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Aviation Blog

Report: UAE's Emirates Airline Set to Use 'Bitcoin as a Payment Service' – Featured Bitcoin News – Bitcoin News

by Terence Zimwara
One of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s leading airlines, Emirates Airline, said it has plans to add “bitcoin as a payment service.” The airline is planning to recruit personnel to create applications that monitor client needs.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s leading airline, Emirates Airline, will soon embrace “bitcoin as a payment service,” the company’s chief operating officer (COO) Adel Ahmed Al-Redha has said. In addition, the airline will add non-fungible token (NFT) collectibles on its webpage.
Reports of the airline’s plan to embrace bitcoin come just a few weeks after it revealed its NFT and metaverse plans. As reported by News, the company’s goal with the metaverse launch is to ensure the airline is “aligned with the UAE’s vision for the digital economy.”

In remarks published in Arab News, Al Redha hinted that his company may have to recruit employees to assist it in creating applications which monitor customer needs. He also spoke of the differences between NFTs and the metaverse. He explained:
“NFTs and metaverse are two different applications and approaches. With the metaverse, you will be able to transform your whole processes — whether it is in operation, training, sales on the website, or complete experience — into a metaverse type application, but more importantly making it interactive.”
The report did not state when the airline expects to launch its bitcoin payment service.
What are your thoughts on this story? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, kamilpetran
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
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A new solar aircraft might stay in the air for an entire year without landing – Interesting Engineering

As a ‘pseudo-satellite’, it could be the future of military drones.
Back in August of 2021, news surfaced that the US Navy was working with a U.S.-Spanish aerospace company called Skydweller on an uncrewed aircraft also called Skydweller, which is capable of staying in the air for 90 days without needing to land thanks to large strips of solar panels on both of its wings. Since then, Skydweller has been busy most recently raising funds for its innovative airplane.
Last month, the firm was awarded a $14 million contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), in conjunction with U.S. Navy, to advance and integrate technologies in support of Skydweller’s development, according to a press release by the firm.
“Furthering perpetual flight aircraft for solving next-generation government sensing and monitoring solutions is critical to national security. This collaboration will accelerate the development of our platform, providing a viable, carbon-neutral solution which expands the aircraft mission capabilities significantly,” said at the time CEO Dr. Robert Miller.
“This contract allows Skydweller to continue supporting the Department of Defense by addressing the current needs of our Combatant Commands and creating military-grade unmanned aerial systems that can operate safely and reliably at record endurance in various, changing environmental conditions.” 
Now, according to a CNN interview published Thursday, Miller says the plane could possibly stay in the air for an entire year and serve as the world’s first commercially viable “pseudo-satellite.” What is that?
“A pseudo-satellite is an aircraft that stays aloft, let’s say, indefinitely,” explained Miller. “That means 30, 60, 90 days — maybe a year. And as such, it can do basically anything you would imagine a satellite can do.” And since the plane can return to Earth whenever its operators desire, it would not create a problem with space debris that most satellites face today.
Even better, Miller and his team have engineered the plane to be able to fly autonomously like a drone. There is a pilot there for safety but not a necessity. Miller now hopes the aircraft could be deployed as early as 2023.
Once it has been deployed, it could undertake many applications with environmental benefits such as monitoring the use of natural resources and even disaster response. 
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Ukrainian fleets: Where are the aircraft now? – The Points Guy

