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airplanes

  1. The End Is Nigh! SkyMall Has Filed For Bankruptcy

    Hide your Insta Slim Compression Shirts, hide your Kitty Washroom Cabinets - SkyMall has filed for bankruptcy.

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  2. Australia’s Lion King Cast Serenades An Entire Plane With “Circle Of Life” Because of Course They Did

    They could defeat a whole army of Sycorax with those lyrics.

    It doesn't take much to turn even the most seasoned performer back into an overexcited camp kid. All you need is a confined space -- preferably one in transportation, like a bus or plane -- and several other performers who all know the same song. So yeah, of course the cast of The Lion King started singing in public.

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  3. FCC Considers Lifting Bans on Cellphones on Airplanes

    Oh, great.

    In a 3-2 vote today, the Federal Communications Commission has officially decided to consider lifting the ban on cellphones in airplanes, citing that there's no technical reason for their use to be impermissible. So prepare yourselves now, folks -- one day, you might have to listen to somebody's entire phone conversation while in flight. Whee.

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  4. FAA Removes Cell Phone Plane Restriction, Finally Lets Us Read Fanfic As We Take Off and Land

    Good News Everyone!

    I mean... finally lets us read classic works of literature. Because that's what I always read. Pssht, duh.

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  5. The FAA Is Finally Going To Start Letting Us Use Electronic Devices While Taking Off

    Cue the tired Alec Baldwin jokes in three... two...

    Good new for everyone who refuses to be alone with their own thoughts for any period of time! Now you won't have to turn off the music you're listening to, the ebook you're reading, or the stupid iPhone game you're playing while your plane takes off and lands. The FAA has officially announced plans to change their policy regarding these electronic devices.

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  6. Man Builds Functional Boeing 737 Cockpit in His Son’s Room, Because It’s Not Like Anyone Uses It

    Not pictured: His son, crying that he just wants to go to sleep.

    Laurent Aigon really likes airplanes. He grew up living almost 700 feet away from an airport and playing Flight Simulator constantly, but somehow his obsession never amounted to anything -- until he decided to build an exact replica of an airplane cockpit in his home, just inches from his son's bed. Seriously, in your kid's room? You can't do that on the balcony, buddy?

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  7. Russian Airliner Makes Seven Trips With Dead Guy Frozen in Wheel Well

    This is normally where we'd make a joke about this, but it seems a bit morbid.

    Russian authorities probably knew to expect nothing good when they found blood splatters near the wheel well of an Airbus 330 passenger plane operated by iFly airlines. They probably still weren't prepared for the implications of what they found, though -- a 22-year-old Georgian man dead and frozen in the plane's wheel well. What's worse? An autopsy showed that the unfortunate young man, Giorgio Abduladze, had been dead for four days, and made as many as seven trips as a deceased stowaway before his body was discovered last week. 

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  8. NASA-Designed Hybrid Wing Uses Half the Fuel of a Normal Plane, Could be Twice as Awesome

    There's been a lot of focus on hybrid cars in the last few years, but what about other modes of transportation? A team of NASA engineers have shown a new manufacturing method for their "hybrid-wing" design that might cut fuel consumption in half. NASA estimates it could be 20 years before the new production method becomes commercially available, but the technology could begin to help improve conventional aircraft much sooner. Maybe they could use it to fix the battery on the 787?

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  9. Man on Plane Asked to Remove Inigo Montoya Shirt, Other Passengers Apparently Never Saw The Princess Bride

    People can be touchy about air travel these days, so a shirt with the words "prepare to die" written on the front might not be the smartest choice of apparel for a trip through the friendly skies. "Prepare to die" sounds intimidating, but it's all about context. The phrase, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die," is frankly downright inspiring, but when Wynand Mullins wore his The Princess Bride shirt with that line onto a plane, he found out the other passengers weren't fans, and he was ultimately asked to remove it.

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  10. Startup Offers Device for Tracking Lost Luggage

    An airline losing your luggage is one of many terrible things about flying. You land in a new place, go to the baggage carousel and wait, and wait. And wait. Bags that look like yours come down the chute, but are picked up by other travelers. You start to worry. Eventually you realize your bag's not there at all. Then you talk to someone at the airline who tells you that not only is your bag not at that airport, but they have no idea where it is. GlobaTrac has introduced the TrakDot, a small cellular device to track your luggage so you can at least tell the airline where they sent it. Then you can tell them where to stick it.

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  11. FCC Makes Getting Wi-Fi on Planes Simpler, Will Likely Still Cost Way Too Much for Passengers

    Sure, Louis C.K. wasn't wrong when he chastised folks for complaining about in-flight Wi-Fi connections, but that doesn't mean they're wonderful either. Some airlines have them, others don't, and it always seems to be a weird and different method to connect every single time you fly. Then it goes down, or it costs way too much to even bother with, but sure, it's still a cool thing to have. Now, more airlines should start to embrace in-flight Wi-Fi thanks to updated regulations from the Federal Communications Commission. You'll be able to complain on even more flights soon enough!

