, suggests they are in for a few more turbulent test flights.

He said: ‘Yesterday it was a dream, today it is an airplane, tomorrow it will be an ambassador of renewable energies.’

Innovation: The solar plane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747

The plane, part of a £70million project, will fly day and night using almost 12,000 solar cells, rechargeable lithium batteries and four electric motors.

The engines provide just 40 horsepower so the plane will take off at 22 mph, accelerating at altitude to an average flight speed of 44 mph.

Launch: The Solar Pulse was unveiled in Switzerland yesteday

Unlike the first nonstop round-the-globe balloon trip which Mr Piccard co-piloted in 1999, the solar flight will have to make stops to allow for pilots to switch over and stretch after long periods in the cramped cockpit.

The first test flights will be later this year, with a complete night voyage planned for 2010.

Mr Piccard, 51, who comes from a family of adventurers, said: ‘It will be like the Wright brothers.

‘We will start one metre above the ground, then three metres, then five metres. When that works, we’ll be able to take it to altitude.’

But the solar plane cannot fly in bad weather because the solar panels are needed for day flying and for charging the 400-kilogram lithium batteries that power the plane by night.

Mr Borschberg said: ‘We’ll certainly avoid stormy situations. We’ll avoid rain as well, because you cannot collect energy in this weather. So the challenge for the team will be to find a path that is favorable.’

Mr Piccard says the plane should also serve as an inspiration for inventors and manufacturers of everyday machines and appliances.

‘If an aircraft is able to fly day and night without fuel, propelled solely by solar energy let no one come and claim that it is impossible to do the same thing for motor vehicles, heating and air conditioning systems and computers.’

The £75m lightning conductor that is testing the Eurofighter's mettle

How does the RAF ensure its new Eurofighters can survive a direct lightning strike and stay intact while doing Mach 2 at 65,000ft? By zapping one with 200,000 amps at a top-secret bunker in Lancashire.

Test target: The Eurofighter stands in position at the underground facility

The lead-lined walls (1) of the Electronic Warfare Testing Facility in Warton, Lancashire, are covered in treated foam-rubber cones to prevent electromagnetic radiation leaking out – or in. This facility is one of dozens used to test the Eurofighter. 

The tests carried out using these mobile generators (2) ensure the plane can withstand electromagnetic pulses from nuclear weapons. A short, sharp burst of electricity of up to 200,000 amps simulates a lightning strike. 

Commercial aircraft are also tested against lightning – but since the Eurofighter can fly twice as fast and 50 per cent higher than a Boeing 747, its lightning tests are far harsher. 

The Eurofighter is largely made of carbon-fibre composites to keep it light. Special conduction channels throughout the aircraft (3) carry the current of a lightning strike to earth without damaging systems or accidentally rebooting the plane’s computers. 

In order that the fighter’s electronic warfare systems can be tested in electronic ‘silence’, the isolated chamber is shielded against everything from radio to microwaves. Jets such as the Eurofighter carry so many sensors that they can also double as spy planes on the modern battlefield.

Electromagnetic pulse emitters (4) can be placed anywhere in the chamber – and the floor rotated – to simulate various surface-to-air missile attacks. The shielded space enables engineers to measure the Eurofighter’s response – first, its sensors ‘listen’ for enemy radars, then the pilot can detect and track incoming threats, and deploy chaff, electronic rays or a decoy behind the plane.

This unmanned hydraulic rig tests the £75m Eurofighter for stress, 24 hours a day – and the pictured airframe has already ‘flown’ 4,500 hours, more than any operational Eurofighter. Each wing is tested with up to 400 kilonewtons of force, the equivalent of balancing 50 small cars on them. In 6,000 hours of testing, the airframe will undergo the stresses of 30 years’ flight – the lifetime of the plane

The Eurofighter is being built in three ‘tranches’ – batches comprising models of increasing capability – for the RAF and other forces around Europe. Developing the first Eurofighters took more than a decade, and the second and third tranches are still being tested in Britain and abroad. 

Under scrutiny is their ability to handle everything from rain, hail and sand to bird strikes – with frozen chickens launched into the windshield at speed to test its resistance.

World’s First Hotel in an Aircraft

Just a few days ago, marked the opening of another wacky hotel, the world’s first aircraft hotel in Stockholm. An abandoned Boeing 747 jumbo jet has been saved from being trashed metal to become a 25-room hotel sited in Stockholm-Arlanda airport.

Each room is bare 65 square ft big and furnished with bunk beds, overhead luggage storage and flat-screen TVs (no other choice but flat-screens!). There is a reception area and a cafe with toilets and showers at the rear of the aircraft, which means that you will have to share! The upper deck is a conference room and the best of all, the cockpit, is where the wedding suite is housed.