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When Ukraine was attacked on Feb. 24, 2022, one of the first targets of Russian troops was the Antonov airfield in Hostomel, just a few miles northwest of Kyiv.
After some brutal combat, this airport — home to the eponymous aircraft manufacturer and cargo airline — would fall to the Russians and remain under occupation for several weeks.
When Ukrainian forces later recovered control of the area, it became clear that, in addition to the horrific human cost, the fighting and occupation had brought wholesale destruction to this area, including the irremissible loss of the one and only Antonov An-225.
The mighty Mriya, the heaviest and largest transport aircraft in the world, was no more.
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Quoting sources at Antonov Airlines, the Ukrainian news agency Interfax-Ukraine reported that Antonov Airlines had plans to evacuate the Mriya and a handful of other aircraft to Leipzig, Germany, which was already a second home for the carrier.
Unfortunately, the frantic efforts to ready the Mriya, as well as an An-26 and an An-74T, were tragically in vain. The aircrafts’ planned departure the morning of Feb. 24 was cut short by a Russian helicopter-born assault, the opening stages of what would be known as the battle of Hostomel.
Antonov’s remaining two An-124s were reportedly undergoing heavy maintenance at Hostomel and nearby Sviatoshyn at the time of the attacks. Some reports point to at least one of them having been damaged, but this was not be confirmed by Antonov Airlines representatives.
However, the bulk of Antonov Airlines’ fleet — five An-124s to be exact — managed to fly to safety in the nick of time.
Now based abroad, these supersized freighters remain active and have been joined in this forced exile by a sizable portion of the Ukrainian commercial aircraft fleet.
In fact, by the time the first missiles struck, Ukraine’s airlines had already been on a war footing for quite some time.
The creeping military buildup on the Russian side of the border in the weeks preceding the invasion, coupled with increasingly alarming warnings by the U.S., led to a stream of cancellations — a trickle at first, then a stampede. With the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fresh in everyone’s memory, airlines weren’t going to take any chances.
Soon Ukraine’s home carriers had no other option but to send their aircraft abroad at the behest of insurers and lessors.
Related: The invasion of Ukraine: How pilots deal with sudden airspace closures
The war has dealt the heaviest of blows to a country that in recent years had seen its airline industry bloom and was readying for further growth on the back of the Open Skies agreement between Ukraine and the EU.
This landmark deal, signed in late 2021 and ratified last February just days before the invasion, had prompted carriers like Wizz Air and Ryanair to scale up their investment in the country with the opening of new bases and routes.
The carriers joined several young Ukrainian airline startups, such as SkyUp and Bees Airline, as well as a projected government-sponsored carrier, Ukrainian National Airlines, in challenging the preeminence of Ukraine International Airlines, the market’s most prominent incumbent.
But with Ukraine now amid a war with Russia, information about the whereabouts of the expanding commercial fleet is limited. Understandably, the airlines are reluctant to share many details about the locations of aircraft.
However, there’s a wealth of publicly available sources, from industry databases and flight tracking apps to planespotters’ comments on social media, that provide a glimpse of the current status of the Ukrainian airliner fleet.
Related: Ukraine airspace is now closed to civilian flights as Russia launches military attack
Ukraine International Airlines managed to send at least 13 of its 27 aircraft abroad. As of the end of April, nine of them (all of which were B737s and Embraers) were located at Castellón Airport (CDT) in Spain. At the time of writing, two other B737s were at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG) and another was at Tarbes Lourdes Pyrénées Airport (LDE) in southern France.
At least one Boeing 737-900ER was confirmed to have been wet-leased to airBaltic.
SkyUp, a private low-cost carrier that since its launch in 2018 grew to become the country’s second-largest airline, managed to send abroad all but one of its fleet of 15 Boeing 737s.
Only one of SkyUp’s aircraft got stranded at Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport (KBP). The remaining 14 were already out of the country or able to depart shortly before the closure of the airspace to civilian traffic.
Iasi International Airport (IAS) in Romania, Varna Airport (VAR) and Sofia Airport (SOF) in Bulgaria, Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (SSH) in Egypt and Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG) are some of the airports where SkyUp’s aircraft have been spotted during the last couple of months. Four aircraft were at Tallinn Airport (TLL) in Estonia for some time, reportedly undergoing regular maintenance.
“Altogether, we expect to utilize up to 50% of the fleet by the end of May,” a representative of the airline told TPG.
While reluctant to confirm the fleet’s current geographical deployment, the representative added that, as of early May, one aircraft is involved in the transportation of humanitarian cargo, another is operating for Join UP! (a tour operator that shares owners with the airline and has started flights out of Lithuania, Litva and Estonia) and five others are being wet-leased.
Currently, the airline is focusing its efforts on flying refugees from airports near the Ukrainian borders to farther points in Europe and Israel. In March alone, SkyUp flew nearly 3,000 refugees from Chisinau, Moldova, to Tel Aviv on 21 flights.
A total of 201 tons of humanitarian aid were also carried in the opposite direction.
Meanwhile, Bees Airline, a startup carrier set up by some of SkyUp’s former managers, succeeded in getting its four B737-800s out of the country and has sent them to Montpellier, France, at the request of the lessors.
The airline confirmed it is now in conversations with the leasing company to reactivate at least one of the aircraft in order to fly Ukrainian citizens currently in Poland to other countries.
Not all airlines managed to evacuate their fleets on time, though.
Among the carriers affected is Wizz Air, which had just announced a doubling of its Ukraine capacity right before the war began. It had planned on basing five A321s aircraft in Kyiv and two in Lviv in western Ukraine. The closure of the country’s airports and airspace left four of Wizz Air’s aircraft stranded in Kyiv and Lviv.
A Wizz Air representative confirmed that aircraft were still in Ukraine as of late April. “We will continue to look at ways to evacuate the aircraft as soon as possible,” the representative said. “In the meantime, the aircraft are monitored by security and satellite footage and being inspected by engineers on the ground.”
Ukrainian carrier Windrose Airlines, a charter airline that had recently begun scheduling domestic operations, only has one aircraft that managed to get out of Ukraine.
After spending five weeks stranded at Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport (LWO) in western Ukraine, an area that has suffered several cruise missile attacks despite being far from the front lines, a single ATR-72 managed to reach Poland — it has since relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria — in a daring escape during which the transponders were turned off. The rest of its fleet remains in the country.
Azur Air, a Turkish-owned charter airline, has eight of its 11 aircraft stranded in Ukraine. Some of these aircraft landed at Boryspil International Airport (KBP) coming back from the Caribbean on the night of the 24th, barely ahead of the first Russian strikes.
Ryanair had also been building up its presence in the Ukrainian market. As recently as last January, the carrier was said to be considering moving up to 20 aircraft to the country.
While airlines like Ryanair have no choice but to put expansion plans in Ukraine on pause, they are not abandoning these plans.
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary pledged the carrier would be “the first airline to return” as soon as circumstances permit. In this particular endeavor, it will face competition, as airBaltic’s CEO Martin Gauss made a similar pledge during a recent conversation with TPG.
In the meantime, airBaltic announced on May 5 that it will open an overland truck service to carry mail between Kyiv and Riga, feeding the airline’s cargo operations.
SkyUp is also making adjustments to its operations, with plans to make nine of its aircraft (two B737-700s and seven B737-800s) available for wet-lease contracts. It is in conversations with several airlines to place part of its staff with them on a temporary basis, too.
Additionally, the carrier said in a recent statement that it was considering expanding the scope of its cargo operations and had already applied to get the permits necessary to fly supplies from places as far as China and the U.S. to Ukraine.
Related: Donate miles and money to help Miles4Migrants get Ukrainians to safety during the Russian invasion
Featured photo by Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto/Getty Images.
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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


