The only surviving prototype de
Havilland Mosquito aircraft receives Engineering Heritage Award
The aircraft receives the accolade from the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers in recognition of its pioneering bonded composite
construction, which is still in use today.
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, one of the fastest operational
aircraft in the world when it entered service in 1941, has been presented with
an Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers at a
ceremony at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum in Hertfordshire on Sunday 1
April, the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. The fast, high-flying
Mosquito was, for much of WWII, able to roam almost at will over enemy-occupied
territory. Built with wooden components, it was designed for speed and range as
a two-seat unarmed light bomber, unarmed reconnaissance aircraft and long range
fighter. Its performance derived from a combination of careful packaging, an
aerodynamically clean shape, a high wing loading (I suspected this was a
factor) and high power from two supercharged liquid-cooled V-12 Merlin engines.
The design of the Mosquito evolved over well over 30 variants
and it excelled as a multi-role aircraft. The prototype achieved a maximum
speed of 437mph in October 1942 at 29,000 feet. Previous winners of Engineering
Heritage Awards include Alan Turings Bombe at Bletchley Park, the E-Type
Jaguar and Concorde, the fastest ever airliner. Other aircraft-related winners
include the Short SC1 VTOL aircraft, a plane which provided data that
influenced later designs of aeroplanes, the Rolls-Royce RB211 engine and the
Vulcan Bomber XH558, the last airworthy representative of the RAFs
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito Prototype is the 117th recipient
of the award.
Charles Clarke, Associate Member of the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers, said:
Confident in their vision for this
aircraft, de Havilland persisted with the design and prototyping against
Ministry setbacks (Lord Beaverbrook cancelled the project after Dunkirk) and
the first flight took place on 25 November 1940. Exactly 7,781 Mosquitos were
built a vindication of de Havillands vision. The Mosquitos
construction from wood meant that it was easily repaired and it enabled
furniture and piano factories in England, Canada and Australia to build the
aircraft. The absence of armaments meant that it could be kept aerodynamically
clean and could carry higher payloads a philosophy continued by the
Canberra and the V- bombers. Certainly no aeroplane flew so many different
types of mission and performed them as well as the Mosquito.
NASAs weird investments in the future of space
Were yet to explore any icy, ocean worlds, but when we do
traditional rovers arent going to cut it. SPARROW, which stands for
Steam Propelled Autonomous Retrieval Robot for Ocean Worlds, is a
spherical robot designed to hop around the surface like a bouncy ball.
Developed by Chang-kwon Kang at the University of Alabama, the
Marsbee is a bumblebee-sized robot with flapping wings, designed to explore
Mars in a swarm. A rover will act as a mobile charging station, and the
bees will be able to hover while using less energy thanks to the
low gravity. (This is ancient stuff, anyone remember the Dan Dare series in
the 1950s in which Earth was invaded by thousands of tiny flying things?)
SpaceX president: Travel by rocket instead of
airplane 'within a decade'
Gwynne Shotwell believes 16,000mph commercial rocket flights
will happen by the late-2020s
Charlton Apr 12, 2018
Many eyebrows were raised when Elon Musk
published a video claiming his SpaceX rocket company was
planning to blast commercial passengers across oceans in under an hour.
now, seven months and several
successful SpaceX launches and landings later - although none
with humans onboard - the company's president says commercial passenger rockets
will be with us within a decade. Speaking at the TED Conference in Vancouver
this week, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said:
"This is definitely going to happen", adding that the technology will be ready
and operational "within a decade, for sure," reports the
The computer-generated video published by
Musk in September 2017 suggested that, by 2024, up to 100 passengers would
board a rocket which would fly high into the atmosphere and cross the Earth at
16,000mph (compared to the 600mph or so of a conventional airliner). They would
then land at rocket pads located a few miles outside of major cities.
Instagram post at the time, Musk said: "Fly most places on Earth in under 30
minutes and anywhere in under 60. Cost per seat should be about the same as
full fare economy in an aircraft." (Does this include travel insurance?)
Wing shape research could
reduce dangerous vortex turbulence
15 May 2018
Wingtip vortices trail behind a plane (Credit: Ryoh
Like tiny horizontal tornadoes trailing behind large
aeroplanes, wingtip vortices pose a serious danger to smaller aircraft.
swirling, invisible trails of artificial turbulence can flip small planes and
force flight pattern separation, but research from the University of Illinois
could help lessen the risks.
Led by aerospace engineer Phillip Ansell, The
work studied the probable formation of destabilising flight hazards
behind the wings.
The risk to small aircraft is clear, said Tim Robinson,
editor in chief of the Royal Aeronautical Societys Aerospace magazine:
Dont get into the wake vortex.
If you are a smaller
aircraft and you get into the vortex of a bigger aircraft like an A380, it can
flip you over, he told Professional Engineering. It is not just
Cessnas, there have been cases when business jets come across a wake in the
cruise and experienced upset.
Although most wing shapes used today
create the turbulent vortices, the Illinois study demonstrated different
geometrics to reduce or eliminate them almost entirely.
