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I Can Hardly Believe The B-1B Is 30 Years Old

I can hardly believe that the B-1B — the US Air Force’s four-engine supersonic, sweep-wing strategic bomber — is 30 years old. It still looks like an aircraft from the distant future. This one was photographed over Iraq after conducting air strikes in Syria against ISIL targets on September 27, 2014.


Giz Explains: Why The Human Body Can't Handle Heavy Acceleration

Our bodies are surprisingly resilient in many situations, but rapid acceleration is not one of them. While the human body can withstand any constant speed — be it 20km/h or 20 billion kilometres per hour — we can only change that rate of travel relatively slowly. Speed up or slow down too quickly and it’s lights out for you, permanently.


Monster Machines: The F-22 Is Finally Seeing Action After 7 Years

A mere seven years (less than two presidential terms) after it was declared fit for combat operations, and then repeatedly grounded for operational issues, the F-22 Raptor has finally had its first taste of war, in the skies over what used to be Syria.


Bomber Pilot Saves The Day In Boeing 737 Emergency Landing

This is US Air Force Captain Mark Gongol and his usual ride, a B-1B Lancer. But on 30 December 2013, Gongol wasn’t flying his four-engine supersonic strategic nuclear bomber. He was just one of the 151 passengers inside United Flight 1637, but, when the pilot had a cardiac problem, he knew he had to step in.


Monster Machines: America's Most Important Spy Plane That Isn't An SR-71 Blackbird

The Boeing RC-135 is the most effective American spyplane you’ve never heard of. It’s the John Paul Jones to the SR-71′s Robert Plant — a quiet workhorse that has flown over countless US missions while providing vital, real-time signals intelligence.


Monster Machines: Northrop's Flying Ram Would Have Sliced Enemy Planes Midair

War drives technological innovation like little else. No proposal is too ambitious, impractical, or downright foolhardy for consideration if it provides a strategic advantage. This school of thinking has led to atomic bombs, autonomous vehicles, and, in 1945, a short-lived fighter prototype that could cut through enemy aircraft in midair.


Monster Machines: This Absurd Flying Whale Ushered In A New Age Of Stealth Technology

Not every program DARPA undertakes can be another Big Dog — the agency has had its fair share of fizzled experiments over the years — but even those failures can yield exciting new insights. Just look at the Northrop Tacit Blue, a plane so unwieldy it incorporated more redundancy than the Space Shuttle but also demonstrated the potency of curved stealth design.


Monster Machines: The Grandfather Of The Space Shuttle Looked Like A UFO

In the late 1950s, at the dawn of the Space Age, the idea that a wingless vehicle could somehow generate lift just from its body shape was seen as beyond preposterous. But less than a decade later, this early forerunner of the Space Shuttle proved the design far more science than fiction.


Monster Machines: Boeing's Bird Of Prey

From the U-2 Dragon Lady and A-12 Oxcart, to the SR-71 Blackbird and D-12 Ramjet Drone, there’s been no shortage of exotic aircraft (and UFO sightings) in the skies over Nevada’s Area 51. But among the most extreme examples of bleeding-edge avionic design tested was the otherworldly Boeing Bird of Prey.


The Insane 1950s Flight Sim That Taught WWII Airmen To Refuel In Midair

Performing a midair fuel transfer between aircraft is among the most technically challenging maneuvers in aviation, especially when flying a prop-driven, WWII-era C-97 Stratotanker. That’s why neophyte pilots spent hours at the controls of this life-size simulator before they ever set foot in the real thing.


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