Boeing’s X-48C Blended Wing Research Aircraft Completes First Flight Successfully

Boeing, one of the leading manufacturers of airplanes in the world, announced that its blended wing body research aircraft, the X-48C, took to the skies for the first time on the 7th of August, 2012 at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Centre.

The X-48C is an 8.5% scale replica of a heavy-lift subsonic aircraft that does not use the traditional tube and wing aircraft design that has seen us through half a decade of passenger air travel. It is a remotely-piloted triangular-shaped hybrid wing-body aircraft, and it offers more internal space for passengers and cargo, and cuts through the air with greater efficiency.

The model X-48C has a wingspan of 21 feet, and it weighs 500 pounds. It is capable of flying for 35 minutes, and it can reach a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet. Although the test flight lasted for only 9 minutes, it was enough for NASA to consider it a successful test.

The actual heavy-lift aircraft that Boeing is planning to develop has a wingspan of 240 feet, and it may be constructed for military applications, or even commercial flights, in the next 15 to 20 years. Other than providing more internal space and increasing flight efficiency, this aircraft is also expected to improve fuel efficiency and reduce noise.

While this revolutionary aircraft is still being developed, airlines and aircraft owners can try other ways to reduce fuel costs and noise pollution. Using aircraft tugs to move airplanes can help you reduce fuel, labor, and repair costs, as well as harmful emissions and noise. Take a look at Lindbergh Aircraft Tug Company’s great selection of superior quality airplane tow tugs.

Obama Administration Proposes a $100-a-Flight Fee on Corporate Jets

As part of the Obama Deficit Plan, turbine-powered airplanes, such as corporate jets, may be charged a fee of $100 per flight for using the United States air traffic system.

The Obama Administration recommended the fee to the congressional committee that has been charged with finding solutions to the federal deficit problem, saying that it will raise about $11 billion over the course of 10 years. If approved, the fee will apply to private aircrafts, which currently do not pay a fair share of the operational costs of the aviation system.

Approximately two-thirds of the total cost of operating the air traffic system is paid with funds raised through aviation excise taxes, which include levies on fuel and air tickets. According to the Depart of Transportation, these taxes collectively raised about $10.8 billion last year.

There is presently a disparity between the amounts that airlines and airline passengers contribute to the system and the amounts that private aircraft users pay. A commercial airplane flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco will generate between $1,300 and $2,000 in taxes, whereas a private jet using almost the same air traffic control services pays only about $60 in fuel taxes.

Nine associations formed a coalition to represent manufacturers and users of corporate and private airplanes, and they issued a joint statement to oppose the proposal.

This proposal can mean higher operational costs for owners of corporate and private aircrafts. However, aircraft owners can take other measures to lower their costs, such as using airplane tow tugs. Lindbergh Aircraft Tug Company produces advanced aircraft tugs that can help you save on fuel, labor, and repair costs.

Tips for Winter Flying

Flying in the winter can be fun, but it also exposes you and your aircraft to certain hazards. Strong winds, drifting snow, and icy conditions can make it difficult for you to keep your aircraft under control, both in the air and on the ground. If you want to have a safe and enjoyable flight, make sure you follow these winter flying tips:

• If the hangar is available, keep your aircraft there the night before the flight.
• If you cannot gain access to a hangar, use engine and wing covers to protect your aircraft. Make sure that the propeller, windshield, tail, and top of the cabin are properly covered as well.
• Preheat your aircraft’s engine with an electric heater, firewall-mounted heater, or a Tanis preheating system.
• Keep fuel tanks full to prevent condensation.
• Dress warmly both on the ground and in the plane.
• Understand the winter operating capabilities of your aircraft. If you are using skis, make sure that your aircraft has enough power to run through deep snow and avoid making sharp and abrupt turns.
• Keep the engine warm during letdown.
• Plan an alternate landing site in case the weather in your destination does not allow a safe landing.
• Take time to look out for snow drifts and other hazards before landing.
• After the flight, fill up the fuel tanks, and cover and tie down your aircraft.
• Make sure you have a survival kit to help you overcome emergency situations. The kit should include enough food to last for two weeks, first aid kit, hatchet or ax, knife, firearm and ammunition, matches, and signaling devices.

Moving your aircraft around in the airbase can be difficult during winter. As such, it is advisable that you use a powered aircraft tug. Lindbergh offers a wide range of airplane tow tugs that can make the task of moving aircrafts easier, more efficient, and safer during winter.