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Insider Report: Watch an airplane hit a Volvo

Published November 6, 2012

During TestFest a couple of weeks ago, I helped out with shuttling vehicles back and forth to the performance testing site. With each batch of vehicles to be tested, we had to cross a live runway, which involved communication with the control tower and careful attention to crossing only when we had permission. It would seem that folks around Northwest Regional Airport in Texas don’t take the same approach to safety as they do in Niagara-on-the-Lake. At one end of the runway at Northwest, there is a private road. All that prevents drivers from crossing the live runway is the word stop painted on the road.

Sound like a recipe for certain disaster? On Saturday, the moment that most people could see coming happened. As a small Cessna was approaching the runway to land, a distracted driver in a Volvo SUV drove right out in front of the descending plane. As it happened, pilot William Davis had asked his wife Kandy to shoot video of his first solo flight. As the Cessna hit the Volvo, the landing gear was sheared off the aircraft, but fortunately the plane continued to land on its belly rather than cartwheel. Davis was uninjured, as were the occupants of the Volvo, Frank and Heather Laudo. Following the crash, Mrs. Laudo can be heard on the video stating emphatically that they did not pull out in front of an airplane. According to WFAA, the airport will be pursuing the FAA for assistance with making the road safer.

Who was at fault, the pilot, the driver or the airport? You be the judge.

The Netherlands to begin using glow-in-the-dark road markings
Originally part of a design awards program, The Smart Highway has gone from idea to reality in the Netherlands. Designer Daan Roosegaarde told Wired:

“One day I was sitting in my car in the Netherlands, and I was amazed by these roads we spend millions on but no one seems to care what they look like and how they behave,” “I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us.”

Roosegaarde’s solution was to create a photo-luminising powder that can replace road markings. The powder can be applied to road surfaces to display instructions on the road at certain times, like snowflakes when the temperature drops. Recharged by the sun during the day, the images can glow for up to ten hours.

The markings, which will start appearing in mid 2013, are part of a program to create more sustainable lighting on highways. The project will include wind powered street lights, interactive lights that come on as a vehicle approaches and priority induction lanes for electric cars.

Blastolene’s Piss’d Off Pete visits the Big Dog Garage
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Jay Leno is one of the most hardcore car guys on the planet. Because he is who he is, some incredibly cool machinery passes though his “Big Dog Garage”. One of the strangest has to be Leno’s Tank car, built by automotive artist Randy Grubb, which is a roadster that was hand built around the massive engine from a Patton tank. Grubb recently returned to the BDG with his latest creation, the Piss’d Off Pete.

Beginning with a long nose Peterbuilt semi, the artist made use of a wicked looking (and sounding) 12 cylinder Detroit Diesel with not just one, but two 671 superchargers. The outrageous hand built ride took Grubb 3,000 hours to complete. Check it out!

Nissan Altima racer takes to the track for Aussie V8 Supercars

There are some motorsport fans who feel that the most exciting series these days is the Australian V8 Supercars. The series features production based four door sedans, powered by thundering V8 engines, that more closely resemble the Trans Am cars of old than they do NASCAR type cars. The action is hot and heavy, which packs in the fans, which means that marketing dollars and factory teams follow. Add in the fact that the series is coming to North America in 2013 and that makes for a pretty attractive arena to other manufacturers.

Nissan recently revealed their entry into the series, a four door Altima that will be campaigned by Australian Todd Kelly. Still recuperating from shoulder surgery, Kelly did some shakedown laps in the Nissan last Friday at Calder Park in Melbourne. The car looks and sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to see it in action on our shores!

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