Ansell said: The elliptic wing configuration has been used as the gold
standard of aerodynamic efficiency for the better part of a century. We teach
our students that it has the optimal loading characteristics [ratio of lift to
weight] and that it's often used when looking at wing efficiency for, say,
Previous academic studies have shown that,
theoretically, there are other designs that actually provide lower drag of a
planar wing for a fixed amount of lift generation. But what has been missing is
an actual apples-to-apples experiment to prove it. Ansell and his
graduate student Prateek Ranjan used data from previous research to analyse the
elliptic, Jones and Prandtl designs. The pair saw significant
differences in how the wings wakes developed, with no vortices
behind the Jones and Prandtl configurations. They had a much more gradual
bulk deformation of the whole wake structure, rather than an immediate coherent
roll-up, said Ansell. We now know that we can delay the formation
of wake vortex structures, and increase the distance it takes a trailing wake
vortex to roll up by about 12 times, making it weaker and less of a hazard to
the aircraft entering its wake. It is a big issue Reducing
vortices could allow closer flight patterns or help develop ideal lift
configurations for take-offs and landings. Wake vortices and the weight
of aircraft are what drives separation, both at airports and at cruise,
said Robinson. It is a big issue, and for busy airports it is staggering
arrivals. If the wake vortex dissipates, you can squeeze more planes in.
Despite finding Jones or Prandtl wings would have less turbulent air in their
wake, Ansell said they are not always the right option for new aircraft.
One of the things that first drew me to the topic of aerodynamics is that
the right answer always depends on what your constraints are, he said.
If you're building a tiny unmanned vehicle that will fly at a low speed,
you'll get a different solution for design needs than if you're building an
aircraft that will carry people at high altitudes and high speeds. So
technically, you could argue that all three wing types are the best solution.
The question is, what are your driving constraints, such as wingspan and
weight, behind selecting one of them? The research was published in the
Journal of Aircraft.
Airbus, Rolls-Royce to collaborate on UltraFan
Demonstration co-funded by Clean Sky 2, the European
Union research program focused on developing technology to reduce emissions.
May 8, 2018
Edited by Eric Brothers
Airbus and Rolls-Royce have signed
a collaboration agreement for the integration of Rolls-Royces UltraFan
demonstrator for flight testing. The integration solutions demonstration will
be co-funded by Clean Sky 2, the European Union research program focused on
developing technology to reduce emissions.
UltraFan is a scalable jet engine
design suitable for widebody or single-aisle aircraft and offers a 25% fuel
efficiency improvement over the first-generation of Rolls-Royce Trent
One element of the UltraFan program is planning for ground and flight tests,
and to support this Rolls-Royce has signed an agreement with Airbus to provide
both nacelle and engine/aircraft integration architecture and technology
enablers. Airbus integration solutions will play an important part in
achieving the overall fuel efficiency improvement of higher bypass ratio
engines such as UltraFan, through innovative architecture and associated
technologies. Axel Flaig, Airbus head of research and technology, said,
This technology development program with Rolls-Royce is a key project for
Airbus to pave the way towards the next generation integrated propulsion
systems that will be needed by airline customers towards the end of the next
UltraFan features a new engine core architecture and lean-burn
combustion system which will contribute to improved fuel burn efficiency and
lower emissions, along with a carbon titanium fan blade system and composite
casing which reduce weight. The engine also introduces a geared design to
deliver efficient power at high-bypass ratios.
Rolls-Royce Finds New Trent 1000 Durability
June 11, 2018, 11:55 AM
Rolls-Royce has identified another durability issue in its Trent
1000 series engines, this time involving the intermediate pressure compressor
in the Package B version. The variant has flown in service on Boeing 787s since
2012 and consists of 166 engines. The engine company said it has agreed with
regulatory authorities to carry out a one-time inspection of the Package B
fleet to further inform its understanding of the problem.
added that it expects the European Aviation Safety Agency to issue an
airworthiness directive in the coming days, resulting in
limited impact on customer operations.
We are committed to
eliminating this intermediate pressure compressor [IPC] durability issue
from the Trent 1000 fleet and we have already successfully run a redesigned
Package C IPC in a development engine, said Rolls-Royce in a June 11
statement. As a precautionary measure we have also launched a redesign of
the relevant part in the Package B engine as well as in the Trent 1000 Ten
engine, where, although currently a young fleet, we have not seen any examples
of reduced IPC durability.
In April Rolls-Royce advised operators that
its Trent 1000 Package C engine would require more inspections than previously
planned to address premature wear of compressor blades, a problem that first
came to light in 2016. The company reported that it had delivered 380 Package C
engines, powering some 25 percent of all Boeing 787s in service. The majority
passed inspection and therefore continues to fly, according to a Rolls-Royce
spokesman who declined to enumerate majority.
The UK aero-engine
company said in late May that it would accelerate the development of the
permanent fix to the IPC rotor issue on Package C engines and that it had
installed a revised compressor blade in an engine scheduled for testing this
month. We aim to have first parts available for engine overhaul in late
2018, rather than 2019 as originally planned, Rolls-Royce civil aerospace
president Chris Cholerton said.
Rolls also said it had begun speeding the
development of the new blade and a dedicated facility in Derby to build engines
on which it will test it. It also developed new on-wing inspection techniques
to support airlines in meeting the requirements of the airworthiness directives
as quickly and efficiently as possible, it said.
admitted Rolls-Royce expects the number of aircraft affected to rise in
the short term, as the deadline for the completion of initial inspections
approaches, though it remains tight-lipped on the actual numbers.
We are not confirming number of aircraft grounded, the spokesman