No one knows with certainty what mix of factors brought down two of the world’s most sophisticated passenger jets. The final accident reports from the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes are still being drafted. Jan Tegler looks at how the crews might have been able to save their aircraft from all that was working against them.
Modern airliners do a good job of flying automatically until something unexpected happens. At that point, a pilot takes control and typically resolves the problem with no drama or fanfare. Very rarely, though, a pilot must save the day or die trying. For passenger planes to fly autonomously, software would have to be capable of handling these edge cases.
Cybersecurity attacks on airlines and their partners are neither a matter of if nor when. They are already happening with serious consequences. Joshua Hatch spoke to independent security experts and aviation executives about the greatest threats ahead.
NASA has long been working with the FAA and the aviation industry to improve technologies for containing broken fan blades and preventing damage like that which killed a Southwest Airlines passenger. Keith Button looks at a research project that could help prevent future tragedies.
As powerful as computational fluid dynamics and supercomputing are, they have not come close to relegating wind tunnels to history. In fact, in the U.S., a new tunnel is going up at MIT, and NASA is deliberating whether it should close a historic tunnel at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia four years from now as planned.