How a “flying circus” gave us the first aerial maps of Earth

Thomas Baldwin's Airopaidia (1786) includes the earliest sketches of the earth from a balloon.

Credit: Internet Archive / Public domain.
  • In the 1780s, as humanity mastered flight, a "balloon craze" swept across the world.
  • Thomas Baldwin had just one sky-trip, but he wrote an entire book about it — Airopaidia.
  • At times lyrical and technical, the curious volume also includes the world's first aerial maps.
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  • The world is beginning to return to normalcy.
  • Traveling is once more an option for many who haven't traveled in a long time.
  • The best way to travel for cheap is to use Matt's Flights.
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Skyborne whales: The rise (and fall) of the airship

Can passenger airships make a triumphantly 'green' comeback?

R. Humphrey/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Large airships were too sensitive to wind gusts and too sluggish to win against aeroplanes. But today, they have a chance to make a spectacular return.

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NASA-funded scientist says 'MEGA drive' could enable interstellar travel

The drive would provide enough thrust for a spacecraft to travel near the speed of light using only electricity, says physicist Jim Woodward.

SSI: Space Studies Institute via YouTube
  • The thrust system utilizes piezoelectric crystals, which vibrate extremely rapidly when exposed to electric current.
  • Early tests have yielded mixed results, but Woodward and his colleagues say a recent breakthrough related to the design of the thruster mount greatly increased thrust.
  • Independent teams of scientists will likely test Woodward's design after the pandemic.
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New ‘bullet plane’ aims to make private flights affordable

Otto Aviation says the hourly cost of flying the new Celera 500L is about six times cheaper than conventional aircraft.

Otto Aviation
  • The unusual shape of Otto Aviation's Celera 500L was designed to maximize laminar flow.
  • Laminar flow is the smooth flow of air over an aircraft's wings, and optimizing laminar flow can make aircraft incredibly efficient.
  • The plane can hold up to six passengers, and is expected to hit commercial markets around 2025.
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