Window Seat

The window seat is always the  jealousy-guarded spot on a plane and these breathtaking pictures prove  why.

Snapped thousands of feet above the ground,  this set of pictures shows the varying beauty of the earth taken from inside the  cabins of planes.

Among the collection are the landscapes of  New York City, Christ the Redeemer in Rio, Brazil and Doha in Qatar.

The photos were compiled and uploaded by website Twisted Sifter.

Sunny snap: A photo taken by traveller Charlie Gilbert over Doha, Qatar A photo taken by traveller Charlie Gilbert  over Doha, Qatar
Tropical fun: Wake Island in Hawaii captured from above  Wake Island in Hawaii captured from above
Leaving London: A trip from Stansted airport to Tallinn in Estonia captures England's greenery  A trip from Stansted airport to Tallinn  in Estonia captures England’s greenery
Snow-peaked mountains: Yvon Maurice took this breath-taking photo as she flew over WashingtonYvon Maurice took this  breath-taking photo as she flew over Washington
City that never sleeps: Karen Blumberg took this photo, with Central Park in the center as she flew New York City Karen Blumberg took this photo,  with Central Park in the center as she flew New York City
Sky high: As she flew over Mt. Rainier in Washington Bob Horowitz took this photo including the plane's wing As she flew over Mt. Rainier in Washington Bob  Horowitz took this photo including the plane’s wing
Famous landmark: Yvon Maurice took this photo from a cabin as she flew over Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Yvon Maurice took this photo from a  cabin as she flew past Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Another world: Simply identified as Passenger 32A this photo was captured in Asia over Phuket, ThailandSimply identified as Passenger 32A this  photo was captured in Asia over Phuket, Thailand
Below the clouds: Anguilla in the Caribbean as photographed from the air Eugene Delaney Anguilla in the Caribbean as  photographed from the air Eugene Delaney
There's no place like home: Mark Shaiken took this vivid photo as he flew over Kansas Mark Shaiken took this vivid  photo as he flew over Kansas
Another land: Madrid in Spain as snapped by Sidney GomezMadrid in Spain as snapped by Sidney Gomez

Attribution: Daily Mail

As Much Fun as Stripping Paint

Prototype robots autonomously strip paint from aircraft using lasers

Team of robots decoating a cargo plane
Team of robots decoating a cargo plane

If you think stripping paint off an end table can be a messy, time consuming job, imagine removing paint and other coatings from an aircraft like the C-130 transport plane. Tasked with developing a robotic system that would take such a chore out of the hands of maintenance personnel, Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, developed a team of robots that gets the job done – using laser beams, no less.

Close up of Laser Removal Arm

The prototype robots are being tested at the Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah as part of a program sponsored by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment to develop ways to cut down on the labor costs, health hazards and environmental problems of repainting military planes. CTC is building six autonomous, mobile robots that work in teams to remove paint and other exterior coatings from fighter and transport planes.

Coating removal system

The large robots consist of a mobile platform on which is mounted a large, articulated arm that moves up and down on hydraulic lifts. On the end of each arm is an array of sensors that allow the arm to glide evenly over the plane’s surface and a continuous wave laser that removes the paint in selective layers. The sensors can also assess the plane’s condition as they go. The speed at which they work needs to remain even so that the laser can strip the paint without overheating the plane’s skin. Meanwhile, a custom High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) system safely collects paint debris as it is removed from the aircraft.

How many robots are required for each team depends on the aircraft. Two robots are enough for a fighter, but four robots might be needed for a cargo plane. The system controlling the robots generates plans for stripping the plane, which can be updated as the job proceeds. It also “virtually” masks areas of the plane that shouldn’t be touched, so maintenance crews don’t have to run about with masking tape and paper.

Mobile robot teams

Using robots means that plane maintenance can carry on around the clock, but it also offers other advantages. For one thing, since they operate autonomously, crews aren’t exposed to harmful chemicals or laser light. According to Jim Arthur, CTC principal process engineer and project manager, “automated laser decoating is expected to significantly reduce labor, waste volume, environmental risk, and overall cost.”

The system is currently in the testing and demonstration phase, but NREC/CTS foresee the robots being used to not only strip, but to also apply paints and coatings as well as inspecting aircraft and doing maintenance and repair work.

Attribution:  , Real Clear Science