THE BEST Flying

DIY Rubber Band Helicopter

DIY Rubber Band Helicopter

It’s pretty easy to find toy airplanes that are powered by a rubber band. On the other hand coming up with something that replicates the dual rotor movements of a helicopter is more of a challenge. Maker Peter Sripol managed to create one. Download the 3D printed part designs on Thingiverse and watch the build video here.

Mountain Surfing the Austrian Alps

Mountain Surfing the Austrian Alps

Drone pilot Shaggy FPV takes us on a ride through the mountains of Austria with breathtaking footage of the Dorfertal Valley he captured with his aerial photography rig. The reverse perspective offers a great sense of speed and changes things up a bit from the typical forward view.

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Paper Airplane Aerodynamics

Paper Airplane Aerodynamics

If you want your paper airplanes to stay airborne for a long time, you could add motors to it, or you could watch this clip from Wired and paper airplane expert John Collins and learn a thing or two about the four main aerodynamic forces that that influence your folded paper’s flight.

Making an Air-powered Airplane

Making an Air-powered Airplane

Most airplanes run on some kind of fossil fuel. But physics expert Tom Stanton recently built an airplane that runs entirely on compressed air. The model plane is based on the diaphragm air-powered engine that Tom previously built, and its fuel tank is an ordinary plastic soda bottle.

BMW Electric Wingsuit

BMW Electric Wingsuit

While BMW is best known for its cars, SUVs, and motorcycles, they can now add “electric wingsuit” to their list of accomplishments. Working with pilot Peter Salzmann, they created a solo flying machine that gives a flyer a boost of power, the ability to stay airborne longer, and to also increase altitude.

Herding Sheep Drone View

Herding Sheep Drone View

If you’ve never seen sheep being herded by sheepdogs, it’s a pretty impressive sight. A few years back, New Zealand-based photographer Tim Whittaker piloted his drone over a farm to observe thousands of sheep as they moved in concert between their paddocks.

F-22 Raptor Shows Off

F-22 Raptor Shows Off

Built for air-to-air combat, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is an incredibly agile and fast military aircraft. Members of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team show off just a little bit of what these planes are capable of in the hands of skilled pilots. They also posted a 360º video which is a bit more immersive.

New Zealand Speedflying

New Zealand Speedflying

Skydiving expert Angus Sellen takes us on a death-defying flight through some incredibly rocky ravines of Shark’s Tooth Mountain in New Zealand. The fisheye perspective of his GoPro MAX camera captured a truly immersive visual that’ll have you holding on for dear life.

Austrian Alps Stunt Flight

Austrian Alps Stunt Flight

Take a scenic flight through the Austrian Alps with former Red Bull Air Race World Champion Matthias Dolderer, as he spins his single-seat stunt plane between snow-capped mountains as sunlight casts dramatic shadows across his wings and cockpit.

KleinVision Flying Car

KleinVision Flying Car

Over the years, there have been many attempts to create a car that could fly, but most of them have failed to go into production. KleinVision hopes to break that streak with their AirCar, a transforming vehicle that recently took its maiden flight, going from driving mode to flying mode with ease.

Vulture Visits Paragliders

Vulture Visits Paragliders

While enjoying a tranquil tandem paraglider flight over Andalucia, the folks from Skywings Adventures made a new friend while airborne. We’re impressed that the pilot didn’t drop his selfie stick when a huge vulture momentarily landed on it.

Birds in Bubbles

Birds in Bubbles

Researchers in London, England used a fascinating method to view the aerodynamic properties of flight. Using helium-filled soap bubbles, they were able to visualize the vortices created by birds’ wings, and made interesting observations about the role their tail feathers play in flight. Details here.

Slow-mo Helicopter Blade POV

Slow-mo Helicopter Blade POV

We already know that the view from a helicopter’s spinning rotor can be incredibly dizzying. That’s why we’re happy that Chuck Aaron Aerobatics recorded this blade spin POV at 240 fps, then slowed it to 30 fps, giving us a more digestible look at what a helicopter blade sees as it takes to the skies.

