BBC: Microsoft launches simulator to train drone AI systems. “Microsoft has launched a platform to train the artificial intelligence (AI) systems of autonomous aircraft. Project AirSim is, in effect, a flight simulator for drones, which companies can use to train and develop software controlling them.”
Warbird Digest: Rare Short Films Now Online Digital Delights. “Eighty-six selections from The Museum of Flight’s collection of rare, behind-the-scenes movies have been digitized for the first time and are now online. The films date from World War I to Apollo 13. Most of the films are privately shot footage and home movies that offer surprising views of local culture and aerospace history not available anywhere else. Highlights include home movies of flight attendants at work and leisure circa 1940; making and flying German fighters in 1918; Alaska bush flying the 1940s; Aerocar fun in 1968; and Bill Boeing partying with friends circa 1930.”
The Museum of Flight: The Museum of Flight is Now in Your Home. “The site features the best of the Museum’s exciting videos, virtual tours, blogs and collections; plus surprising new ways to explore one of Seattle’s top tourist attractions. State-of-the-art 3D tours in the Virtual Museum Online allow visitors to deeply explore the Museum’s top 12 aircraft, including favorites like Air Force One, Concorde, B-17 and the Space Shuttle Trainer. For the bigger picture, photos and info about every plane and spacecraft in the Museum’s renowned collection are also on view.”
Air Force Museum of New Zealand: Air Force Museum Photo Archives Go Online. “Although at this stage only approximately 5,000 images are available, an estimated 0.5% of the total collection, more are coming online every day. Usually these are photos that researchers have requested and because there’s only me working in the Photo Archive, generally these are all I have time to digitise and make available. As time permits, I’ll be working through many thousands of files which simply need only a small amount of work before they can be made available. The initial focus will be on named course groups, starting with wartime pilots’ courses and aircraft pictures.”
National Model Aviation Museum Blog: Introducing the Digital Collections!. “As of the date of this blog post, May 1, 2019, there’s 835 object records and 2,734 library records. While this may only be a small portion of the approximately 11,000 object records we have, more are being added every month. It’s about half of the library records.”
Australian Aviation: 1919 Great Air Race Winners’ Archive Digitised. “…a hundred years after the Great Air Race, aviation enthusiasts and scholars around the world will be able to more easily get an insight into the thoughts of Sir Ross and Sir Keith from a century ago after the State Library of South Australia added the pair’s personal records to its digital collection.”
Adafruit pointed me toward a database of paper airplane designs. It looks like there are about 40 designs, from easy to expert. Each one I looked at had extensive folding instructions with pictures, a link to a YouTube video, and downloadable instructions. Now I want to fold airplanes.
Mashable: Google can now predict flight delays . “The only thing worse than missing your flight is arriving on time just to realize the flight’s been delayed for a couple of hours, and there’s nothing you can do besides sip expensive airport coffee and worry about missing a meeting and/or a connecting flight. Google’s excellent Flights service has a new feature that should help remedy this.”
New Atlas: NASA uploads hundreds of historic experimental flight videos to YouTube. “Fans of experimental aircraft from the 20th century are in for a treat. NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center has begun uploading its entire historical archive to YouTube, making hundreds of videos highlighting different test flights and strange planes from the past 70 years easily accessible.”
Launched in July: an online museum of model aircraft. “[David] Wendell, 48, has spent the last 25 years and thousands of dollars securing model airplanes and space shuttles, traveling across the country to get the models autographed by the pilots who flew them. Wendell’s online museum, which went live in July… features 365 autographed model airplanes and space shuttles, signed aviation and aerospace posters, paintings and various aviation and aerospace facts.”
New-to-me but apparently online for something like seven years, and a new favorite on my “very specific collections” list: a collection of over 1000 air-to-air refuelling images. “My collection includes many rare pictures (ever see an A-10 refuel from a KC-97?) of over 120 different receiver types. Whenever possible I will try to provide a link to the source(s), but I have been collecting the pictures for years on my hard drive and it may be very difficult to track down the original source.” There are embedded YouTube videos as well.
Federal agency TSA is now on Facebook Messenger. “Wondering what hours the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck lanes are staffed at your local airport? Or whether you can bring an obscure item through airport security? You can now get the answers to those questions and many more by asking the TSA directly through Facebook’s Messenger function.”
Aviation Week & Space Technology has launched its 100-year archive (PRESS RELEASE). “Penton’s Aviation Week & Space Technology launched its 100-year digital archive today in collaboration with Boeing, the sponsor of the archive. Both companies trace their roots to 1916. The archive includes 4,500 issues and nearly 500,000 pages of articles, photos and advertising.” It looks like the archives are free but you have to register to access them.