Connect with us

Aviation

AI pilot operates experimental F-16 fighter jet

AI's Potential to Replace Pilots in Future U.S. Warplane Operations Raises Concerns, Expert Warns

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® (NYSE: LMT) recently collaborated with the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and various government and industry partners to host U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall for a flight aboard the X-62A Variable In-flight Simulation Test Aircraft (VISTA). This aircraft is unique, having been modified specifically for testing artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomy capabilities.

VISTA serves as a trailblazer in AI development, facilitating the exploration and testing of cutting-edge AI techniques within novel unmanned vehicle designs. This work is crucial for achieving distributed teaming objectives. Remarkably, within a span of less than a year, the teams successfully integrated initial live AI agents into the systems of the X-62A, showcased the inaugural AI versus human dogfight, and implemented over 100,000 lines of flight-critical software modifications over 21 test flights.

Advertisement

“The need for innovation at speed and scale is greater than ever. The X-62A VISTA is a crucial platform in our efforts to develop, test, and integrate AI, as well as to establish AI certification standards that will revolutionize the future of aerospace,” said John Clark, Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “Our proven hardware and software architecture create secure and controlled environments for AI agents and sophisticated algorithms to swiftly prototype and evolve.”

Lockheed Martin’s open systems architecture, leveraging Skunk Works’ Model Following Algorithm (MFA) and System for Autonomous Control of the Simulation (SACS), facilitates intricate tests. These significant enhancements augment VISTA’s capabilities while preserving its advantage in rapid prototyping, allowing for swift software adjustments and frequent flight tests. This expedites the pace of AI and autonomy development to align with pressing national defense priorities.

Advertisement

This architecture has demonstrated reliability and robustness, capable of transitioning to third-party distributed hardware to replicate safe and controlled flight test objectives, as demonstrated by VISTA. Lockheed Martin leads the charge in integrating AI-enabled platform autonomy with human oversight to enhance operational speed, optimize agility, and reduce sustainment costs.

The F16 is renowned as one of the deadliest fighter jets in existence, boasting a versatile array of weaponry and a proven track record in battle with its single-engine design. Despite being among the oldest fighter jets in the US Air Force, it has received the latest upgrades in Avionics and Weapons systems. A significant milestone achieved by Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force is the integration of AI technology, enabling automated control of the aircraft. While Lockheed Martin has experimented with various aircraft, the F16 stands out as a unique platform in this regard. It marks a historic achievement as the world’s first fighter jet to be controlled by AI technology.

Advertisement

Secretary Kendall’s flight closely follows several notable accolades for VISTA, including nominations as finalists for the 2023 Robert J. Collier Trophy and receipt of the Society of Flight Test Engineers’ James S. McDonnell Award and Aviation Week’s 2024 Laureate Award for Defense.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement

Asia

Singapore Airlines emergency landing after severe turbulence

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Aircraft lands at Singapore Changi Airport (Incident aircraft not pictured)

One passenger passed on, while dozens of passengers were injured when a Singapore Airlines Boeing B777-300ER aircraft experienced severe turbulence while en route to Singapore from London Heathrow Airport. The aircraft diverted to Bangkok, and landed at 3:45pm Local time on 21 May 2024 

The flight landed with 211 Passengers and 11 Crew members at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. According to the Airport Director Kittipong Kittikachorn at a news conference, there were 7 passengers who suffered serious injuries, while a number of other passengers suffered injuries of varying seriousness.

Advertisement

It was also confirmed that the passenger who passed on was a 73 year old British Man. In a statement from Singapore Airlines ‘ As of 0505 hours Singapore Time on 22 May 2024, 79 passengers and 6 crew members from SQ321 remain in Bangkok’. In another statement, it was reported that a relief flight with 143 passengers and crew members arrived in Singapore at 0505 hours Singapore time on 22 May 2024.

According to aircraft tracking site FlightRadar24, the 16 Year Old Boeing B777-300ER aircraft descended sharply from 37,000 feet to 31,000 feet in a short time. It was also further reported by FlightRadar24 that the descent was commanded by Autopilot, instead of being caused by turbulence.

Advertisement

Shortly afterwards, the pilot declared an emergency by squeaking 7700 on the transponder, indicating an emergency situation onboard the aircraft. The Boeing 777 aircraft then diverted to Bangkok, instead of continuing on its planned journey to Singapore. 

In view of this incident, Singapore Airlines mentioned in a statement that they are working with the relevant authorities on the investigation into this incident.

Advertisement

The National Transportation Safety Board, a US Government investigative agency for civil aviation incidents, is sending an accredited representative and 4 technical advisors to support the investigation by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB). TSIB mentioned in a statement that it ‘is in touch with its Thai counterparts and will be deploying investigators to Bangkok’. 

Boeing, the manufacturer of the Boeing B777 aircraft mentioned in a statement that they are in contact with Singapore Airlines regarding the ill-fated flight, and ‘stand ready to support them’. 

Advertisement

This situation is developing, more details will be added when they become available. 

