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2010 July 23 — Why Now?
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Not Too Shabby

The BBC reports that the ‘Eternal plane’ returns to Earth

The UK-built Zephyr unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has confirmed its place in aviation history as the first “eternal plane”.

The solar-powered craft completed two weeks of non-stop flight above a US Army range in Arizona before being commanded to make a landing.

The Qinetiq company which developed Zephyr said the UAV had nothing to prove by staying in the air any longer.

It had already smashed all endurance records for an unpiloted vehicle before it touched down at 1504 BST (0704 local/1404 GMT) on Friday.

Zephyr is set to be credited with a new world endurance record (336 hours, 24 minutes) for an unmanned, un-refuelled aircraft – provided a representative of the world air sports federation, who was present at Yuma, is satisfied its rules have been followed properly.

Its fortnight in the sky easily beats the 30 hours, 24 minutes, set by Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4A Global Hawk in 2001.

Zephyr has also exceeded the mark set for a manned, non-stop, un-refuelled flight, set in 1986 by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, who stayed aloft for nine days (216 hours), three minutes. Their flight in the Voyager craft went around the world.

With the ability to maintain flight at 60,000 feet, above the weather, and to generate its own power for instruments, this really is a great stride for long term monitoring of, say, oil spills, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other disasters.

July 23, 2010   9 Comments

Stage 18

Tour de FranceSalies de Béarn – Bordeaux

Distance: 198 kilometers.

Back on the flat with a couple of sprints. Tomorrow will be time-trials and then it’s the parade to Paris, so this is the last stage for the sprinters and non-climbers to make a move.

Mark Cavendish made his move and won his fourth stage, but a withdrawal is the only reason he moved up. The finish involved the bottom of the list from 149 down at the front of the pack, but no real change in their overall standings. Alberto Contador hasn’t won a single stage but he is wearing Yellow.

Yellow Jersey Alberto Contador ( Esp – AST – 001 ) [Yellow] 88h 09m 48s
Green Jersey Alessandro Petacchi ( Ita – LAM – 208 ) [Green] 213 points
Polka Dot Jersey Anthony Charteau ( Fra – BBO – 153 ) [Polka Dot] 143 points
White Jersey Andy Schleck ( Lux – SAX – 011 ) 2 [White]
Team: Radio Shack RSH ( 021-029 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Mark Cavendish ( GBr – THR – 111 )
Combative: Daniel Oss ( Ita – LIQ – 046 ) [Red numbers]

They’ve gone 3,487.4 kilometers [2,167.0 miles] at an average speed of 39.6 kph [24.6 mph].


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July 23, 2010   Comments Off on Stage 18

Tropical Depression Bonnie

Tropical Depression BonniePosition: 26.4N 83.4W [10 PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: West-Northwest [295°] near 17 mph [27 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 35 mph [55 kph].
Wind Gusts: 45 mph [70 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1010 mb ↑.

It is 395 miles [635 km] East-Southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and 85 miles [135 km] Southwest of Sarasota, Florida.

It is 345 miles [555 km] East-Southeast of the Well from Hell.

The center of Bonnie is over the Gulf near the East Coast of Florida and has weakened to a Depression.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the northern Gulf Coast from Destin, Florida to Morgan City, Louisiana including Lake Pontchartrain.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

July 23, 2010   Comments Off on Tropical Depression Bonnie

Friday Cat Blogging

Too Hot To Move

Friday Cat Blogging


[Editor: A rerun because everyone is in hiding in a dark if not terribly cool place. The heat index was 117° on Thursday, and while only 108° on Wednesday, the inside cats are recovering from the replacement of the air conditioner that gave up the ghost on Tuesday morning. While the new unit is more efficient, it achieves that by being a steady performer, not an instant cooler. Everyone is a bit cranky around here.]

Friday Ark

July 23, 2010   10 Comments