Friday, January 25, 2013

The hybrid wing design - a breakthrough in aircraft technology

It was only yesterday that we at Silicon Buzzard shared a news about a hybrid car that would run on air - now we have something of a hybrid thing being used in the aircraft technology.

While it is the endeavour of the aircraft designer to make bigger and bigger aircraft to house more passengers, the resultant added fuel costs is always a limiting factor.

But perhaps not anymore.

NASA has come upo with a hybrid wing design aircraft, coupled with an extremely efficient type of engine, called an ultra-high bypass ratio engine, that would reduce the cost of fuel to almost half.

Although it may take 20 years for the technology to come to market, the manufacturing method developed at NASA could help improve conventional commercial aircraft within the next eight to 10 years, estimates Fay Collier, a NASA program manager.

The manufacturing technique lowers the weight of structural components of an aircraft by 25%, which could significantly reduce fuel consumption. The advances are the culmination of a three-year, $300 million effort by NASA and partners including Pratt & Whitney and Boeing.

However, to sustain such an aircraft with huge wing span, NASA is currently working out to address to major issues:
One is how to control such a plane at low speeds. 
The second challenge is building a full-scale version of the aircraft with pressurized cabins that is structurally sound. 
In time these issues will be resolved and we can see these wide winged aircraft soaring over us in a decade's time.

Read more about it at: Mashable


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