There are new aircraft being developed all the time. The SR71 is a mission specific bird who's primary mission was overflight of adversary terrain. Satellites are more cost effective and stealthy but cannot cover all places all of the time also, due to refueling needs cannot always be re-positioned as needed so are not a perfect solution. The supersonic aircraft have issues as well high operational costs, time to get over target, the potential of getting shot down and, believe it or not legal limitations it's ******* to go supersonic with very few exceptions in US airspace. There is new ramjet tech being developed that will fly in near space at much higher speeds that along with better sensor packages should help fill the gaps but last i read new materials need to be developed first.
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As an aircraft engineer I have deep concerns over composite and plastics used in aircraft construction. I personally don't think they can possibly last simply because repairing structural damage cannot be 100% guaranteed. Metal and wooden structures are easily repaired or replaced. Splicing and repairing plastic and composites are not so easy and expensive to do. It's often cheaper to buy a new one, which means that the aircraft will be written off rather than anyone having to guarantee any complicated repair. Metal aircraft, however, can easily be repaired given a skilled sheet metal worker and the repairs are often stronger than the original structure.
What worries me about plastic is its tendency to become brittle over time. Most of us have experienced those horrific plastic garden chairs that don't last more than a year before they break. Whilst composite aircraft are clearly of superior quality, I like to see a manufacturer who is prepared to guarantee that his composite (plastic) aircraft will not suffer the same fate over time. There was a plastic glider that broke up in the UK in the late 70s. The owner had painted a dark green band around the rear fuselage just in front of the tail. The differential heat absorption from the sun seriously weakened the area and the tail broke off in flight. No-one can tell yet what we will be confronted with in the future or what people might do to their aircraft and I predict that many will have to be retired when we find out the real lifespan when they start to fail. I personally would need a lot of convincing before I bought one.
From a pilot's point of view, every aircraft comes from the factory with a checklist of things to look at specifically before every flight to ensure airworthiness. It's generally called a walk-around inspection, checking flight controls for security and condition, tire condition, engine for obvious problems. propeller, fuel and oil quantities. and many other things. The walk around also includes checking to ensure all required paperwork is there including weight and balance, airworthiness certificate, aircraft registration, operator's manual. etc. I would also check the log book to verify the transponder check was done within the past 24 months and the annual or 100 hour inspection is current. From an A&P mechanic point of view much the same applies, however I would look much closer at the maintenance logs for engine and airframe.
The cost in designing, developing, and testing an aircraft is staggering!!! Defense contractors as those you mention have extremely strict regulations to follow regarding export control and no equipment is sold to a foreign government without the express approval of the US gov't.
There are some speed limits for certain types of airspace. Airliners are always in contact with air traffic control and in order to keep the required separation of aircraft sometimes the controllers will ask the pilot to maintain an airspeed. More than likely you experienced a slowdown while your plane was beginning an approach, During approach controllers have to maintain specific spacing between aircraft and often must slow them down behind slower aircraft. Your plane very likely was slowing down from approx 570 knots to 250 knots or less for the approach.
it is the relative direction around the aircraft using a clock face. 12 oclock is in front of the pilot, 6 oclock behind. 3 oclock to the right etc. it is also used with high, level or low. for example, a contact off to the right and above the flight level of the pilots aircraft would be 2 oclock high.
Are you asking about the certification of the aircraft itself (14 CFR part 3 vs. 14 CFR part 23?), or approval for instrument precision landings (ILS CAT III)? If the latter, it's really not an aircraft issue, but rather an equipment issue. That means you can have two aircraft of the same type, but one is equipped for CAT III and the other is not.
CAT III is basically autoland, which means it needs redundant navigation equipment, computer throttle controls, etc. But you could, in theory, outfit an old Citation with all that and get it approved (at some huge price <G>). And, don't forget, the crew needs to be certified as well.
Its easier to control the airplane with that balance, a twin like that would be easier than a single for the same reason that the prop rotation makes the plane easier to turn to one side than the other.
They go through very intense training to be able to sequence aircraft safely. If there's a controller then there's at least a Class D area and all aircraft operating in that area must contact tower and let them know where they are and what they want to do. This is the information that lets them determine when it's clear.