Red Bull Pilots to Attempt Midair Aircraft Swap – FLYING

Pilots train and test dive in San Luis Obispo in preparation for the Plane Swap live feat on April 24, 2022. [Photo: Michael Clark / Red Bull Content Pool}
Formation flying and skydiving are done everyday. But thus far, no one has combined formation flying and skydiving with the intent to switch airplanes at altitude. That could change on April 24, when Red Bull Air Force pilots and skydivers Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington, both flying solo, will attempt to swap airplanes in midair.
The Red Bull Air Force is made up of some of the most skilled and experienced pilots and skydivers in the world. The organization performs precision aerial demonstrations at air shows and sporting events and produces slick videos of pilots and skydivers seemingly defying—or at least challenging—the laws of physics. 
According to a press release from Red Bull, what is planned is the first dual skydive into separate airplanes. Adding to the human interest element of the event is the fact that Aikins and Farrington are cousins, with a long family history of skydiving that pre-dated their joining the Red Bull Air Force. 
Aikins’ grandfather Lenny started a skydiving club and Lance Aikins, Luke’s father, was a skydiver and pilot, and taught both his son and Farrington how to fly when both men were in their teens. 
Like his cousin, Farrington has been skydiving since he was a teenager, and he’s known for his skill at flying a wingsuit. He won the first Red Bull Aces Wingsuit competition in 2014 and hasn’t stopped since. He has also been in several movies.

