Dancing flight attendants

Human Interest News   —   Posted on February 3, 2014

Flight attendants surprise passengers with dance routine

Flight attendants at Shanghai Pudong International Airport surprise travellers and onlookers with a dance performance in the middle of the terminal to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Sixty-six flight attendants joined in the dance at the airport in Shanghai which incorporated hip-hop movements with elements of traditional Chinese martial arts.

The dance coincided with the first day of China’s 40-day New Year’s celebration [Jan. 16th], known as the Spring Festival.  Each year, it represents the world’s largest seasonal migration of people as families reunite.

“We hope to leave them (the passengers) with a pleasant memory of their journey home during the Spring Festival travel rush,” said dance organizer Xiong Siyang.

The Year of the Horse officially starts on January 31 and the Spring Festival transportation period lasts 40 days from January 16.

Watch a Daily Telegraph video:

Birds sync wing beats in V formation

The next time you see birds flying in a V, consider this: A new study says they choreograph the flapping of their wings with exquisite precision to help them on their way.

That’s what scientists concluded after tracking a group of large black birds – each equipped with a tiny GPS device – that had been trained to follow an ultralight aircraft. One expert in animal flight said just gathering the data, which included every wing flap, was a remarkable accomplishment.

Scientists have long theorized that many birds like these rare northern bald ibises adopt a V formation for aerodynamic reasons.

When a bird flies, it leaves a wake. The idea is that another bird can get a boost from an updraft of air in that wake by flying behind the first bird and off to the side. When a bunch of birds use this trick, they form a V.

It’s been difficult to study this in the wild, but researchers from the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College and elsewhere met that challenge by partnering with a conservation program that is trying to reintroduce the endangered wading bird in Europe.

For about a decade, the program has hand-reared ibises from zoos and taught them their migration route by leading the way with a piloted ultralight craft. Normally, the leader of a V-formation would be a parent bird.

With the program’s help, the researchers tracked 14 juvenile ibises as they migrated between Austria and Italy.

An analysis of a seven-minute period showed that when the ibises flew in a V, they positioned themselves in just the right places to exploit the updraft in another bird’s wake, which lets them conserve their energy.

They also appeared to time the flapping of their wings to take full advantage of that updraft, by making a wingtip follow the same undulating path through the air as the wingtip of the bird up ahead. It’s like one car following another on a roller coaster.

And when one bird flew directly behind another instead, it appeared to adjust its flapping to reduce the effects of the wake’s downdraft. So birds can either sense or predict the wake left by their flock mates and adjust their flapping accordingly, a remarkable ability, the researchers said.

Watch an AP report:

Video shows Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo complete supersonic test flight

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has made its third rocket-powered supersonic flight in the Mojave Desert, soaring to a record 71,000 feet.

The company says the reusable space vehicle was carried by airplane to 46,000 feet on Friday and then released. The craft then used its rocket motor to reach its highest altitude to date.

SpaceShipTwo and its two-member crew then glided to a safe landing in the desert north of Los Angeles.

Virgin Galactic says the ten-minute test flight moves the company closer to its goal of flying paying passengers into space.

No date has been set for the first commercial flight but hundreds of would-be tourists have made down payments for the chance to fly.

Watch a Daily Telegraph video:

From Yahoo News and London’s Daily Telegraph.