Wednesday, November 08, 2006

'Silent jet' in development

Okay, not completely silent, but one that "from outside an airport would sound about as noisy as a washing machine or other household appliance," according to a Reuters article about it on the MSNBC news website.

The article says that a team of 40 researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cambridge University spent three years working on the wide, streamlined jet. The aircraft would carry 215 passengers and could be in the air by 2030.

You just have to click on the link to the article at the end of this post so that you can have a look at a photo of this extremely streamlined aircraft of the 'flying wing' variety.
It lacks the central vertical stabilizer common at the tail of current passenger jets, instead using a pair of stabilizers at the wingtips.

The proposed plane has a 222-foot (68-meter) wingspan and is 144 feet (44 meters) long from nose to tail, comparable in size to a Boeing 767.

"You take the fuselage and you squish it, and you spread it out, and it's an all-lifting body," said Zoltan Spakovsky, an associate professor at MIT who worked on the project.

The design allows the plane to remain in the air at slower speeds, which would allow it to cruise in for a landing more quietly. The plane does not use wing flaps, which are common on today's passenger jets and create much of the landing noise.

The MIT-Cambridge team also designed what they said could be a quieter and more fuel efficient engine system. Rather than placing the jets in pods suspended under the wings, the silent jet uses three engines built into the middle of the plane, at the rear. They take in air from above the wing, which helps to insulate people on the ground from jet noise at takeoff.
Now click on this link and have a look at this concept aircraft: 'Silent Jet' Could Ease Airport Noise - MSNBC News

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