Kepler Space Telescople finds Earth-like extrasolar planet

Using NASA‘s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. A team of astronomers published a paper in Science on April 18, 2014.


How propellers work

John Deakin of AVweb has an excellent article about propellers.

John C. Houbolt, RIP

John C. Houbolt, the man who advocated the basic mission architecture used by Apollo, passed away on April 15.


2013 winner of the Robert J. Collier Trophy

In a completely unsurprising choice, the X-47B won the Robert J. Collier Trophy for 2013 for “developing and demonstrating the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”

Stephen Pope of Flying notes that this year’s award confirms the ascendancy of unmanned programs at the cutting edge of aerospace technology.

How Sensenich Wooden Props Are Made

NROL-67 launch

NROL-67 launched on an Atlas V 541 booster from Cape Canaveral AFS on April 10. has some interesting analysis about this classified payload.



Ofeq 10 launch

Ofeq 10 was launched on a Shavit booster from Palmachim AFB, Israel on April 10.


Piper Archer gets a diesel engine

One of my favorite airplanes has received a factory STC for a diesel engine. With increasing difficulty in obtaining aviation gasoline outside the United States, this is an important development to maintain general aviation on a global basis.

Update: Paul Bertorelli of Avweb has a pilot report and analysis.

Pete Reynolds, RIP

Legendary test pilot Pete Reynolds passed away on April 10 at the age of 69. In his 29-year career at Learjet and Bombardier, he flew first flights of the Learjet 24E, Learjet 28, Learjet 40, Learjet 55c, Learjet 60 and Models 31 and 31A. He later became the vice president of flight test at Bombardier, leading one of the premier transport-category aircraft flight test organizations.

Saves by air traffic controllers

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association gives the Archie League Medal of Safety Awards for saves by controllers. Here are some highlights of the 2014 awards.