Stratolaunch, the massive airplane that is being built by Scaled Composites to deliver satellites to low Earth orbit, successfully ran all six of its Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines for the first time this week, the company has announced. The engines, which previously powered a Boeing 747, support a payload capacity of more than 150,000 pounds and an operational range of about 2,000 nautical miles. At 385 feet from wingtip to wingtip, Stratolaunch is the largest airplane, by wingspan, ever built.
Spike Aerospace, one of a handful of companies working to bring back supersonic civilian flight, said on Wednesday they will fly their first SX-1.2 demonstrator aircraft by the end of this month. The scaled, proof-of-concept unmanned aircraft will help validate the aerodynamics of the planned S-512 supersonic jet, the company said. "We're very excited to be crossing this milestone and going from conceptual design and pretty pictures to an actual flying aircraft,” said Vik Kachoria, CEO of Spike Aerospace.
The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in aviation was the subject of two safety alerts released by the NTSB on Wednesday, one for pilots and one for mechanics. The risk of CO poisoning is “generally overlooked and underestimated” by both pilots and mechanics, the safety board said. A defect or leak in the exhaust pipes or muffler can introduce CO into the cockpit, and exposure to the gas can lead to oxygen starvation and the onset of symptoms (headache, drowsiness, nausea or shortness of breath). Fatal accidents have resulted when the pilot is incapacitated by the exposure.