A windscreen full of insect remains is a familiar experience on the roads in summer. It is no different on the runway at the airport. On warm days, aircraft sometimes collide with entire swarms of insects as they take off and land. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are working in partnership with Airbus to investigate how the resulting large-scale contamination disturbs the airflow over new wing designs in particular, thus putting targeted fuel savings at risk. Extremely low-level flights by the DLR ATRA research aircraft over Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport have shown experts in flow patterns how small flying animals affect aircraft. The aim is to create hi-tech wings that incorporate insect protection for the future.
On 4 May 2013 at 04:06 (CEST), when the European Proba-V satellite lifts off on a Vega launcher with the primary mission of observing vegetation from space, it will be carrying another instrument on board – one that will be keeping an 'eye' on aircraft.
Looking for a parking space can be a strain on the nerves for drivers. How nice would it be for a car to be able to look for its own parking space, for example at a railway station, while we are boarding the train?
Reliably monitoring extensive areas of the sea is a major challenge for the coastguard and emergency relief services. Unmanned aircraft are expected to make a critical contribution to this in the future.
Whether on high-speed lines or regional services, the consequences of a train collision are often devastating.
The SHEFEX II (SHarp Edge Flight EXperiment) spacecraft successfully withstood vibration on a shaker and spinning at two rotations per second. These tests represented the final simulation of the conditions that the space vehicle will be subjected to during its launch in the summer of 2012.
Helicopter flights and landings in poor visibility conditions always present pilots with special challenges. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has now completed a series of tests with a new helmet mounted display and has brought it into use a flight simulator.
Sometimes the light goes out for a fraction of a second, and sometimes the high speed train is forced to stop at a border, making the journey time longer – anyone travelling in Europe as a rail passenger can sometimes experience the practical effects of using over 20 different train control and safety systems.
Modern helicopters could be significantly faster and more manoeuvrable - if aerodynamics did not impose limitations on them. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Göttingen have now discovered and flight-tested a way to increase manoeuvrability using an idea they got from observing humpback whales.
Can new types of engine make spaceflight easier and more economical? This question is being investigated by researchers at the German Aerospace Center using one of Europe's leading hypersonic wind tunnels, located in Göttingen.