Category Archives: Aviation

Real life Transformers? Plans to build hybrid helicopter-plane to change aviation FOREVER

AIR travel could be changed forever if plans to build a helicopter-plane hybrid get off the ground.

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INFLUENCE: The Ka-90 is similar in design to the American V22 OspreyThe Russian-built Ka-90 will theoretically take off and land like a copter but cruise as an aeroplane.

The craft was first presented at the 2008 HeliRussia international exhibition in Moscow.

It will reportedly use a shortened helicopter rotor for take-off and landing.

CC BY-SA 4.0/VITALY V KUZMIN

It will theoretically take off like a chopper and cruise like an aeroplane“We expect that development will soon reach a more practical stage, outlining a preliminary design”

Head of the Russian Kamov Development Design Bureau, Oleg ZheltovWhen it reaches 250mph a jet engine turns on and its rotor folds on the back of the aircraft.

It is expected to reach speeds of 430-500mph in “airplane mode”.

Head of the Russian Kamov Development Design Bureau, Oleg Zheltov, told Sputnik: “This work is under way.

“We expect that development will soon reach a more practical stage, outlining a preliminary design.”

Researchers are now designing potential models and carrying out tests in wind tunnels.

The concept was originally proposed during the Cold War in 1985 but shelved after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It is similar to the SAS’s £43 million heli-plane nicknamed the “Transformer”.

The V22 Osprey – built by the US military – is twice as fast as the unit’s current flee of transport helicopter, has a top speed of 360mph and can carry at least 24 fully-equipped personnel.

Last month, Daily Star Online revealed the Boom jet – an airliner that will take passengers from New York to London in just three hours and 15 minutes.

The company is in talks with another 20 carriers, with that number tipped to swell after it featured at the Dubai Airshow.

The Boom passenger plane will hold 55 passengers, with a mini version of the jet – called Boom XB-1 – set for its debut test flight by the end of 2018.

5 Reasons No Nation Wants to Go to War with the U.S. Air Force

5 weapons, that is.  Dave Majumdar  The Air Force’s tiny fleet of twenty Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers is the only long-range

The Air Force’s tiny fleet of twenty Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers is the only long-range penetrating strike asset in the service’s arsenal. No other aircraft in the Air Force inventory has the range to take off from the continental United States and strike at targets on the other side of the globe inside highly contested airspace. The B-2 has an unrefueled range of around 6000 nautical miles, but that can be extended to around 10,000 with aerial refueling.

The U.S. Air Force is by far the most capable air arm on the planet. In addition to proper training and rigorous doctrine, the Air Force needs modern weapons to keep ahead of potential competitors. Over the past decade, America’s lead in the air has started to erode as Russia has slowly been recovering from the collapse of the Soviet Union [3] and China has begun to remerge as a superpower [4]. Nonetheless, these following five systems are the backbone of the U.S. Air Force and should continue to hold the advantage for some time to come if ever the unthinkable occurred:

Boeing LGM-30G “Minuteman III” Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

Though strategic nuclear deterrence has become less prominent since the end of the Cold War, the mission remains the single most important one for the Air Force. The backbone of America’s nuclear deterrence remains the 1960s-vintage LGM-30G Minuteman III [5]. Some 450 of these missiles form the land-based component of the so-called nuclear triad.

(This first appeared in 2014 and is being reposted due to reader interest.)

Over the years, the long-serving missile has been modified and upgraded with better guidance systems and new rocket motors. Though originally designed to be fitted with three multiple independent reentry vehicles each carrying a nuclear warhead, the current version of the missile carries only one 300-kiloton weapon. The United States plans to continue to upgrade that missile, but eventually will have to develop a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

Recommended: 5 Reasons No Nation Wants to Go to War with Israel [6]

The readiness of the nuclear-missile force has come into question repeatedly over the past several years. A number of officers have been caught cheating in tests—and a number of senior officers have been dismissed as a result. All of that has cast a shadow over the entire force.

Recommended5 Worst Generals in U.S. History [7]

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit

The Air Force’s tiny fleet of twenty Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers is the only long-range penetrating strike asset in the service’s arsenal. No other aircraft in the Air Force inventory has the range to take off from the continental United States and strike at targets on the other side of the globe inside highly contested airspace. The B-2 has an unrefueled range of around 6000 nautical miles, but that can be extended to around 10,000 with aerial refueling.