The event will take place in Arizona. According to a press release from Red Bull, the stunt will be seen exclusively on Hulu.
According to the promotional video from Red Bull, Aikins and Farrington will be flying specially modified Cessna 182s for the event. They will climb their aircraft to 14,000 feet; the airplanes will be in side-by-side formation when they enter a dive. Once this is achieved, Aikins and Farrington will depart the aircraft and attempt to change airplanes.
It is important that the aircraft and skydiving pilots fall at the same speed of approximately 120 miles per hour. 
Defying the impossible: Discover the science behind the #WORLDFIRST #PlaneSwap project where @RedBull #skydiver pros #LukeAkins & @Andy_Farrington are aiming to swap planes mid-flight #aviation #avgeek
Paulo Iscold is the engineer working on the project, and one of the first tasks he faced was to develop a way to control the speed of the pilotless aircraft. In the video, he notes that keeping an unmanned aircraft on speed is a challenge, as usually, an aircraft put into a nose-down attitude will accelerate, possibly past “never exceed” speed known as VNE, resulting in structural damage.
“The aircraft will start to disintegrate,” Iscold explains. To prevent this, Iscold has designed a speed brake that deploys from the belly of the aircraft. 
“The speed brake produces nine times more drag that the aircraft normally has. That is the amount of drag we need to stabilize the airplane at 120 mph, which is the average speed Luke and Andy will have when they fall from the airplanes.”
The speed brake is a panel that extends from the belly of the aircraft during the dive. Both Aikins and Farrington have been practicing flying the aircraft, putting them into dives and deploying the speed brakes.
In addition to speed, getting the aircraft to maintain the nose down attitude is also a challenge. 
“When the aircraft are in a dive and the pilots are outside, there is no guarantee that the airplanes will hold that trajectory,” Iscold said, adding that they had to develop an autopilot capable of holding the aircraft at that trajectory and on speed, because if the airplane’s nose starts to rise or it slows down, the skydivers could potentially smash into the aircraft’s tail during the fall.
In 2010, the Red Bull Air Force achieved a glider to glider midair transfer. The demonstration involved a person moving from one aircraft to another and some formation flying, with one of the gliders inverted. Like all Red Bull Air Force events, the challenging was made to look easy. 

It used to be that midair aircraft transfers involving skydivers were strictly the stuff of action movies, with James Bond leading the pack. Some of the most technologically challenging midair stunts were performed pre-CGI by 007.
In the 1995 release GoldenEye, James Bond, as played by Pierce Brosnan, chases a pilotless aircraft attempting to take off. Bond got aboard the aircraft during the takeoff and threw the pilot out, tumbling out with him. Fortunately, Bond was able to grab a motorcycle and continue chasing the airplane. The runway is on a mountainous strip with a large cliff at the end. The pilotless aircraft goes over the cliff and Bond follows on the motorcycle. He releases the bike, then manages to free-fall until he grabs the landing gear of the aircraft, climbs about and pulls the aircraft out of the dive and flies away.
It wasn’t just aircraft that the super spy commandeered during his daring escapes. In the 1979 release Moonraker, there is a skydiving scene where Roger Moore, as Bond, is pushed out of an aircraft without a parachute. The pilot (the bad guy), who is wearing a parachute, has already jumped. Bond free-falls, catching up with the bad guy and relieving him of the parachute. This scene is noted as one of the most intense real-world skydiving action sequences in the movies.

The Red Bull Air Force is the latest generation of stunt pilots, the latter who trace their roots back to the early days of Hollywood.
Both the powered airplane and motion picture were invented in 1903, and America’s interest in them developed in tandem. Black-and-white movies involved daring stunt pilots intentionally crashing aircraft or flying them through barns or towers, or transferring from an airplane to a moving car.
In the 1910s to 1920s, these pilots often had a speciality, like intentional crashes or the airplane to car transfer, and they did not wear parachutes.
In the 1930s, Pancho Barnes, the first female stunt pilot, established a union for stunt pilots. The Associated Motion Picture Pilots oversaw the stunt flying, establishing a wage scale, insurance, and safety guidelines to protect stunt pilots.
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