The flying wing has completed initial stages of flight testing.

The flying wing has flown at speeds up to 124 mph in flight testing so far.Jason McDowell

The striking Horten HX-2 flying wing that was unveiled in Friedrichshafen, Germany, at AERO in April 2018 has completed its initial stages of flight-testing and continues to progress through ground vibration and flutter testing at Horten headquarters near Eisenach, Germany. During the initial flight-tests, the HX-2 was flown at speeds up to 124 mph and has returned promising preliminary data.


When flown at the long-range cruise speed of 87 mph, the HX-2’s 100-hp Rotax 912is engine demonstrated a fuel burn of 2.64 gallons per hour. With 64.4 gallons of fuel capacity, this translates into a preliminary range of 2,123 miles and an endurance of more than 24 hours. Horten predicts a maximum cruise speed of approximately 170 mph.

While exploring the flight envelope, Horten found the brake rudders at the winglets were not necessary for positive yaw control. Capitalizing on the opportunity to reduce weight and complexity, engineers removed them and installed lighter winglets in their place. After making this modification, Horten confirmed the elevons alone enable the HX-2 to handle well in crosswind takeoffs and landings, and controls are said to be crisp and responsive because of, in part, using carbon fiber push/pull tubes as opposed to control cables.

According to Horten founder Bernhard Mattlener, the HX-2 is a proof of concept for a future 4-seat version. While it will initially be powered by conventional gasoline or diesel engines such as the Continental CD155 and CD300, he would ultimately like to see it powered by hydrogen. He explained that the HX-2 is well positioned for advances in hydrogen technology. Because of the shape and dimensions of the airframe, the ample internal volume could provide sufficient fuel capacity for a 1000-mile range; an advantage he claims is unique to the HX-2.


Source:  flyingmag.com


Source: leylas-idea

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will toughen safety standards for its coveted Top Safety Pick awards, the insurance-funded group announced Wednesday. But those standards include pricier equipment, such as LED headlights, that cost more for new car shoppers. 

“We’re interested in promoting safety,” Joseph Young, media relations with the IIHS, said in an interview. “And as we see the technologies become more mainstream, we’ll see these prices go down.”

The IIHS is putting the safety spotlight on headlights for 2020 vehicles. To qualify for Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick awards, vehicles must have headlights that receive “Good” or “Acceptable” ratings as standard equipment, whereas last year it could be optional equipment. 

The IIHS launched headlight ratings in 2016 because a disproportionate number of the estimated 40,000 annual traffic fatalities occur at night, Young said. There haven’t been any significant changes to the federal headlight requirements since 1997, and even that provision is based on safety standards developed in the 1960s. 

“We quickly learned that headlights were not lighting up the road very well, so vehicles were overdriving their headlights,” Young explained. “When something comes into view, you might not be able to stop in time.”

Typically, more expensive LED projector and reflector headlights perform much better than halogen lights. But those headlights historically have been offered as optional equipment on higher trim levels. The change to the awards criteria is meant to simplify it for consumers and prod automakers to offer safer headlights as standard equipment.

“We want to weed out the good from the bad,” Young said. “We hope it encourages the crummier headlights to drop out of production.” 

The IIHS can set the safety bar for automakers, but doesn’t have much influence over cost. In a 2018 report, the IIHS found a wild variance in average headlight assembly cost between automakers, ranging from $526 in the Subaru Legacy to $3,242 in the BMW 5-Series. 

The rise of life-saving crash mitigation technology, such as LED headlights and automatic emergency braking that will be standard on nearly all 2022 vehicles, comes at a cost that is passed on to consumers. This is one of several reasons the average transaction price of new cars is at a record, exceeding $38,000.

The insurance industry benefits from such safety features because fewer crashes means fewer claims to fulfill. But the IIHS maintains that it serves safety first. 

“Our mission is to prevent crashes, especially those with injuries,” Young said. “Yes, it’s good for insurance companies, but it’s good for everyone.”

In addition to being more expensive, new cars are also safer. 

“The proportion of vehicle occupants who were fatally injured increases with the age of the vehicle,” the NHTSA found in 2018. 

Because the crash testing and safety standards of the IIHS are far more rigorous than the NHTSA, which is woefully behind the times, automakers pursue the standards set by the IIHS, going so far as to nominate certain cars that should get tested in hopes of a TSP or TSP+ award. With the resources to test only 50 to 70 models annually, the IIHS is conscious of not raising the bar too high from year to year. 

“We work closely with automakers…and want them competing for these awards,” Young said. “If we make them too difficult, everyone can throw up their hands and say forget it.”

The IIHS does change its crash standards periodically, which makes it difficult to compare Top Safety Pick awards from year to year.

Also for 2020, pedestrian crash prevention ratings will be factored into TSP and TSP+ awards. The inclusion of pedestrian crash prevention for the first year is meant to address the growing number of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. Pedestrian fatalities hit a 28-year high in 2018, with 6,227 pedestrians killed, accounting for more than 15% of traffic fatalities, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.


Source: thecarconnection.com



The Taj Exotica Resort and Spa Maldives is a 5-star exclusive, private and romantic island resort lush with tropical plants and encircled by clear blue waters of one of the largest lagoons of the Maldives.



Taj Exotica Resort & Spa spreads idyllically along a pristine beach and serene lagoon.

“The award-winning resort seamlessly extends the magic of the island’s blessed natural beauty in its design even as it offers the finest in contemporary luxuries and services. Jiva Grande Spa, an authentic Indian spa, offers a range of signature wellness experiences.”

Located only 15 minutes by a private luxury speedboat, from Malé International Airport, the resort features 64 villas, each furnished in natural tones and textures with ocean views.


Photos courtesy of Taj Hotels
Source: Taj Hotels

Web:  homedsgn.com


Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Medium: Copper: engraved and gilt; champlevé enamel: medium and light blue and white




2020 BMW 4-Series

The 2020 BMW 4-Series has us all tied up, and that’s before we’ve taken any turns.

What’s likely to be its last year in the current iteration, the two-door coupe and convertible, and five-door hatchback (which BMW calls a Gran Coupe) earn a 6.0 on our overall scale. That rating is based on the 430i coupe, which is the most affordable and most popular. If rated alone, the Gran Coupe and/or 440i would rate higher due to better interior space or more power. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 4-Series is available in 430i or 440i configurations, with turbo-4 or turbo-6 power respectively. All-wheel drive is optional on all models.

With the 4-Series, BMW offers a wide range of configurations on a largely overlooked car—including the M4, which we cover separately. The coupe and convertible are sexy and contemporary, the Gran Coupe is even sexier and on-trend—if buyers didn’t prefer crossovers.

The base 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 248 horsepower and sings in 430i models. In coupes, it can be paired with an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual, the latter of which is dying faster than network news.

The optional 320-hp turbo-6 in 440i models is a performer, but a costly upgrade. The 440i coupe can be equipped with a manual, too. (Hurry if you’re looking for a rear-drive new BMW with three pedals, its days are numbered.)


The 2020 4-Series lacks official crash-test data.

The BMW 4-Series hasn’t been crash-tested by any of the major rating agencies in the U.S. and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Short of official crash-test data, we can’t assign a score here.

Beyond those official scores, all versions of the 4-Series get automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and a system that can automatically notify first responders if the car is involved in a serious crash. Safety extras including adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors are bundled into disparate options packages that can add thousands to the total cost of the 4-Series. Mainstream automakers don’t typically do that, most make all or many of those features part of a standard feature included in the price of the car. We wished BMW would do the same.



Source: thecarconnection.com

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