RecommendedCould the Battleship Make a Comeback? [8]

Nor does any other warplane in the Air Force inventory have the ability to penetrate the kinds of dense air defenses against which the B-2 was designed to operate. The B-2 was designed to fly deep into the heart of the Soviet Union to deliver a payload of thermonuclear bombs in the event of a third world war. While the B-2 has never had occasion to fly that doomsday mission, those same capabilities allow the bomber to strike with near impunity against almost any target around the globe. Further, while fighters like the F-22 [9] or F-35 are very stealthy against high-frequency fire control radars [10], a large flying-wing aircraft like the B-2 is also difficult to track using low frequency radars operating in the UHF and VHF bands.

The problem for the Air Force is that there were only twenty-one B-2s ordered before the first Bush administration terminated the program. Of those twenty-one jets, one has already been lost. Not only is the fleet tiny and in high demand, the bomber has sensitive coatings and is ridiculously expensive to maintain. To make matters worse, potential adversaries like Russia and China are learning to counter the B-2 [11].

The Air Force has a follow-on bomber project called the Long Range Strike-Bomber in the works which is set to become operational in the mid-2020s. The service hopes to acquire between eighty and 100 of the new stealth bombers for a cost of $550 million per jet, which is less than the B-2’s near $2 billion price tag.

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

High flying and fast, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter is arguably the best air superiority fighter in existence. In many ways, gaining and maintaining air superiority is the core mission for the service. Only with absolute control of the air and space can ground and sea surface elements maneuver unchallenged.

The F-22 is extremely stealthy and is fitted with advanced avionics. Further, it can cruise at supersonic speeds greater than Mach 1.8 at altitudes up to 60,000 ft for extended periods. When operating at lower speeds and altitudes, it has the ability to vector thrust from its engines—which gives it tremendous maneuverability. In short, the Raptor’s combination of sheer speed, altitude, stealth and powerful sensors makes it a lethal killer.

The problem for the Air Force is that there are only 186 Raptors in its inventory—less than half of what it needs. Of those 186, only 120 are “combat coded”—which is Air Force speak for ready for war. There are only six operational Raptor squadrons, one operational training squadron and a handful of test and training assets at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and Edwards Air Force Base in California. Those squadrons are also smaller than the typical Air Force fighter units. Raptor squadrons only have twenty-one jets and two attrition reserve planes. By contrast, a typical fighter squadron normally has twenty-four jets and two spares.

The Air Force is starting to investigate follow-ons to the Raptor with the F-X program.

Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle

The F-15E Strike Eagle [12] is the long-range heavy hitter of the Air Force’s fighter fleet. The Air Force has 213 of these dual-role fighters, which replaced the long-serving General Dynamic F-111 strike aircraft.

Unlike the air superiority–focused F-15C/D from which it was derived, the Strike Eagle is primarily a strike aircraft. It has far greater range and payload capacity than any other fighter in the Air Force inventory. But even with the added air-to-ground role, the F-15E remains a respectable fighter—especially in beyond-visual-range engagements.

The F-15E, like many aircraft in the Air Force’s ageing inventory, will continue to serve well into the 2030s. The service is upgrading the jets with new Raytheon APG-82 active electronically scanned array radars and other modern hardware, but a number of pilots complained that foreign versions of the jet are far better equipped. Meanwhile, while the upgrades will keep the Strike Eagle relevant into the 2030s, the Air Force has no plans to replace the venerable jets.

Originally, the Air Force had hoped to replace the Strike Eagle with a version of the F-22 Raptor, but those plans died when then defense secretary Robert Gates cancelled that program. One senior Air Force official suggested that the service should extend the production of the future LRS-B stealth bomber to fill the gap—but said that was his personal opinion, rather than service policy.

Boeing KC-135

While often overlooked, what makes the U.S. Air Force unique amongst the world’s air forces is its ability to hit targets around the globe. The KC-135 aerial refueling tanker [13] is what enables American air power to conduct its missions. That’s not just for the Air Force; the Navy and Marine Corps’ aviation assets are also dependent on the air arm’s “big wing” tankers to carry out their missions.

