Air traffic for ZRH/LSZH: A Google maps mashup

The Air Traffic Google maps mashup (provided by ZHAW) that displays departing and arriving planes at Zurich airport has received quite some media attention. It’s not fully real-time for technical and security reasons (fear of terror attacks, as usual) and when observing the airplane lineup during the approach to runway 28 I noticed that some planes were not displayed (I don’t know the reason however). A nice idea nonetheless.

Supersonic travel ever again?

I wonder how long it will take until there will be a supersonic airliner[1] again? I don’t know of anything like a “new Concorde” in the mid-term pipelines of any of the few major manufacturers of commercial jetliners (there are a couple of ongoing “low budget” studies though). Supersonic travel is not so à la mode due to its historical association with high fuel consumption, environmental pollution and high operating costs. However, supersonic commercial travel has distinct advantages from an economical point of view and I can hardly believe that the world can do without it for a long time. Further, technology has made quite some progress since the development of the Concorde (more than 40 years ago!) which may enable future supersonic airliners to overcome some of the deficiencies and disadvantages of their predecessor(s).

Some nice videos about the Concorde:

Concorde Flight to Iceland

Concorde : Thank you for 27 supersonic years


Concorde Queen of thesk

Concorde breaking the sound barrier

Adieu supersonic, good bye Concorde!

[1] Commercial “space trips” for fun don’t count ;) They’re certainly a great personal experience, but their importance to world economy is probably negligible.

Steve Fossett: Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer

Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer : Home Page:

Mission Status: HALFWAY. 07:01:33 UTC at Mission Control. Elapsed Journey time: 30 hours 15 minutes 06 seconds. Distance covered approximately 9,841 nautical miles.

Steve has made it halfway, and is pleased with the progress he has made. He is 275 miles west of Kolkatta (Culcutta) and currently traveling at 300 knots/ 345 mph (ground speed).

At 10:03 UTC (93.4°, 300.00 kts, 46,801 ft, E79.05624, N23.23235) he’s right at the border of PR China (Mission Tracking Page). I hope he will make it! I find it very remarkable that a multimillionaire like Steve Fossett is risking his own life for this great challenge. Good luck! :)

Update: He did it, after about 67 hrs in the air! Congrats!

Airbus A380 to be unveiled on Jan 18

Witness the unveiling live: Airbus A380, the largest airliner in the history of civil aviation!

Hopefully, it’s not as underpowered as the A340-300.. a quick’n’dirty calculation:

A340-300: 4*15400(17000)/275000 = 0.224 (0.247)
A380-800: 4*35000/560000 = 0.25

(ratio = total maximum kg thrust per kg MTOW)

Oops :/

(Addendum: Please note that
i) The Antonov An-225 is still the largest airplane on earth: length 84.0 m, wingspan: 88.4 m, MTOW: 600’000 kg
ii) “Underpowering” an aircraft is usually done on purpose for the sake of cheaper operation and better pollution control.

[Update 20040118: Oh. Did live streaming work for you? For me, it didn’t. In compensation I was promoted to “A380 fleet captain” as I had 15 correct answers in a quiz of 14 questions.. I feel sooo flattered ;))



An interesting new technology for flight:


Or as FanWing Ltd. calls it: “a revolution in flight technology” :)

Reminds me of another (even more revolutionary) interesting new flight technology, The Lifter Project. According to expectations, the efficiencies of these technologies are quite different. Whereas the FanWing
achieves an efficiency in the order of 20 g of lift per watt of input power, the best Lifters seem to achieve a lift efficiency of about 0.64 g/w (DC, not pulsed) and 2.55 g/w in theory (pulsed DC)