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.
THE BEST Flying
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a first, Jetman Dubai pilot Vince Reffet combined both hovering and high-altitude aerobatic maneuvers in the same flight, as he took off over the water then headed towards the beachfront skyscrapers of the big city. During his 3-minute journey, he reached a peak altitude of more than 5900 feet, with speeds approaching 250 mph.
Over the years, we’ve seen a couple of drones that could carry a person, but none of them were designed for speed. FliteTest visited with the guys at the Drone Champions League (DCL), who built a single-person flyer with a Formula One cockpit for maximum speed. For now, they’re only flying it with a dummy, but it is awesome.
There are thousands of videos out there showing how to make a potato cannon. But this clip from The Backyard Scientist shows how to use one to launch a glider. Working with his pal Joe – with a nod to the guys at FliteTest – they work out the most balanced and airworthy glider design.
Take a flight far above the earth courtesy of airline pilot and photographer Guillaume Laffon, as he takes a Boeing 777 jumbo jet from Paris, France to Buenos Aires, Argentina on a beautifully clear evening under the light of a full moon. We don’t get to see the entire flight, but it’s still well worth viewing.
Making homebrew drones can be quite tricky due to the precise balance and weight requirements of smooth flight. But thanks to the consistency of LEGO parts, Brick Experiment Channel was able to put together a reasonably stable – if somewhat fragile – LEGO flying machine using off-the-shelf motors and rotors.
This short video from Pilot Yellow provides an incredibly concise and easy to understand explanation of the basics of helicopter flight, using a small Guimbal Cabri G2 chopper to demonstrate. While it doesn’t go into the complexities of weather or flight safety, it’s a great primer on what all of those controls do.
While we’re tempted to complain when dealing with the inconveniences of air travel, the fact is, getting around used to be so much worse. Bright Side looks back at the early days of commercial flight, and some of its many downsides, from zero climate control, to constant refueling stops, to far more turbulent flying.
Back in the 1950s, a new method of transportation was in development. The Fairey Rotodyne looked like the offspring of a helicopter and an airplane, and could take off and land vertically. But fast as it appeared, the Rotodyne vanished. Mustard takes a look at this unique aircraft, and why it never got off the ground.
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