The Eisenhower-era KC-135 is old, and it needs to be replaced urgently. The Air Force has made several abortive attempts to recapitalize part of the fleet over the past two decades. The current Boeing KC-46 tanker effort will replace a part of the massive KC-135 fleet. However, even with the addition of 179 KC-46 tankers by 2028, the bulk of the fleet will remain KC-135s. The Air Force hopes to conduct follow-on competitions to replace the remainder of the fleet eventually.

— This story originally appeared in The National Interest CLICK HERE —

Why do airlines close the blinds on daylight flights?

This conundrum is proposed by T. Denham, but it’s not universal.

Apart from take-off and landing, when raised shades are obligatory, some airlines request window shades down during daylight, but no airline has the right to require it..

It seems to be an increasing trend for cabin crew (not just on BA) to come round and close the window blinds on longhaul daytime flights – am I the only one who likes to fly in daylight on a daytime flight?

I appreciate people may be connecting from far away and be jet lagged and want to sleep but certainly in Business they give out eye shades, and with better seat back TV entertainment “light pollution” on the screen is not so much of an issue.

And then especially on the BA Club World seat I find the seat lighting over your shoulder to be really inadequate for working if it’s a night flight or all the blinds are drawn. (I wish BA would address this).

I’ve noticed cabin crew getting more vehement if I politely remonstrate and say I want to keep the blinds open.

I hate it when I fly to the East Coast of the States on a daytime flight but all the blinds are down. If you’re flying over Greenland or Baffin Island it’s fascinating to look out – much better than watching “How I met your Mother” for the 100th time. I also just find it less claustrophobic if there is daylight – and isn’t it better for jetlag, especially flying westbound?

Sorry, just having a rant but am I just being selfish, or are there others who agree (or vehemently disagree) with me?- WhendersonWhy-window-blinds-plane-up-landing-833322

Blinds closed is more likely to prevail on long sectors, especially on an overnight flight travelling in an easterly direction.

Darkness might last only four to five hours and closing the blinds beyond that timeframe makes it easier to sleep.

Even when we board a flight feeling perky, there might be others who have just transferred from a red-eye and need sleep.

A darkened cabin also makes it easier to watch your video screen. During mealtimes it is only reasonable to open the shades to see what you’re doing, but shades down is democracy in action, the tyranny of the majority.

Find Airline Mistake fares: How to Snag the Ultimate Cheap Flights (Before Anyone Else Does)

How to Snag the Ultimate Cheap Flights (Before Anyone Else Does)When I’m looking for cheap places to travel I will usually do this: I’ll research a destination I’m interested in and then simply search for cheap flights on Momondo or Skyscanner

But lately I’ve followed another approach: I’ve let the cheap flight deals come to me instead.

If you’re as crazy about finding cheap flights as I am then you may already know of this service, but if you’re not aware of Scott’s Cheap Flights I highly recommend becoming a subscriber.

It’s a mailinglist service that regularly sends out incredible flight deals. The best part is that these are not ads or paid promotions from airlines, but they’re simply great hidden deals that you probably wouldn’t find if you were just searching for them yourself.

What is Scott’s Cheap Flights?

The team behind Scott’s Cheap Flights spends endless hours every day trying to find hidden promotions and error fares, then send you alerts when they’ve found a sweet deal.

I’ve been subscribed for a little while now and I regularly get incredible e-mails like this:

Return flights from Amsterdam to Guatemala for 228 EUR? Be still my beating heart!

Here are a just few other recent deals I got:

As you can see, some of these flights are eye-poppingly cheap. Others are like 30 – 40% below the normal price, which is still pretty darn amazing!

In case it’s too small to read, these deals include return flights from London to Costa Rica for just £269 (!), and direct return flights from Europe to US & Bangkok in the €300s (!!). (Keep in mind these are just some examples from Europe as that’s what I’ve set my alerts to, but you can get flight deals from anywhere in the world.)

So why are these flights so cheap?

Well, a lot of these opportunities simply come from airlines trying to fill seats with special offers. But in some cases they may also be so-called error fares, which are mistakes is the reservation systems that led to accidental low fares. With error fares it’s recommended to wait at least a couple of days to make sure the airline will honor the low price, but they usually do.

You can get some alerts for free by signing up at Scott’s Cheap Flights. You can also sign up for a paid annual subscription, which gets you more deals that free subscribers don’t get. It also lets you select which airports you want to fly out of. (This post is not a promotion, by the way. I’ve just used the paid subscription myself and want to tell you about it.)