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  12. Boeing Uses Potatoes as Human Substitutes to Test Wi-Fi

    Wi-Fi on airplanes is great as an idea, but the sad reality is that W-Fi on airplanes is actually terrible. Anyone who tries to connect their device to an in-flight Wi-Fi connection is in for a spotty, frustratingly slow experience, and as more people start using Wi-Fi enabled devices, it's only going to get worse. Boeing wants to improve in-flight Wi-Fi, so they've begun a new process for testing signal strength using sacks of potatoes as stand-ins for humans. Makes sense. As far as most airlines are concerned, we're all just sacks of potatoes anyway.

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  13. FBI Forms Anti-Laser Task Force, Targets 8 Year-Olds Leaving Planetariums

    America is under attack. There's a serious threat targeting the country's air travel system that, if left unchecked, could lead to put hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens in jeopardy. What's the cause of this growing problem, you ask? Little kids waving laser-pointers at airplanes. The FBI is concerned about it, so they've created a new task force, the Laser Strike Working Group National Initiative, devoted to study and stop people who try to blind pilots with lasers.

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  14. FAA Figures Frozen Feces Falling From Flight Feasibly Formed Foul Fissures

    Frozen waste from the various aircraft flying overhead at any given moment is often referred to as "blue ice." Contrary to popular belief, it is exceedingly rare for any of this waste to actually escape as planes require it to be manually released from the outside. This means that a pilot can't decide to suddenly deposit the plane's waste wherever they feel like, as the tank isn't accessible by them, but leaks aren't impossible, just uncommon. The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, is now investigating claims that two Long Island homes had their roofs punctured by falling waste this past Sunday.

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  15. Finally: The FAA Might Let Us Keep All Our Stuff Turned On During Flights

    Cautiously Optimistic

    I got my first eReader this summer, and it's been a pretty positive experience overall. I've been catching up on a lot of classics, many of which are available free from things like Project Gutenberg, waxing nostalgic over digital copies of comics from the early 2000s. Maybe the most shocking thing about it to me is discovering how incredibly easy it is to check out ebooks from the library completely free of charge. But there is definitely one way in which it was inferior to a regular book. I had to turn it off while my plane was taking off and landing. However, the humble eReader might fully surpass that limitation in less than a year, pending a newly announced consideration by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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  16. Shocking Video Captures Fighter Jet Crash at Chinese Airshow [Video]

    This shocking video from a Chinese airshow captures the heart-wrenching seconds before an FBC-1 "Flying Leopard" (Xian JH-7) nose dives straight into the ground. If you watch closely, you can see a pilot eject before the plane crashes. Chinese news sources are reporting that he is recovering, having suffered only mild injuries. However, the FBC-1 is a two-seater aircraft, and the second pilot is reported as "missing." This is the second crash of an FBC-1 since 2009.

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  17. This is a Thing: Short Take-Off and Landing Competition

    Everyone needs a hobby, from video games to historical re-enactors. But this weekend in Valdez, Alaska, pilots of all stripes will be showing off their skills in the Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) Competition at the annual Valdez Fly-In and Airshow. Far from the comforts of large, well-kept airports, pilots operating in the backwoods need mere feet to land and takeoff, opposed to the 1,000 to 1,500 feet typically used.  This weekend, they'll prove it. And these aren't your everyday small aircraft, either. Wired writes about the modifications to one young entrant's plane, to help him compete:

    The massive 35-inch tires are inflated to less than 3 psi to absorb the impact of landing on rocks and other debris. They also give the wing a high angle of attack to aid in decreasing the takeoff and landing distances. The engine has been stroked out an additional 15 cubic inches (375 total) and puts out around 210 horsepower. To help balance the heavier engine, the composite propeller weighs just 14 pounds. The result is helicopter-like performance.
    Just how little space do these pilots need? Read on after the break to see a video of a super-slow landing, and shockingly fast take-off.

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  18. Your Worst Waking Nightmare: Remote-Controlled Flying Sharks

    No, we're not talking about something from Axe Cop. Or Dr. McNinja. This is an honest-to-god RC airplane that looks like a shark. We can just see a gaggle of them chasing Adam West across a theme park. Also in our nightmares. We see them in our nightmares. (via Neatorama.)

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  19. Kenyan IT Guy Builds an Airplane from Scratch

    Kenyan IT professional Gabriel Nderitu has built an airplane from scratch using a 4,000 RPM Toyota NZE engine, aluminum-sheeted wings, and a 74-inch wooden propeller. All told, the project has cost Nderitu about $5,500. The aircraft isn't yet 100% flight-ready, but Nderitu hopes to take it for a spin next week -- assuming the Kenyan authorities let him fly it. Either way (although the scenario in which he flies it is admittedly more awesome), this is quite an impressive feat. (via AVWeb, Gizmodo)

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  20. Flight Simulator Programming Flaws Linked to Real-Life Crashes

    Unsettling news from this morning's USA Today: When the paper analyzed federal flight accident records, they discovered that "More than half of the 522 fatalities in U.S. airline accidents since 2000" could be traced back to problems with the flight simulators that pilots use to learn how to fly commercial airliners. While on the whole, flight simulators are a good thing for air safety, in that they allow pilots to log training hours without real-life passengers on board, current simulators oversimplify certain key aspects of flight -- which is made worse in that many airlines don't warn their pilots of the simulators' limitations.

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