Not a very comfy hotel I would think, but staying there just to get a feel of it might be cool.








Top Aircraft of the Rich and Famous

Top celebrities, super-rich business tycoons and heads of state travel in style when they fly. Not for them the hassles of airline travel: They fly in private jets fitted with luxurious cabins to make their flights relaxing, pleasant and productive. Sometimes, the especially rich and famous buy airliners of their very own to make sure that every flight is memorable.

Donald Trump’s Boeing 727-23

Originally operated by American Airlines, this 1968-vintage Boeing 727-100-series jet was bought by D.J. Aerospace, one of Donald Trump’s companies, for use as the real estate tycoon’s personal jet. Reconfigured to hold 23 in luxurious comfort, with soft pale-leather armchairs, gold-plated seatbelt buckles, oil paintings, Waterford-crystal lamps, the 727 flies with a flight attendant to make sure those onboard receive top-class service. The tail number VP-BDJ shows the aircraft is registered in Bermuda, and the “DJ” in the registration stands for “Donald John,” Trump’s first names. The “Trump” logo on the side is 30 feet long and four feet high and is made of 23-carat gold leaf.

The Boeing 767-33A of Roman Abramovich

Said to be Russia’s richest man, Roman Abramovich made his money mainly during the privatization of Russia’s oil industry and from a private investment company called Millhouse Capital. However, he is possibly best-known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea Football Club, and his private Boeing 767-33A is a common site at Luton Airport some 40 miles north of London, where Abramovich spends much of his time. The 767′s sleek but understated paint job belies an interior reportedly outfitted with chestnut and decorated with gold. Although the 767-300ER makes a huge private jet, Abramovich may be upgrading soon to something much larger: he is widely reported as being the customer for an Airbus A380 superjumbo that Airbus recently said had been ordered privately.

The Sultan of Brunei’s Boeing 747-430

The head of state of the tiny, oil-rich nation of Brunei on the island of Borneo, the Sultan is reputedly the richest monarch in the world. The Sultan bought the aircraft brand-new for $100 million or more using Lufthansa as a conduit, hence the -30, which is Boeing’s customer code for the German airline. Then he had it fitted with a special interior and features such as washbasins of solid-gold and Lalique crystal at an additional cost of some $120 million. The 747-400 is the Sultan of Brunei’s largest aircraft, but His Majesty the Sultan’s Flight also operates several other VVIP widebody jets, among them two Airbus A340s and a 767.

Jimmy Buffett’s Grumman HU-16 Albatross

Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, known for extolling an island-escapism lifestyle in his music and businesses, owns this former military Grumman HU-16 Albatross amphibian aircraft, which can be operated from water or land. Buffett named the aircraft “The Hemisphere Dancer.” While carrying Buffett and U2′s singer Bono in Jamaica in 1996, it was shot at by local police, who suspected it of carrying drugs. Nobody on board was hurt, but the plane received some bullet holes. Buffett memorialized the incident in a song he titled “Jamaica Mistaica.”

Air Force One

At present the aircraft used to transport President George W. Bush on important state and domestic visits, Air Force One is the property of the United States Government and is the official presidential aircraft — along with several back-up aircraft (including a Boeing 757) used to fly other members of the president’s cabinet and staff and members of the press on state visits. Known as the VC-25A in U.S. Air Force service, Air Force One is a Boeing 747-200B that has been heavily modified with secure communications systems, electronic equipment, a self-contained baggage loader, front and aft air-stairs, and given the ability to refuel in-flight. Along with the other aircraft of the presidential flight, Air Force One is flown and maintained by the specially detailed crews of the Presidential Airlift Group, part of the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command’s 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Here, Air Force One is seen flying over Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Mark Cuban’s Boeing 767-277

This Boeing 767-200, which originally was operated by Australia’s Ansett Airlines but now is registered N767MW, is owned by a company called MLW Aviation and operated by hush-hush charter operator Pace Airlines on behalf of billionaire Mark Cuban and his sports team. Cuban, who made his fortune in personal computers and stock ownership, owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA professional basketball team and reportedly has had custom-made seats installed on the aircraft that are large enough to accommodate the team’s very tall players.

Elvis Presley’s Convair 880

Although he owned other aircraft, Elvis bought his own personal jet airliner, a former Delta Air Lines Convair CV.880, in 1975 for the then-substantial sum of $250,000. He named it “Lisa Marie” after his daughter. Presley had the interior of the Convair 880 customized with 28 seats instead of the 110 seats with which the type was usually fitted in airline service. He also had the tail of the now-preserved jet painted with his personal “TCB” logo, which stands for “Takin’ Care of Business.” By the end of 2005, “Lisa Marie” was one of only nine CV.880s that remained, out of 65 originally built.