Since I’m based in Portugal I’ve set my airports to Lisbon and Porto (of course), but also added Madrid which is relatively close by, plus Amsterdam (where my family lives) and London (where I used to live and which is always a nice hub to fly into). If you enter at least a few good starting points, you’ll get a lot of interesting deals, which you can combine with cheap flights from budget airlines like Easyjet or AirEuropa (if you’re in Europe) to complete the itinerary.

Being a subscriber of this list feels like having a personal assistant scour the web for the latest deals.

Since Scott’s Cheap Flights is funded through the paid subscriptions (and not through advertising) the tips are always totally independent and include any and all airlines.

What’s the catch?

There has to be a catch, right?

Well, yes… kinda.

You have to be able to decide fast, as these deals tend to disappear in a few days.

Usually you also need some degree of flexibility. Flights might depart from a distant airport or require a stop at someplace weird. The error fares sometimes force you to backtrack, e.g. head east before heading west, which may feel a little counter-intuitive.

But if you can live with a longer journey time (sometimes just a few hours more) then you’ll surely not mind paying peanuts for these tickets.

What can be annoying sometimes is that the alert will tell you the cheap tickets are broadly available between, say, February and April (and it will give you an example link to Momondo), but when you search for them yourself they are nearly impossible to find. Getting the flight you want can require a bit of patience.

What about Secret Flying?

Another popular deals and error fares website is Secret Flying. They often have some of the same deals (I’m sure they’re often copying each other).

I recommend both of these sites though I prefer Scott’s Cheap Flights because it sends you emails, while I always forget to check Secret Flying. By the time I see something on Secret Flying, it’s usually already gone!

Scott’s Cheap Flights has 100,000+ subscribers at this point so it’s by no means a secret (and neither is Secret Flying), but if you book quickly you can snatch up those cheap tickets before anyone else will.

Boeing is set to deliver a refueling tanker that can gas up a jet in midair in complete darkness — the first of its kind.

Boeing is set to deliver a refueling tanker that can gas up a jet in midair in complete darkness — the first of its kind.

The U.S. Air Force is buying 179of the new KC-46 ‘Pegasus’ tankers, which are set to begin delivery at the end of this year.

The Air Force has had stealthy jets for decades, but even they have to turn on their lights when refueling in the sky. The KC-46’s ability to gas up an aircraft in complete darkness is a first for any military.

The new jet is part of a $44 billion program to begin replacing hundreds of the Air Force’s KC-135 tankers, which have been flying since the Eisenhower Administration.

Boeing showed off the new Pegasus for the first time in May, inside a hangar north of Seattle.

Adapted from Boeing’s twin-aisle 767, each matte gray KC-46 bristles with missile defenses, high definition cameras and infrared lights for flying under the cover of night.

The military brass were skeptical that refueling in pitch black could be done at all. Boeing’s chief test pilot for the Pegasus, Ron Johnson, said it took years to prove it was possible.

Boeing and Air Force test pilots first used the KC-46 to perform a refueling in total darkness in December. The pilots switched off all visible lights and donned night vision goggles, and an enormous C-17 cargo plane crept up behind the KC-46. The pair linked up, and history was made.

The KC-46 is designed for combat. Airmen can sprint to the jet and press a single button on its exterior to start its onboard power systems, bringing the aircraft to life. The crew ascends through a hatch underneath the jet’s nose and is flying in 10 minutes. No stairs needed.

A refueling boom pumps 1,200 gallons every minute to Air Force jets, enough to fill a passenger car in less than a second. Two underwing pods unfurl hoses to refuel Navy, Marine and allied jets with 400 gallons per minute. The KC-46 carries just shy of 32,000 gallons of gas.

Pilots have been guiding tankers using a porthole view used for the last 60 years, but that’s not so with the Pegasus. Instead, this jet has a high-tech workstation with high definition stereoscopic cameras that give a 185-degree view of everything between the wingtips. 3D glasses give the boom operator a perception of depth.

The jet can operate around chemical and biological attacks and is designed to withstand the pulse of a nuclear blast. It has room for 114 troops, or 54 patients or 65,000 pounds of cargo.

But the KC-46 is behind schedule and way over budget, according to the Government Accountability Office. Boeing was originally supposed to deliver the first 18 tankers by August, but that deadline has slipped and the GAO warns that additional delays are possible.

