The pointy designs won: Artist’s conception of a Minuteman III reentry vehicle.

Technically Speaking: Stealth Before Stealth

Practicing the art of invisibility in the 1970s.

The Thunderpiglet and Other Famous Failures

Fail at the drawing board and you fail in the air.

Spying on the Soviets, With Graph Paper and a Calculator

Figuring out the specs of Cold War Soviet airplanes was educated guesswork, if you had the right tools.

Burt Rutan’s Ski-Gull and Other Would-Be Seaplanes

There’s more than one way to build an amphibious aircraft.

The Cult of the Sonic Cruiser

The airliner that never took off.

The U.S. Army cut off funding for the Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEM-V) after one flight.

Advice for Airship Builders: Think Smaller

Grandiosity has been the ruin of many a dirigible design.

On Their Own Steam

Navy carriers are only now breaking away from using 19th century tech to put jets in the air.

The SpaceX F9R test vehicle is putting the company on the path to reusability.

Launch. Recover. Repeat

If Reusable Launch Vehicles become a reality, it won’t be thanks to NASA.

The B-52 Just Keeps on Flying

Designed in the 1940s, the BUFF shows no sign of retiring.

Dreams of Downtown Airports

The idea of connecting city centers with vertical take-off airports never quite took off.

Some Aircraft Get All the Luck (and Money)

And some run out of both.

How the 737 Got Its Hamster Mouth

The top-selling commercial airliner engine started with a strange design.

In retirement: the Concorde at the National Air and Space Museum Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Why We Don’t Have an SST

In the politics of supersonic transport, “boom” led to bust.

Searching for Secrets at Area 51

A guide to snark hunting at Nevada’s secure test-flight base.

Engineers have been experimenting with ramjets since the 1930s. From top: The French Leduc 0.10, test flown in 1949; the Boeing X-51 Waverider, which flew in 2009; the Rockwell X-30 NASP, cancelled before it could fly.

The Ramjet and the Rocket

If someone ever comes up with a need to fly at Mach 6, this 1990s technology could be the answer.

Page 1 of 1