Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
United Kingdom

Britain Could Switch Off Airport Radar and Release 5G Spectrum 175

judgecorp writes "Britain is considering switching off air traffic control radar systems and using "passive radar" instead. A two year feasibility study will consider using a network of ground stations which monitor broadcast TV signals and measure echoes from aircraft to determine their location and velocity. The system is not a new idea — early radar experiments used BBC shortwave transmitters as a signal source before antenna technology produced a transceiver suitable for radar — but could now be better than conventional radar thanks to new antenna designs and signal processing techniques. It will also save money and energy by eliminating transmitters — and release spectrum for 5G services."
Transportation

Dirigible Airship Prototype Approaches Completion 231

cylonlover writes "The dirigible airship, the oddball aircraft of another era, is making a comeback. California-based Aeros Corporation has created a prototype of its new breed of variable buoyancy aircraft and expects the vehicle to be finished before the end of 2012. With its new cargo handling technology, minimum fuel consumption, vertical take-off and landing features and point to point delivery, the Aeroscraft platform promises to revolutionize airship technology. The Aeroscraft ship uses a suite of new mechanical and aerospace technologies. It operates off a buoyancy management system which controls and adjusts the buoyancy of the vehicle, making it light or heavy for any stages of ground and flight operation. Automatic flight control systems give it equilibrium in all flight modes and allow it to adjust helium pressurized envelopes depending on the buoyancy requirements. It just needs one pilot and has an internal ballast control system, which allows it to offload cargo, without using ballast. Built with a rigid structure, the Aeroscraft can control lift at all stages with its Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities and carry maximum payload while in hover. What makes it different from other cargo vehicles is that it does not need a runway or ground infrastructure."
Government

NASA Teams To Build Gyroscopes 1,000X More Sensitive Than Current Systems 91

coondoggie writes "NASA today said it would work with a team of researchers on a three-year, $1.8 project to build gyroscope systems that are more than 1,000 times as sensitive as those in use today. The Fast Light Optical Gyroscope project will marry researchers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center; the US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center and Northwestern University to develop gyroscopes that could find their way into complex spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles or ships in the future."
The Military

Air Force Lab Test Out "Aircraft Surfing" Technique To Save Fuel 205

coondoggie writes "It's not a totally new concept, but the Air Force is testing the idea of flying gas-guzzling cargo aircraft inline allowing the trailing aircraft to utilize the cyclonic energy coming off the lead plane — a concept known as vortex surfing — over long distances to save large amounts of fuel. According to an Air force release, a series of recent test flights involving two aircraft at a time, let the trailing aircraft surf the vortex of the lead aircraft, positioning itself in the updraft to get additional lift without burning extra fuel."
Government

US Department of Homeland Security Looking For a Few Good Drones 92

coondoggie writes "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations. In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows, the results of the program — called the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) — will remain unavailable to the public, which, considering how involved the actual public may be with these drones is unfortunate."
Transportation

What Scorpions Have To Teach Aircraft Designers 127

First time accepted submitter elloGov writes "The north African desert scorpion, Androctonus australis, is a hardy creature. Most animals that live in deserts dig burrows to protect themselves from the sand-laden wind. Not Androctonus; it usually toughs things out at the surface. Yet when the sand whips by at speeds that would strip paint away from steel, the scorpion is able to scurry off without apparent damage thanks to the unique structure of its carapace. Dr Han Zhiwu of Jilin University and colleagues have found that surface irregularities based on the scorpion's exoskeleton could substantially minimize atmospheric dust damage to aircraft."
Security

Man Charged in Model Airplane Plot To Bomb Pentagon 515

garymortimer writes "A 26-year-old Massachusetts man with a physics degree was arrested and charged Wednesday with plotting an attack on the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with remote-controlled model aircraft, authorities said. Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen from Ashland, Massachusetts, planned to use model aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives. As a result of an undercover FBI investigation, Ferdaus, who has a physics degree from Northeastern University in Boston, was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda for attacks on U.S. soldiers overseas. His federal public defender couldn't be reached immediately for comment."
The Military

USAF Gets F-35 Flight Simulator 252

cylonlover writes "Eglin Air Force Base has just taken delivery of a piece of hardware that would surely be the ultimate toy for flight sim gaming fans. The F-35 Lightning II Full Mission Simulator (FMS) system includes a high-fidelity 360-degree visual display system and a reconfigurable cockpit that can simulate all three variants of the F-35 Lightning II for US and international partner services – the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A, the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B, and the F-35C carrier variant."
Transportation

Big Buzz For $60,000 Electric Flight Prize 78

gilgsn writes "Electric Light Sport Aircraft are sprouting up all over. Now that the Experimental Aircraft Association is offering a 60,000 prize for the best ones, manufacturers are gearing up for the competition to be held the last week in July, at AirVenture 2011 in Oshkosh, 'The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration.' Airplanes will be tested for endurance, speed and time-to-climb. Pilots, charge up your batteries.."
The Military

Demand For Unmanned Aircraft Outstripping Their Capabilities 325

coondoggie writes "Has the highly successful but disparate unmanned aircraft strategy deployed by the military outstripped the Department of Defense's ability to handle its growth? The Air Force, Army, and Navy have requested approximately $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2010 for new systems and expanded capabilities. The Pentagon's fiscal year 2010 budget request wants to increase the Air Force's Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft programs to 50 combat air patrols by fiscal year 2011 — an increase of nearly 300% since fiscal year 2007. In 2000, the DoD had fewer than 50 unmanned aircraft in its inventory; as of October 2009, this number had grown to more than 6,800. The program's success, however, is causing some big cracks in the system. According to a report issued this week by congressional watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office. The military is facing a number of challenges — including training, accessing national air space, and improving aircraft communications systems — that must be overcome if unmanned aircraft are to take their place as a central piece of the military's future, the GAO stated."
The Military

250-Foot Hybrid Airship To Spy Over Afghanistan 343

Toe, The writes "Gizmodo details the Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) (based on the P-791), a spyship from US Army's Space and Missile Defense Command capable of hovering at 20,000 feet. Planned for deployment in Afghanistan, the ship can float for three weeks and carry well over a ton of payload, apparently surveillance equipment. The video on Gizmodo of the P-791 shows that these ships are a hybrid not only of both buoyancy and propulsive lift, but also of both awe and hilarity."

Slashdot Top Deals

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A cucumber is not a vegetable but a fruit.

Working...