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Aviation

Top 5 light helicopter under 3 million

Top 5 light helicopter under 3 million

In the realm of aviation, helicopters represent a unique blend of agility, versatility, and accessibility. For many, the allure of piloting a helicopter is irresistible, whether for recreational flying, aerial photography, or even business transportation.

However, for those looking to invest in their own rotorcraft, affordability is often a crucial consideration. With a budget of under $3 million, prospective buyers are presented with a range of options, each offering its own blend of performance, features, and value.

Advertisement

In this Video, we’ll explore the top five light helicopters available on the market, all priced under $3 million.

1. Robinson R44 Raven: The Robinson R44 Raven is a popular and versatile light helicopter known for its reliability. It typically accommodates four passengers and a pilot. It boasts a cruise speed of around 130 knots (150 mph) and a range of approximately 300 nautical miles. It starts at around $400,000 to $500,000. The R44 Raven is often used for various applications, including private transportation, aerial photography, and training due to its agility and affordability in the light helicopter category.

Advertisement

2.MD530F: The MD530F, also from MD Helicopters, is a compact and nimble helicopter known for its agility and maneuverability. It’s often used in law enforcement and military applications. It typically falls within the price range of $2.5 million,depending on factors such as configuration, optional features, and market conditions. It is equipped with a Rolls-Royce 250-C30 engine, delivering 650 shaft horsepower. With a cruise speed of approximately 110 knots (126 mph) and a range of around 260 nautical miles, the MD530F is well-suited for tasks requiring precision flying, such as reconnaissance and patrol missions.

3. Bell 206 Jet Ranger: a renowned light utility helicopter, is esteemed for its compact design and exceptional maneuverability. Widely utilized in law enforcement, military, and civilian roles, it offers versatility across various missions. Typically priced around $1.2 million to $1.5 million, the cost may vary based on configuration, optional features, and market conditions. Powered by a Allison 250-C20j turboshaft engine, the Bell 206 Jet Ranger boasts 420 shaft horsepower, facilitating a cruise speed of approximately 112 knots (129 mph) and a range of about 374 nautical miles.

Advertisement

4. Leonardo AW109 Power: renowned for its versatility and performance, is another compact and agile helicopter highly regarded in both civilian and military circles. It is often utilized in law enforcement, emergency medical services, corporate transport, and various other missions. Priced at approximately $3 million. Powered by twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C engines, the AW109 Power boasts impressive capabilities with a cruise speed of approximately 154 knots (177 mph) and a range of up to 565 kilometers, making it suitable for missions requiring swift and efficient transportation over moderate distances.

Equipped with advanced avionics and spacious cabin accommodations, the AW109 Power provides a comfortable and safe flying experience for both pilots and passengers.

Advertisement

5. Airbus H125: formerly known as the AS350 B3e, is a versatile and reliable helicopter renowned for its performance and adaptability. It is widely used across various industries, including law enforcement, emergency medical services, and aerial work. With a price typically ranging from $2.5 million, the cost can vary based on specific configurations, optional features.

Powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, the H125 boasts robust performance, delivering approximately 847 shaft horsepower. Its cruise speed reaches around 133 knots (153 mph), offering swift and efficient transportation. The H125 also features a commendable range of approximately 357 nautical miles, making it suitable for extended missions or long-distance flights.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Aviation

American Airlines Letter Sparks Outrage Over Flight Attendant Salary

American Airlines Launches 8 New Winter Routes to Latin America &Caribbean

An employment letter from American Airlines (AAL) has ignited a firestorm of controversy across social media platforms, shedding light on the stark reality of flight attendant salaries in the aviation industry.

Shared on Reddit and authenticated by the union representing American Airlines employees, the letter has drawn widespread attention for its revelation of starting salaries barely surpassing federal poverty levels.

Advertisement
The actual letter AA gives new FAs when they move to NYC, Miami, Boston, Dallas etc.
byu/containment-failure inamericanairlines

Detailing the compensation package for new flight attendants, the letter discloses an hourly rate of $30.35 per flight hour, translating to an annual salary projection of $27,315 before incentives and taxes. This figure, notably below the poverty threshold for both individual and two-person households in 2024, has sparked outrage and disbelief among readers.

What further compounds the issue is the disclosure that flight attendants typically work between 65 to 85 flight hours each month, supplemented by an additional 50 hours dedicated to aircraft preparation before takeoff and after landing—tasks for which they receive no compensation.

This revelation underscores the significant gap between the demanding workload of flight attendants and the meager financial rewards they receive in return. The letter, designed for use in dealings with landlords and other service providers as proof of income, closes with a plea for understanding: “any courtesy you can provide would be appreciated.”

Advertisement

This poignant appeal highlights the financial strain faced by many flight attendants who struggle to make ends meet on their current salaries. In response to these revelations, American Airlines flight attendants are mobilizing for action.

With negotiations underway for a new contract with the airline, which includes demands for higher pay, they are urging the White House to authorize their right to strike after a 30-day cooling-off period.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Trending