Eurocontrol is warning helicopter operators, especially offshore oil operators, of a potential threat posed by “skysails,” giant kites that help propel some large ships such as oil tankers and container carriers. On September 15 a helicopter was descending over the southern North Sea to a nearby oil or gas platform when the crew saw such a skysail. It was flying ahead of a vessel, at around 1,000 feet, just below the clouds.
Richard Whitcomb, 88, the long-time NASA engineer des-cribed as the most significant aerodynamics contributor of the second half of the 20th century, died on October 13 in Newport News, Va. He was the recipient of the prestigious Collier Trophy for his discovery of the area rule fuselage, which gave fighter jets supersonic speed and greater range, and his supercritical wing and winglets are found on many of today’s aircraft designs.