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Missions of the largest aircrafts: Western H-4 Hercules & Airbus A380, Russia’s Antonov An-225 Mriya & ‘Caspian Sea Monster’

AlphaSim has released the LUN Ekranoplan, ‘Caspian Sea Monster’

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The one Lun-class ekranoplan originally developed by the Soviet Union military transports, and based mostly on the shores of the Caspian Sea and Black, at a naval base near Kaspiysk. During the Cold War, ekranoplans were sighted for years on the Caspian Sea as huge, fast-moving objects. The name Caspian Sea Monster was given by US intelligence operatives who had spotted the huge vehicle, which looked like an airplane with the outer halves of the wings removed. After the end of the Cold War, the "monster" was revealed to be one of several Soviet military designs meant to fly only a few meters above water, saving energy and staying below enemy radar.

The 8-engined sea skimmer could have been a deadly weapon of war with it’s 6 ‘Sunburn’ anti-ship missiles and ability to travel at high speed under the radar of patrol aircraft. The Lun-class (Russian: "Hen Harrier") (NATO reporting name: "Utka"; Russian: "Duck") ekranoplan Wing-In-Ground effect vehicle was an extremely unusual aircraft designed by Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeev and used by the Soviet & Russian navies from 1987 to sometime in the late '90s. Wing-in-ground-effect aircraft use the extra lift of their large wings when in proximity to the surface (about one to four meters). It is also interesting to note that this is the largest military aircraft ever built, with a length of 73m, rivaling that of the Hughes H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" and many modern jumbo jets.  read more »

At sea, the bigger, the better? "Oasis of the Sea", largest cruise ship, tall as a 12-story building, wider than Panama Canal

once Oasis is completed, this channel in the dry dock will be flooded to set it afloat

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When Royal Caribbean launches its $1.2 billion 'Oasis of the Sea' in 2009, it will carry up to 5,400 passengers and will be as tall as a 12-story building, as long as four football fields, and wider than the Panama Canal.

Formidably awesome – a floating city.

The question is - at sea, the bigger, the better?

Royal Caribbean will launch its $1.2 billion 'Oasis of the Sea' in 2009

it will carry up to 5,400 passengers and will be as tall as a 12-story building, as long as four football fields, and wider than the Panama Canal

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of Robert Polidori

Original Source: CNN

Sun and Moon put on show. Total solar eclipse seen in Russia, China, draws millions of sky-watchers across Asia and worldwide

image taken 30 seconds before totality (the total phase) of the Aug. 1, 2008 solar eclipse, from the window of a jet flying over the Arctic Ocean

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The new Moon drew its shadow across Earth's Eastern Hemisphere earlier today, totally eclipsing the Sun along a track that crossed the Arctic, Siberia, and interior China. Thousands of eclipse chasers had stationed themselves along the path in anticipation. The Moon's shadow arced over the Earth as the lunar body passed directly between our planet and its star. In all, the path of darkness covered about 10,200km (6,300 miles). Russia saw the longest full eclipse, for two minutes, 27 seconds, at 1021 GMT - but the UK and most of Europe experienced just a partial eclipse.

"Totality" began at sunrise at 0921 GMT in Queen Maud Gulf off Victoria Island in the territory of Nunavut, Canada. The instant of greatest eclipse occurred at 1021 GMT close to the Russian city of Nadym, before totality came to an end at 1121 GMT near the Chinese city of Xi'an, in Shaanxi province.

Aug. 1, 2008 solar eclipse 30-seconds into totality - the sun's corona, or atmosphere, shines high above the Arctic sky, while the moon's shadow casts a dark pall on the overcast below  read more »

Personal Plane flies, folds, tows, swims, and beats SUVs on mileage - ICON A5 amphibious sportsplane completes first test flight

The plane that also swims is shown during a test run on Lake Isabella (Kern County) early this month

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We never did get the hovercrafts we were promised as kids, but we're getting closer. Imagine sailing above the Bourne Bridge on your way to the beach, while consuming less gas than the SUVs stuck beneath you in traffic.

A compact, two-seat plane with folding wings that can be pulled behind a car on a trailer will premiere at an air show in Wisconsin next week in a development that heralds a new genre of flying machines designed to bring the power-boating experience to the sky. Developed by two Stanford business school graduates, Kirk Hawkins and Steen Strand, the ICON A5 is the latest and arguably coolest plane to take to the skies under a new classification that the Federal Aviation Administration calls light-sport aircraft.

ICON A5, a plane developed by Stanford engineers

The A5's top speed is 120 miles per hour, and its maximum altitude is about 10,000 feet, in keeping with its Light-Sport Aircraft classification - a new class created to make personal aviation accessible to more people. It runs on auto gasoline and gets 18 to 20 miles to the gallon, according to Icon.  read more »

20July1969. Armstrong steps off the lunar landing module Eagle, 1st human to walk on the moon, 240,000 miles from Earth

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Neil Armstrong walks on moon
At 9:32 a.m. on July 16 1969, with the world watching, Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins aboard. Armstrong, a 38-year-old civilian research pilot, was the commander of the mission. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:18 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a famous message: "The Eagle has landed."

At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

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Photo courtesy NASA / Andrew Chaikin

Farnborough International Airshow celebrates 60 years - plane makers, airlines focus on green issues in challenging times

the Farnborough airshow celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2008, an event which is expected to attract more than 250,000 visitors

(quote)

FARNBOROUGH, England: Plane makers and airlines at the world's largest air show struck a tone between conciliatory and defensive on global warming Wednesday — pledging to make flying more fuel-efficient but bridling at a European Union emissions trading scheme. Executives from British Airways and Airbus used a "sustainable aviation" summit at the Farnborough International Airshow to attack the EU over its revised emissions trading scheme, which it said will cripple the European industry coming on top of soaring oil prices. BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh said he supported a trading scheme in general but had "serious reservations" about the EU proposal, which he said would encourage carriers to bypass European hubs. "The EU should look again at applying a scheme that is workable in the first place and able to be applied worldwide," Walsh said.

a giant of the skies, Boeing's 777-300ER, can also be seen towering above the other aircraft on display  read more »

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