Lufthansa plans to beam in-flight movies to your devices

Lufthansa, one of the world's largest airlines, will soon take advantage of onboard tech that sends in-flight entertainment directly to passengers' smartphones and tablets.

The company plans to have BroadConnect, an entertainment system developed by Lufthansa Systems, installed on 20 of its Airbus A321 aircraft by this summer. The system, which is actually a small server inside the plane along with several wireless access points, ties into onboard Wi-Fi and lets passengers stream in-flight movies on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. In order to get the streaming entertainment, passengers need to download the app before their flight takes … Read more

Can the Seattle Seahawks' '12th Man' be a 747? Boeing says yes

As a San Francisco 49ers fan, it pains me to write this. As a fan of airplanes, and especially Boeing 747s, I'm a lot happier about it.

Boeing said today that to commemorate the Seattle Seahawks' NFC championship and the team's appearance in this Sunday's Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos, it has painted one of its 747-8 freighters in Seahawks livery. The Boeing-owned plane will make its first flight with the new paint job tomorrow.

This, of course, is nothing but a bit of fun being had by the aviation giant, which though it has its … Read more

Build a plane in a week? Oshkosh organizers say no problem

It may take about six weeks to make a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, but organizers at the world-famous Oshkosh air show think building a plane in a week should be no problem.

At the weeklong EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show this summer, attendees will be encouraged to help build a Zenith CH 750 kit plane. The goal of the "One Week Wonder" initiative is to go from scratch to taxi test of the CH 750 entirely during the show, which runs from July 28 through August 3, and is put on by the Oshkosh, Wis.-based EAA. … Read more

Coolest paper airplane ever and the plane nut who built it (Q&A)

There are airplane nuts, and then there is Luca Iaconi-Stewart. Since 2008, the now 22-year-old has been crafting a scale-model of a Boeing 777-300ER. Out of manila folders.

Though he took off two years from the project while he was in school, Iaconi-Stewart has pretty much devoted his time to the plane, and it shows. Looking at photos of the model, even most aviation buffs would be impressed at the level of detail he achieved. There's tiny seat-back video screens, overhead compartments, galleys, landing gears, tail cones, and meticulously made engines. Again, all out of manila folders.

Some might … Read more

3D-printed parts take flight on RAF jets

3D printing has shown its value in the firearms business, but it's now made its way to fighter jets.

The Royal Air Force, for instance, has flown Tornado fighter jets that included parts made from 3D printers, the BBC reported on Monday. BAE Systems manufactured the jets.

Although the parts weren't of extremely high value, like wings or landing gear, they did find a home as guards for cockpit radios. 3D printing was also used to protect take-off shafts, the BBC says.

Over the past year, 3D printing has found its way into headlines. The technology allows individuals, … Read more

Delta puts the kibosh on in-flight cell phone calls

As holiday air travel starts to ramp up and the Federal Communications Commission just took the first step in easing restrictions on in-flight calls, Delta airlines wants to be certain no cell phone conversations will be taking place on its planes.

The company's CEO Richard Anderson penned a memo to its 80,000 employees on Wednesday to say no way to up-in-the-air chatting.

"Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights," Anderson wrote. "A clear majority of customers who responded to a 2012 survey said they felt the … Read more

Friday Poll: Do you want in-flight cell phone calls?

The possibility of passengers making cell phone calls while in the air is lurking on the horizon like a chatty specter, threatening to break through the relative quiet of airplane travel. A vote by the FCC has come down in favor of a measure that will put a proposal for lifting the ban on in-flight cell phone use up for public comment.

Some people are rooting for in-flight voice calls. They want to embrace the convenience and be able to touch base with loved ones or colleagues on the ground. They figure chatting on the phone is no worse than dealing with an upset child, a snoring seatmate, or somebody deep in conversation across the aisle.… Read more

You're now free to iMessage about the cabin

Southwest Airlines said Wednesday that it will begin offering passengers with iOS devices the ability to use iMessage, Apple's proprietary messaging system, from gate to gate.

The new service, which will be available to anyone with a device running iOS 5 or later, will cost $2, and work throughout the flight. Southwest is partnering with Global Eagle Entertainment to offer the connectivity.

The airline said it plans to expand the service to Android devices next year.

Southwest offers passengers in-flight Wi-Fi for $8, but it clearly feels that some people want to stay connected with friends, co-workers, or family, … Read more

Incredible remote-control A380 takes to the skies

Soaring over the airshow, the A380 looks as it should -- its double-decker fuselage wowing the crowd watching from below.

But while Airbus' A380 is the world's-largest passenger plane, this aircraft doesn't even have a pilot, at least not one on board. In fact, this is a remote-control scale model of an A380. Built by Peter Michel, the model, made to look like a Singapore Airlines A380, took eight "months, 5,000 working hours, and a whole lot of Styrofoam and lightweight balsa wood" to take air. Plus what appears to be some very cool scale-model … Read more

Smartphone-controlled paper airplane kit conquers the skies

I suck at paper airplanes. Though I love origami in general, I have never managed to build a truly flight-worthy paper plane. With the PowerUp 3.0 smartphone-controlled paper airplane kit, though, I could get my revenge on aerodynamics.

No longer will paper airplanes have to rely on clever folding techniques and outdated technology like paper-clip weights to make them fly. PowerUp 3.0 includes a device called a Smart Module that clips onto your paper airplane creation. This contains a small propeller and rudder to power your plane through its flight. Take that, gravity!… Read more