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Light Painting with a Drone

Light Painting with a Drone

Builder Tom Stanton attached a long vertical LED light bar to his drone, and managed to fly it horizontally to capture some cool long-exposure images. His design is based on Ivan Miranda’s light bar, but you might be able to pull off something similar with a Pixelstick.

Misconceptions About Flying

Misconceptions About Flying

Would firing a bullet inside of an airplane really cause explosive decompression? Could an airplane’s toilet suck your intestines out? Does autopilot fly a plane all by itself? Mental Floss host Justin Dodd takes a look at these and other myths and mistaken beliefs about flight.

Insect Takeoffs

Insect Takeoffs

Despite their size, insects feature some incredibly sophisticated organic engineering. Using high-speed macro photography, Ant Lab shows off the way that eight different types of bugs take to the air. That plume moth looks a little drunk when it takes off.

Honest Pre-flight Safety Video

Honest Pre-flight Safety Video

(PG-13: Language) Those videos they show you at the beginning of commercial flights cover a few basic things about safety, but avoid the nitty gritty details. This clip from tourism expert Doug Lansky offers some much more practical advice for surviving an airplane emergency, based on details from an active commercial pilot.

Water-powered R/C Airplane

Water-powered R/C Airplane

It’s pretty easy to build a primitive rocket using a bottle of pressurized water. The guys at FliteTest wanted to see if they could take the idea to the next level by making a water-powered glider they could steer via remote control once it was airborne.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Completely revamped from top to bottom, Microsoft Flight Simulator aims to be the most realistic aviation sim ever. The game includes data from over 2 million cities around the globe, rendered in incredible detail, with 4K and HDR support, along with real-time atmospheric and weather conditions. Coming to Windows 10, 8.18.20.

Flying Flywheels

Flying Flywheels

When we were kids, we had one of those wind-up toys that launched a flying propellor into the air. Aerospace engineer Tom Stanton wanted to see what he could do if he ramped up the energy by spinning up a larger (and more dangerous) version of the propellor flywheel using a motor.

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Jet Dreams

Jet Dreams

Jessica Ambats is passionate about both photography and aviation, and she’s quite the talent behind the lens. Her 160-page book features some of the spectacular images she’s captured over the past 15 years, with a unique focus on pilots who own and fly their own jets. Available as a digital download or hardcover.

GoPro VR: B.C. Helicopter Flight

GoPro VR: B.C. Helicopter Flight

Take a soothing 360º flight through the snowy and scenic mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Helicopter pilot Bradley Friesen and videographer Devin Olsen captured more than 50 minutes of their flight using a GoPro MAX action camera. It’s even more immersive if you’ve got a VR headset to watch it on.

Fighter Pilot vs. Movie Scenes

Fighter Pilot vs. Movie Scenes

Military flight scenes in movies can be incredibly thrilling. But are the actions that movie pilots take realistic or tactically sound? The guys from GQ enlisted the help of former Navy fighter pilot Matthew “Whiz” Buckley to evaluate the veracity of scenes from movies like Pearl Harbor and Top Gun.

East River Flyover

East River Flyover

The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels paid tribute to America’s healthcare workers and first-responders with an awe-inspiring flyover of New York City. While piloting Thunderbird 2, Major Trevor Aldridge captured this amazing footage out of his cockpit as they flew along the East River.

Biggest Planes vs. Shortest Runway

Biggest Planes vs. Shortest Runway

Whenever we fly, we just assume that the runway is long enough for our airplane to safely take off and land. But what would happen if you tried to use the world’s shortest airstrip with the world’s largest commercial jets? Aviation hobbyist Swiss001 decided to try just that using a flight simulator.

The Story of Lawnchair Larry

The Story of Lawnchair Larry

From the invention of the wheel to landing on the Moon, humans have accomplished many great things. Not all achievements are as world-changing, like the time truck driver Larry Walters floated 16,000 feet into the sky after attaching dozens of weather of balloons to his lawnchair. Half as Interesting shares his story.

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