Despite the cost overruns, the taypayer isn’t on the hook. Boeing won the contract to develop the KC-46 at a fixed price of $4.9 billion, and is on the hook for any costs beyond that. The manufacturer has already had to write off $2 billion due to extensive changes it has to make in the 120 miles of wiring that each jet contains.

Mike Gibbons, the 33-year Boeing veteran who quietly took over the KC-46 program last August, says the program is done with the expensive write offs. But Boeing and the Air Force said they’re again reviewing the schedule.

Still, Gibbons said in May he won’t give the Air Force its jet unless it’s ready.

“Our number one goal is to make sure that we don’t deliver aircraft until they are fully capable and they will require no [modifications] after they deliver,” he said.

After taking a flight on Emirates, I never want to fly a domestic airline again

after-taking-a-flight-on-emirates-i-never-want-to-fly-a-domestic-airline-againI recently booked a flight from New York City to Milan for a quick getaway. Faced with the choice of flying Delta or Emirates, both of which had round-trip economy-class tickets for about $800, I quickly opted for the Middle Eastern airline.

Emirates, which is owned by Dubai’s government, has exploded onto the US market in the past several years. It is regularly rated one of the top airlines in the world, and I was psyched to experience it on the eight-hour flight.

The trip did not disappoint. I ate salmon and saffron risotto, drank complimentary (and surprisingly decent) wine, and watched a bunch of movies, including the recent Oscar winners “Birdman” and “Whiplash.”

Even before I boarded my flight from Milan to New York, I could tell this would be different from a flight on most domestic airlines. Any passenger — not just those in business class — could take a newspaper or magazine for the trip.

Even before I boarded my flight from Milan to New York, I could tell this would be different from a flight on most domestic airlines. Any passenger — not just those in business class — could take a newspaper or magazine for the trip.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Freshly poured mimosas were available upon boarding, but unfortunately for me, those were reserved for business-class travelers.

Freshly poured mimosas were available upon boarding, but unfortunately for me, those were reserved for business-class travelers.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The flowers hanging by the bathroom were a nice touch. They came down before takeoff.

The flowers hanging by the bathroom were a nice touch. They came down before takeoff.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Business class looked pretty cushy, with reclining seats, reading lamps, and big TV screens.

Business class looked pretty cushy, with reclining seats, reading lamps, and big TV screens.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

But I wasn’t prepared to pony up several thousand dollars for an eight-hour flight, so I kept heading toward the back of the plane.

 But I wasn't prepared to pony up several thousand dollars for an eight-hour flight, so I kept heading toward the back of the plane.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

At least the overhead bins were spacious, even in the rear.

At least the overhead bins were spacious, even in the rear.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

My seat, 27K, was a window seat, and my row was full. Even so, I had plenty of room to wiggle my knees around. I’d hoped to fly on one of Emirates’ impressive new A380 planes, which have two decks and slightly larger economy seats. But it was hard to complain.

My seat, 27K, was a window seat, and my row was full. Even so, I had plenty of room to wiggle my knees around. I'd hoped to fly on one of Emirates' impressive new A380 planes, which have two decks and slightly larger economy seats. But it was hard to complain.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

And one thing’s for sure … I lucked out with the view. That’s one very large airplane wing, with the Swiss Alps in the background!

And one thing's for sure ... I lucked out with the view. That's one very large airplane wing, with the Swiss Alps in the background!

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Each seat came with a wrapped blanket and pillow …

Each seat came with a wrapped blanket and pillow ...

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

And a set of headphones and some brightly colored stickers.

And a set of headphones and some brightly colored stickers.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The stickers had a cool purpose: Passengers were instructed to put them on their seatbacks to let flight attendants know if they wanted to be woken up for food or shopping.

The stickers had a cool purpose: Passengers were instructed to put them on their seatbacks to let flight attendants know if they wanted to be woken up for food or shopping.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I made sure I would be awoken for dinner. I had heard good things about Emirates’ cuisine (Saveur’s experts have named its business-class in-flight fare the best two years in a row) and didn’t want to miss it.

I made sure I would be awoken for dinner. I had heard good things about Emirates' cuisine (Saveur's experts have named its business-class in-flight fare the best two years in a row) and didn't want to miss it.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Before we took off, a flight attendant came around with hot towels. In economy class!

