A typical summer day in United Kingdom air space

This mesmerizing video shows air traffic during a 24-hour period in the United Kingdom during a typical summer day.

Created by NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services, the data visualization shows air traffic coming into, going out of and flying across the UK on a typical summer day.

It was created using real data from 7,000 flights from a day this past June as recorded by radar and air traffic-management systems.

Activity is shown at 800 times faster than real time, according to NATS.

The time runs from midnight to midnight and shows the arrival of early morning traffic coming across the Atlantic in the early hours, the build up through the day and then tapers off into the night before the pattern repeats.

The noticeable difference in flight speeds is likely due to varying speeds of commercial and military aircraft.

(Viewing this in full-screen mode is particularly cool.)

(HT: Carpe Diem)

‘Jet blimp’ concept still unrealized, 60-plus years later


Amid stories focused on the final weeks of the 1952 US presidential campaign, including an article that Adlai Stevenson “wasn’t always so plain,” at least according to his sister, and charges that New York Republicans had paid children to boo President Harry Truman on his whistle-stop tour across that state, came a report claiming an aeronautics breakthrough in Europe.

Under the headline “Jet Blimp Is Reported By Italians,” the Associated Press noted on Oct. 12, 1952, the development of the world’s first “big jet-propelled helium-filled dirigible.”

The Italian newspaper Il Giornale d’Italia, the AP reported, claimed the blimp was 184 feet long, 42-1/2 feet in diameter and had been already been put through 14 successful test flights by Italians.

The Rome-based publication, the AP added, stated that much larger jet dirigibles were planned by the United States but were still in the “drawing-board stage.”

Giornale D’Italia did not specify the speed of the airship or how many men it would carry,” the wire service concluded.

It’s difficult to determine what became of Italy’s “jet blimps,” but given that dirigibles are still, for the most part, ponderous behemoths of the sky, it’s possible to assume one of the following:

  • That the Italian newspaper was being taken for a figurative ride by government officials in dire need of good press (Italy was in the midst of its sixth government in six years in late 1952);
  • Il Giornale d’Italia knowingly printing false information spoon-fed it by the government in an effort to help the nation regain prestige lost through Mussolini’s World War II debacle; or
  • The paper simply was printing a rumor, likely fed it by an “unnamed” government source, and didn’t bother with too much fact checking for fear that it would learn the story wouldn’t hold up under scrutiny.

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