Bill Gates’ Bombardier BD-700 Global Express

Owned by a Washington state-based company called Challenger Administration LLC on Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates’ behalf, this Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express was built in 1999. It is rumored that the initials “WM” in the N887WM tail number stand for “William” and “Mary,” the first names of Gates’ parents. Bombardier’s top-of-the-line business jet, the Global Express can carry eight people far above the weather at a cruising altitude of 51,000 feet for a distance of 6,500 nautical miles — a range that permits nonstop Tokyo-New York or Los Angeles-Moscow flights.

Wayne Huizenga’s de Havilland Canada DHC-6-320 Twin Otter

Although Blockbuster founder and Miami Dolphins pro football team owner Wayne Huizenga also owns a 737-700 Boeing Business Jet painted in his team’s colors, his Twin Otter seaplane is especially interesting. Bearing the tail number N300WH and Miami Dolphins colors, the aircraft appears in a seaplane chase scene in the new version of the James Bond film “Casino Royale.” One of the most rugged and reliable utility transport aircraft ever built, the unpressurized Twin Otter carries up to 19 people and can take off and land from rough strips as short as 100 yards. Many Twin Otters were fitted with skis or floats for operation in snow or from water. De Havilland Canada — now Bombardier — stopped manufacturing the Twin Otter in 1988 after building more than 840. But the type has proved so irreplaceable throughout the world — including the Antarctic — that a company called Viking Air bought the production rights from Bombardier and is planning to restart production at an assembly line at Calgary, Alberta in December.

Cessna 525B CJ3 Citation Jet Like Harrison Ford’s

This isn’t movie star Harrison Ford’s own plane, but he owns a Cessna CJ3 Citation Jet just like it. Unveiled in 2002, the CJ3 carries six people in comfort for some 1,900 nautical miles. Ford is a keen pilot and pilots his own aircraft. Ford is considered so good a pilot that the FAA asked him to be its spokesman to appear on posters and publicity materials for the runway incursion awareness and prevention campaign that the agency began in 2001. The CJ3 in this picture was built in 2005 and is registered to a company called Ross Aviation, based in Cortland, Ohio.

Top Aircraft of the Rich and Famous

Top celebrities, super-rich business tycoons and heads of state travel in style when they fly. Not for them the hassles of airline travel: They fly in private jets fitted with luxurious cabins to make their flights relaxing, pleasant and productive. Sometimes, the especially rich and famous buy airliners of their very own to make sure that every flight is memorable.

Donald Trump’s Boeing 727-23

Originally operated by American Airlines, this 1968-vintage Boeing 727-100-series jet was bought by D.J. Aerospace, one of Donald Trump’s companies, for use as the real estate tycoon’s personal jet. Reconfigured to hold 23 in luxurious comfort, with soft pale-leather armchairs, gold-plated seatbelt buckles, oil paintings, Waterford-crystal lamps, the 727 flies with a flight attendant to make sure those onboard receive top-class service. The tail number VP-BDJ shows the aircraft is registered in Bermuda, and the “DJ” in the registration stands for “Donald John,” Trump’s first names. The “Trump” logo on the side is 30 feet long and four feet high and is made of 23-carat gold leaf.

The Boeing 767-33A of Roman Abramovich

Said to be Russia’s richest man, Roman Abramovich made his money mainly during the privatization of Russia’s oil industry and from a private investment company called Millhouse Capital. However, he is possibly best-known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea Football Club, and his private Boeing 767-33A is a common site at Luton Airport some 40 miles north of London, where Abramovich spends much of his time. The 767′s sleek but understated paint job belies an interior reportedly outfitted with chestnut and decorated with gold. Although the 767-300ER makes a huge private jet, Abramovich may be upgrading soon to something much larger: he is widely reported as being the customer for an Airbus A380 superjumbo that Airbus recently said had been ordered privately.

The Sultan of Brunei’s Boeing 747-430

The head of state of the tiny, oil-rich nation of Brunei on the island of Borneo, the Sultan is reputedly the richest monarch in the world. The Sultan bought the aircraft brand-new for $100 million or more using Lufthansa as a conduit, hence the -30, which is Boeing’s customer code for the German airline. Then he had it fitted with a special interior and features such as washbasins of solid-gold and Lalique crystal at an additional cost of some $120 million. The 747-400 is the Sultan of Brunei’s largest aircraft, but His Majesty the Sultan’s Flight also operates several other VVIP widebody jets, among them two Airbus A340s and a 767.

