• Relativity Space wants to launch rockets for 90% less with 3D printing

    Relativity Space wants to launch rockets for 90% less with 3D printing

    A new startup called Relativity Space founded by two aerospace engineers wants to use massive 3D printers to produce rockets without humans required on the factory floor, with the ultimate aim of driving the price of rocket launches down from their current rate of around $100 million to just about $10 million per launch. Bloomberg reports that Relativity’s founders think using 3D printing… Read More

  • High-speed camera rig captures 3D images of birds’ wings in flight

    High-speed camera rig captures 3D images of birds’ wings in flight

    You don’t have to be an ornithologist to know that birds are pretty good at flying. But while we know how they do it in general, the millimeter- and microsecond-level details are difficult to pin down. Researchers at Stanford are demystifying bird flight with a custom camera/projector setup, and hoping to eventually replicate its adaptability in unpredictable air currents. Read More

  • Seatfrog’s auction app lets you grab a last-minute flight upgrade on the cheap

    Seatfrog’s auction app lets you grab a last-minute flight upgrade on the cheap

    From time-to-time here at TechCrunch, we see companies tackling problems or painpoints in a way that makes you wonder why it wasn’t done long ago. Seatfrog from Australia is one that gives me that feeling. Read More

  • German Researchers Build A Plane Controlled By Your Brain

    German Researchers Build A Plane Controlled By Your Brain

    While the more pedantic among us would argue that every plane is controlled by our brains, German researchers at the Technische Universität München and the TU Berlin have created a plane that eschews all the messy, meaty bits (your head, your hands) that sit between the brain and the plane. Read More

  • AirPooler Is Lyft For Private Planes

    AirPooler Is Lyft For Private Planes

    Pilots want to fly, but it’s expensive. People want to travel but it’s a hassle. AirPooler brings them together on its site where pilots can sell empty seats on private plane flights. This bootstrapped startup is launching today with availability on flights out of the Bay Area and San Diego, and gave TechCrunch the exclusive first look at taking collaborative consumption to the sky. Read More

  • Book Now Or Wait? Kayak Adds Price Forecasting To Its Flight Search Results

    Book Now Or Wait? Kayak Adds Price Forecasting To Its Flight Search Results

    It was just over two months ago that Kayak and Priceline sent ripples through the online travel industry with a blockbuster deal in which Priceline shelled out a whopping $1.8 billion to acquire the recently-public travel search engine. Kayak was able to claim such a hefty premium for a simple reason: By indexing a laundry list of travel sites and airlines to help everyday travelers find the… Read More

  • Watch Felix Baumgartner Live: This Scientific Discovery Brought To You By Mentos, The Freshmaker

    Watch Felix Baumgartner Live: This Scientific Discovery Brought To You By Mentos, The Freshmaker

    As I watch today’s jump by Felix Baumgartner – it’s been running non-stop on most major news channels, the same channels that gave a Space Shuttle launch about two minutes between video of a talking dog and what Kim Kardashian just ate – I’m struck by the notion that what we’re seeing, albeit in an Evel Knievel kind of way, is the future of scientific discovery. Read More

  • Flying Green: The Possibilities And Challenges Of Electric Aircraft

    Airplanes release greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere and require enormous amounts of fuel to fly. A Boeing 747 can consume up to five gallons of fuel per mile. But what if planes could be powered by electricity? Though they won’t replace passenger airliners anytime soon, small, zero-emission, electric planes are flying today. Engineers have been pursing electric flight for decades. Read More

  • Self Launching Sailplane Uses Jet Engine To Get Off The Ground

    Sailplanes are fun and all, but they are gliders at heart and for the most part, you have to tow a glider up into the sky before you can fly it. Obviously this is problematic since you have to hire a pilot with a plane to drag you up into the air, limiting the locations you can launch from. Well, if these creative sailplane pilots have their way, that problem will be a thing of the past. Read More

  • Nuclear aircraft add one more horror to the litany of air travel fears

    As if flying weren’t scary enough now we could have giant airplanes full of nuclear power plants that could transport “millions” across the stratosphere. Actually, this does make a lot of sense. Air travel has been essentially unchanged since the 1950s and any improvement over the fossil fuels currently used is long due. As for safety, ships and submarines have been using… Read More

  • Carbon fiber used in wings of new Airbus A400M

    Owners of super-light laptops can appreciate the miracle of carbon fiber, a strong but light material being used more and more in high-end notebooks. Airbus is now using the same carbon fiber material in the wings of its new A400M military aircraft. The reduced weight of the wings “cuts the fuel consumption by at least 20%," said Dave Phipps, head of the Airbus carbon fiber… Read More

  • Rocketman jumps from plane with jet-pack wings

    There are only a few things more exciting than being a technology blogger, like jumping out of an airplane at 7,500 feet above the Swiss Alps strapped into rocket-powered jet wings. That’s what Yves Rossy of Switzerland just did. Read More

  • Atair's EXO-Wing and AeroSuit on display at The Met

    Brooklyn defense contractor Atair Aerospace has two of its futuristic (and working) designs on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of a superhero exhibit that’ll be running until September 1st of this year. “The Met exhibit includes Atair’s EXO-Wing™, the world’s smallest human-piloted jet airplane. Exoskeletons for increasing human… Read More

  • Another airline to consider when making your suborbital space travel plans

    Here’s the Lynx, from XCOR Aerospace out of California. It’s a cute little two-seater that’s capable of taking off from a standard runway and flying you up almost 40 miles into space so you can truly appreciate how big the oceans are. You’d say to the pilot, “Hey have you heard that Irish drinking song called ‘Big Strong Man’? They claim that the guy is… Read More

  • Virgin 747 to go from London to Amsterdam on biofuel

      Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline will conduct a test flight at the end of the month wherein a Boeing 747 will fly from London to Amsterdam using an 80/20 blend of conventional fuel and biofuel, respectively. The plane will carry no passengers but will be “the first time a commercial aircraft has flown on biofuel,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Read More

  • FAA sez no chatting on the plane anytime soon

    For many people, myself included, airplane time is quiet time. Time for a nap, time to listen to some music, time to tell whoever’s on the other end of your phone that you have to let them go because you’re getting on the plane. So it comes as a great relief that the FAA has decided against lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use "for the ‘foreseeable… Read More

  • Death from Above: WowWee Dragonfly

    Holy crap this looks cool. WowWee, makers of the popular Robosapien, are preparing to take to the air with the Dragonfly. The Dragonfly is a radio controlled device doesn’t seem to have any AI, but what it lacks in brains, it makes up in flight. That’s right, the Dragonfly is capable of impressive duration flights. It’s able to fly for about 15 minutes on one charge. Sure… Read More

  • Boeing Drops Connexion

    Citing financial problems with the program, Boeing announced today that it would be discontinuing its Connexion broadband service. Company chief Jim McNerney said, “Regrettably, the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected. We believe this decision best balances the long-term interests of all parties with a stake in Connexion by Boeing.” Regrettably… Read More