Why Can't We Protect Commercial Planes From Attacks?

Last week's downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over the disputed territory of Eastern Ukraine has set off worldwide outcries against the conflict, and calls to better defend commercial airlines from missile attack. But is it even possible to defend civilian jets against military-grade weapons? » 7/24/14 12:52pm 7/24/14 12:52pm

The Fighter Jet We Could Have Built Instead of the F-35

The mid-1990s found the U.S. military in need of a low-cost, supersonic stealth fighter jet that all three armed services branches could field. Easy, right? The subsequent—and highly contentious—design competition between Boeing and Lockheed saw the winner take home a $200 billion defense contract, which in turn… » 7/18/14 2:11pm 7/18/14 2:11pm

The designer of the F-16 explains why the F-35 is such a crappy plane

According to the Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16, the F35 is a turkey. Inherently, a terrible airplane. An airplane built for a dumb idea. A kludge that will fail time and time again. Just impossibly hopeless. And judging from the bajillion times the F-35 fleet has been grounded, well, he's probably not wrong.… » 6/17/14 7:39am 6/17/14 7:39am

The Three Biggest Airlines Just Made Carry-On Sizes Even Smaller

It's a tale as old as time: Traveler meets luggage. Traveler falls in love. Traveler buys luggage. Traveler causes a scene as flight attendant forces traveler to pay $75 for improperly-sized baggage. And if you've secretly been holding out hope that we might one day be able to put this bit of passenger pageantry… » 6/12/14 5:40pm 6/12/14 5:40pm

Why It's Taking Satellites So Long to Find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Today, we're hearing yet another report about a satellite that has spotted "potential objects," which might be floating wreckage from the vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Today, those images come from France. Yesterday, the images came from China. Last week it was an Australian bird making discoveries. » 3/23/14 3:25pm 3/23/14 3:25pm

The 500 MPH Superplane That Bugatti Had to Hide From the Nazis

This is the Bugatti Model 100P: A 900 HP, 500 MPH, race plane imagined by none other than legendary automotive designer Ettore Bugatti, so technologically advanced that it could have single-handedly dominated the skies of WWII for Germany, had the Nazis ever gotten their hands on it. But after more than seven decades… » 3/10/14 11:59am 3/10/14 11:59am

The F-111 Aardvark: A Flying Transformer With a Two-Man Escape Pod

Packing cutting-edge technologies and pioneering design elements, the General Dynamics F-111 "Aardvark" was among the most ambitious aviation programs of its era. Even the plane's humble ejection system sported a design more at home in a NASA spacecraft than a USAF aircraft. » 2/04/14 3:58pm 2/04/14 3:58pm

Airports Are Pretty Awesome When They're Not Stressing You Out

The default emotions in airports are pretty much all negative. You're either late, exhausted, frustrated, hungry, regretting Panda Express, remembering all the crucial things that were in the checked bag you'll never see again, or composing a complaint letter/Tweet in your head. But airports are also beautiful. » 12/08/13 4:20pm 12/08/13 4:20pm

What it's like to fly a fighter jet—strapped to its wing

No music. No flashy moves. No missile launches. And yet this video is still incredible. It's just flying sequence after flying sequence of Russian Air Force MiG-31s cruising through the sky. Filmed by GoPro cameras strapped to a MiG, this footage is probably the closest we'll ever get to flying a fighter jet. Seeing… » 12/05/13 10:14am 12/05/13 10:14am

Newly captured photo shows Russia's new badass shark stealth fighter

A new photo captured by Artyom Anikeev shows Russia's new Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter—the F-22 Raptor's nemesis. According to The Aviationist, its new camouflage—inspired by a typical white tip Red Sea's shark—will make it look "as a rhomboidal shaped aircraft, smaller than the actual airplane" from a distance. » 12/02/13 9:13am 12/02/13 9:13am

What International Air Travel Was Like in the 1930s

Today we largely take international air travel for granted. Every major city in the world is little more than a hop, skip, and jump away. But what was it actually like to fly halfway around the world in the 1930s, when the very concept was still novel? Pretty incredible, as it turns out—provided you could afford it. » 11/27/13 5:03pm 11/27/13 5:03pm

A Brief History of Airspace Design

Think Los Angeles at rush hour is bad? Try doing it half-blindfolded with nothing but a radio and a few blinking lights to show you the way. That's how pilots navigate the invisible highways in the sky, and there's a beautiful design that makes it all work. It only took about a hundred years to come up with it. » 11/26/13 10:14am 11/26/13 10:14am