Jimmy Buffett’s Grumman HU-16 Albatross

Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, known for extolling an island-escapism lifestyle in his music and businesses, owns this former military Grumman HU-16 Albatross amphibian aircraft, which can be operated from water or land. Buffett named the aircraft “The Hemisphere Dancer.” While carrying Buffett and U2′s singer Bono in Jamaica in 1996, it was shot at by local police, who suspected it of carrying drugs. Nobody on board was hurt, but the plane received some bullet holes. Buffett memorialized the incident in a song he titled “Jamaica Mistaica.”

Air Force One

At present the aircraft used to transport President George W. Bush on important state and domestic visits, Air Force One is the property of the United States Government and is the official presidential aircraft — along with several back-up aircraft (including a Boeing 757) used to fly other members of the president’s cabinet and staff and members of the press on state visits. Known as the VC-25A in U.S. Air Force service, Air Force One is a Boeing 747-200B that has been heavily modified with secure communications systems, electronic equipment, a self-contained baggage loader, front and aft air-stairs, and given the ability to refuel in-flight. Along with the other aircraft of the presidential flight, Air Force One is flown and maintained by the specially detailed crews of the Presidential Airlift Group, part of the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command’s 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Here, Air Force One is seen flying over Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Mark Cuban’s Boeing 767-277

This Boeing 767-200, which originally was operated by Australia’s Ansett Airlines but now is registered N767MW, is owned by a company called MLW Aviation and operated by hush-hush charter operator Pace Airlines on behalf of billionaire Mark Cuban and his sports team. Cuban, who made his fortune in personal computers and stock ownership, owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA professional basketball team and reportedly has had custom-made seats installed on the aircraft that are large enough to accommodate the team’s very tall players.

Elvis Presley’s Convair 880

Although he owned other aircraft, Elvis bought his own personal jet airliner, a former Delta Air Lines Convair CV.880, in 1975 for the then-substantial sum of $250,000. He named it “Lisa Marie” after his daughter. Presley had the interior of the Convair 880 customized with 28 seats instead of the 110 seats with which the type was usually fitted in airline service. He also had the tail of the now-preserved jet painted with his personal “TCB” logo, which stands for “Takin’ Care of Business.” By the end of 2005, “Lisa Marie” was one of only nine CV.880s that remained, out of 65 originally built.

Bill Gates’ Bombardier BD-700 Global Express

Owned by a Washington state-based company called Challenger Administration LLC on Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates’ behalf, this Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express was built in 1999. It is rumored that the initials “WM” in the N887WM tail number stand for “William” and “Mary,” the first names of Gates’ parents. Bombardier’s top-of-the-line business jet, the Global Express can carry eight people far above the weather at a cruising altitude of 51,000 feet for a distance of 6,500 nautical miles — a range that permits nonstop Tokyo-New York or Los Angeles-Moscow flights.

Wayne Huizenga’s de Havilland Canada DHC-6-320 Twin Otter

Although Blockbuster founder and Miami Dolphins pro football team owner Wayne Huizenga also owns a 737-700 Boeing Business Jet painted in his team’s colors, his Twin Otter seaplane is especially interesting. Bearing the tail number N300WH and Miami Dolphins colors, the aircraft appears in a seaplane chase scene in the new version of the James Bond film “Casino Royale.” One of the most rugged and reliable utility transport aircraft ever built, the unpressurized Twin Otter carries up to 19 people and can take off and land from rough strips as short as 100 yards. Many Twin Otters were fitted with skis or floats for operation in snow or from water. De Havilland Canada — now Bombardier — stopped manufacturing the Twin Otter in 1988 after building more than 840. But the type has proved so irreplaceable throughout the world — including the Antarctic — that a company called Viking Air bought the production rights from Bombardier and is planning to restart production at an assembly line at Calgary, Alberta in December.

Cessna 525B CJ3 Citation Jet Like Harrison Ford’s

This isn’t movie star Harrison Ford’s own plane, but he owns a Cessna CJ3 Citation Jet just like it. Unveiled in 2002, the CJ3 carries six people in comfort for some 1,900 nautical miles. Ford is a keen pilot and pilots his own aircraft. Ford is considered so good a pilot that the FAA asked him to be its spokesman to appear on posters and publicity materials for the runway incursion awareness and prevention campaign that the agency began in 2001. The CJ3 in this picture was built in 2005 and is registered to a company called Ross Aviation, based in Cortland, Ohio.