9 things that made our heads turn in 2015
With 2015 unbelievably starting to draw a close already, it’s time to take a look back at the major aerospace/defence trade shows of the year and highlight some of the most unusual, awesome and downright wacky products we have seen on our travels.
1. One for the avgeeks
With the team having tracked Airbus Helicopter’s X4 project for years and our editor-in-chief going the behind the scenes to get all of the details before the official reveal, we were all pretty excited for this one.
The only disappointment was the lack of real theatrics – I had been told of helicopter unveilings of old which included dancing circus acts and ballerinas; the H160 reveal was a much more minimalist affair. Nonetheless, that curtain falling does look pretty sweet (see video).
2. Go Greased Lightning!
Moving on to the future of unmanned tech, we have this nifty product from the guys and gals at NASA – the Greased Lightning! Not only does it allow for some creative (or cringe-worthy) headlines but it’s also a funky looking piece of equipment. The VTOL prototype was showcased at AUVSI in Atlanta and NASA aerospace engineer David North gave us the low down on the ten-engine aircraft.
Not too much needs to be said about this next video other than do you want to see some gloop that you can smack really hard with a hammer? Of course you do.
4. The invincible UAV
Remaining on the theme of smacking into things, another cool UAV to come out of the design suite this year was a crash-proof Gimball from Switzerland-based entrepreneurs, which we discovered at the Paris Air Show. The UAV is encased in a protective frame which allows it to crash into trees, walls and ceiling. The video shows the daredevil UAV navigating through the forest with little regard for its own safety.
5. WTF?! It’s a monster truck
Who can make the most outlandish, unnecessary yet freaking awesome military vehicle? The Israelis can and have proven so by showcasing the CombatGuard extreme off-road armoured vehicle (monster truck) at Defence and Security Asia. Pretty awesome looking piece of kit that can crush any car that stands in its path.
Also check out our video of the vehicle’s European launch at Eurosatory 2014 here.
6. The floating truck
Staying in Asia, Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) showcased its amphibious 4×4 truck at IMDEX. The Humdinga (always good to have an amusing name) is a truck/boat that actually works, unlike the poor attempts that have been made to create similar things on Top Gear.
7. Yup, someone is actually buying this
Jet packs are perpetually the future and not something we will ever be able to buy right? Nonetheless, one New Zealand tech company has showcased its personal jetpack which has been designed for search and rescue, military and commercial applications.
The latest is that Dubai is going to buy some for fire fighting purposes. Seems ridiculous but if you had the money you’d want one just to zoom about in yourself, wouldn’t you?
8. Are you cold?
The biennial DSEI threw up some great new products but what really got everyone’s heads turning was White Glacier’s protective immersion suite. Not least because they had some guy in the suit in a tank of ice water floating about for the whole week, proving the product works.
9. A fanciful design
Back at AUVSI earlier this year, Reference Technologies told Shephard about its ducted fan powered UAV, the Hummingbird. As well as looking like something out of the future the UAV has an inner 24in-wide duct which is surrounded by six 17in wide outer ducted fans. We thought this was pretty fantastic.