Scientists build and flow first-ever silent airplane with no moving propellers or jet turbines

Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US have built and flown first-ever silent airplane with no moving propellers or jet turbines. At present, every aircraft have moving parts such as propellers, turbine blades and fans, which are powered by the combustion of fossil fuels or by battery packs that produce a persistent, whining buzz.

Key Facts

MIT researchers have designed this lightweight plane weighing about five pounds with five-meter wingspan. It was flown at distance of 60 meters, a feat that was repeated 10 times. It was simplest possible plane design that could prove concept that ion plane could fly. It is first-ever plane having no moving parts in propulsion system.

This new light aircraft does not carry propellers or turbines and also not depends on fossil fuels to fly. It is inspired from movie and television series “Star Trek”. It is powered by ionic wind or electrodynamic thrust, a silent but mighty flow of ions that is produced aboard plane. It can generate enough thrust to propel plane over sustained, steady flight. Unlike propeller-driven planes, the new design is completely silent.

Significance

It has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler and do not emit combustion emissions. In the near-term, such ion wind propulsion systems could be used to fly less noisy drones. Moreover, ion propulsion paired with more conventional combustion systems can create more fuel-efficient, hybrid passenger planes and other large aircrafts in future.

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