Researchers at MIT say they have come up with designs for a new generation of passenger aircraft that could use as much as 70 percent less fuel than today’s airliners.
MIT said that its designs for a so-called “N+3″ airplane–meaning three generations beyond today’s airplanes–could leverage new technologies like advanced airframe configurations and propulsion systems and could deliver the 70 percent fuel savings by around 2035.
Instead of using a single fuselage cylinder, MIT engineers used two partial cylinders placed side by side to create a wider structure whose cross-section resembles two bubbles joined together. They also moved the engines from the usual wing-mounted locations to the rear of the fuselage. Unlike the engines on most transport aircraft that take in the high-speed, undisturbed air flow, the engines take in slower moving air that is present in the wake of the fuselage. Known as the Boundary Layer Ingestion (BLI), this technique allows the engines to use less fuel for the same amount of thrust, although the design has several practical drawbacks, such as creating more engine stress.
Planes built with the MIT designs will likely be as much as 10 percent slower, but that time loss could be offset by quicker loading and unloading due to the planes’ wider bodies.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- Wondering where the summer travel deals are? This article from FOXNews.com explains everything you need to know about the current travel environment and how to navigate it.
- The USAToday reports that you should expect to see higher fares and packed flights. According to the U.S. Travel Association, leisure travel is expected to rise 2%; business travel, 2.5%; and international travel into the U.S., 3% this year. This pent-up customer demand is driving fares up following a grim 2009, in which belt-tightening occurred across all travel segments, including corporate and vacation travel.
- Losing luggage is one thing, but when an airline loses your dog, that’s a whole other story. It’s even worse when the airline lies to you about losing your dog. But that’s just what Delta did to a Canadian couple who was returning home from a Mexican vacation. Despite the fact that the dog is still missing in action, everything has a happy ending. After all, the airline offered to refund the couple the $200 in fees he had paid to fly his pet – as a credit toward a future flight on Delta.