Before we took off, a flight attendant came around with hot towels. In economy class!

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

She also handed each passenger a printed menu. In economy!

She also handed each passenger a printed menu. In economy!

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

After takeoff, I started browsing the complimentary issue of Italian fashion glossy Grazia, which I’d picked up at the newsstand. It almost immediately put me to sleep …

After takeoff, I started browsing the complimentary issue of Italian fashion glossy Grazia, which I'd picked up at the newsstand. It almost immediately put me to sleep ...

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

But I was awoken soon after when the drink cart rolled up. Unlike on most domestic airlines (even those that fly internationally), the booze was free. The white wine wasn’t half bad, and the flight attendant passed me a second bottle before I even had to ask for one. My seat neighbor collected mini bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label as if it were going out of production.

But I was awoken soon after when the drink cart rolled up. Unlike on most domestic airlines (even those that fly internationally), the booze was free. The white wine wasn't half bad, and the flight attendant passed me a second bottle before I even had to ask for one. My seat neighbor collected mini bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label as if it were going out of production.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Champagne was the only thing economy-class passengers had to pay for.

Champagne was the only thing economy-class passengers had to pay for.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The menu was printed in both English and Arabic. Normally I would avoid seafood on an airplane, but I decided to try the pan-fried salmon. How bad could it be?

The menu was printed in both English and Arabic. Normally I would avoid seafood on an airplane, but I decided to try the pan-fried salmon. How bad could it be?

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

It was actually excellent! The fish and risotto were both flavorful, no small feat for airplane food. The food was served hot, and the utensils were made of metal, not plastic.

It was actually excellent! The fish and risotto were both flavorful, no small feat for airplane food. The food was served hot, and the utensils were made of metal, not plastic.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Here’s a closer look at lunch.

Here's a closer look at lunch.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I was ready to take advantage of “Ice,” Emirates’ entertainment system. The airline review site Skytrax just ranked Emirates the best airline for in-flight entertainment, and I was pretty impressed with the selection.

I was ready to take advantage of "Ice," Emirates' entertainment system. The airline review site Skytrax just ranked Emirates the best airline for in-flight entertainment, and I was pretty impressed with the selection.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

There were hundreds of movies to choose from, including recent Oscar winners like “Birdman,” “The Theory of Everything,” and “Whiplash.”

There were hundreds of movies to choose from, including recent Oscar winners like "Birdman," "The Theory of Everything," and "Whiplash."

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

There was also a program that let customers call one another’s seats. I was flying solo, so I didn’t try it out, but I could see kids having a field day making prank calls with it.

There was also a program that let customers call one another's seats. I was flying solo, so I didn't try it out, but I could see kids having a field day making prank calls with it.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The coolest part of Ice were the real-time cameras on the front and underbelly on the plane.

The coolest part of Ice were the real-time cameras on the front and underbelly on the plane.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I was thrilled to find a charger next to the infotainment system. It was compatible with all kinds of plugs.

I was thrilled to find a charger next to the infotainment system. It was compatible with all kinds of plugs.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Shortly before we landed, the flight attendants handed out our “snack” — “pizza margherita al pesto.” I had high expectations …

Shortly before we landed, the flight attendants handed out our "snack" — "pizza margherita al pesto." I had high expectations ...

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

… but it was a real letdown. The dough was soggy, and I didn’t taste any pesto at all. It was still better than most airplane food I’ve eaten, though, so I decided to give them a pass on the dish.

... but it was a real letdown. The dough was soggy, and I didn't taste any pesto at all. It was still better than most airplane food I've eaten, though, so I decided to give them a pass on the dish.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

After eight hours, even a first-class suite couldn’t have enticed me to stay on the plane a minute longer. But I would definitely choose Emirates over any of the domestic airlines for my next international trip.

After eight hours, even a first-class suite couldn't have enticed me to stay on the plane a minute longer. But I would definitely choose Emirates over any of the domestic airlines for my next international trip.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

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8 Awesome Gadgets Every Female Traveler Should Check Out

For some of us, wanderlust never dies. And whether you are a jetsetter, businesswoman, or nomadic wanderer, having the right tools for the trip can make your travels effortless. There’s a ton of gadgets and apps out there so we’ve sifted through them and compiled a bunch that could serve every kind of globetrotting lady. So here it is, our definitive list of the top eight essential gadgets for women travellers—because when we’re bound for strange, beautiful, and faraway places, we’re boundless.

GoGirl

When you gotta go, you gotta go… We couldn’t really have a list of travel essentials for women without including this gadget, which makes life for nature-loving women a whole lot easier. The Go Girlis a feminine urination device that allows women to pee standing up. It’s easy to clean, fits in your purse, and makes peeing in the woods just as simple for the ladies as it is for men. Yay, for no more rashes from strange plants (#sorrynotsorry, the struggle is real).

Nimb Smart Ring

The unfortunate reality is that personal safety is always in the back of a woman’s mind, especially if she’s traveling alone. The Nimb is a sleek ‘Smart ring’ that tracks your location and gives you quick access to emergency services, people nearby, and chosen contacts. By holding Nimb’s button down for three seconds, you alert these contacts to your location, potentially saving your life. The ring is chargeable, lasting for two weeks at a time with regular use, and compatible with recent Bluetooth, Apple, Android, and Windows Mobile systems and specifications. Safe, savvy, and stylish. Preorder yours on Indiegogo now.

Bluetooth Beanie & SleepPhones

A Bluetooth beanie from BE Headwear is an unconventional pick for a travel gadget list, but for an always on-the-go traveller it’s sporty, fun, and worth it. This gadget lets you listen to music through your hat, making it perfect for bike trips (install it into your helmet) or long plane rides, where a good playlist can make a long trip shorter. If you’re not into listening on the fly, then try Sleepphones, and hear your fave playlist comfortably while you fall asleep.

JBL Charge 3

What’s life without music? Grab a JBL Charge 3 so you don’t have to find out. There seem to be countless Bluetooth speakers out there, but the Charge 3 stands high among them in durability, sound quality, size and design—and importantly, popularity. In addition to its admired technical features, the Charge 3 is economical, waterproof, and available in several different colours, which makes it a great choice particularly for summer travel.

How safe is flying? Take the aviation safety quiz

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in aviation or at least riding a commercial aircraft safely from Point A to Point B. Airplane accidents tend to get hyped in the media, generating more anxiety about flying than the facts warrant. Is it safest to fly in the front or back of an airliner? Are some airlines safer than others? Take this quiz to test your knowledge of aviation safety.

1. Worldwide, the number of people who died from aviation accidents went up in 2012. True or False

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2. In the US, what form of transportation is the safest statistically?

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3. To improve survivability, an FAA regulation requires all aircraft built after 2009 to have ...

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4. Where is the safest place to sit in a commercial aircraft?

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5. The No. 1 job of a flight attendant is ...

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6. Most aviation accidents are caused by ...

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7. What’s the oldest a commercial airline pilot can be?

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8. On Jan. 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 piloted by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger took off from LaGuardia airport in N.J. but soon crash landed in the Hudson River. No one died. In fact, a ferry arrived to rescue all passengers and crew within four minutes of the crash. What caused the crash?

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9. Which airline is on the world's Top 10 safest airlines list, according to the Air Transport Rating Agency in 2011 (based on 2010 data).

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10. In the US, which of the following had the lowest accident rate (accident per hours flown) in 2012?

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11. The problem of wake turbulence – a vortex of spinning air lingering behind a large aircraft – has been mitigated by ...

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12. Flight attendants must stay alert to prevent an emergency door being opened mid-flight by an anxious passenger. True or false?

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13. Which government agency investigates civilian aircraft accidents in the US?

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14. When was the last fatal crash by a commercial airline in the US?

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15. True or false? If you're travelling long distances, you should take multiple, short flights – that don't gain too much altitude – because they are statistically the safest.

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16. What language (or languages) must all air traffic controllers speak with pilots of international commercial airlines?

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17. Which of the following has NOT been a successful way of keeping birds away from airport runways?

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18. When a plane crashes, most people die. True or false?

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19. In late 2011, the FAA proposed new rest rules for commercial aviation pilots, including that pilots must have minimum rest periods of at least 10 hours between shifts – but exempted one group. Which group was exempted?

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20. Over the past decade, how many fatal accidents have occurred on average each year on large US commercial airlines?

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21. Plane crashes don't get as much media coverage as murders. True or false?

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