SOLUTIONS TO SAVE JET FUEL

NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia – New energy-efficient airplanes could be designed. Researchers work on designs for viable commercial aircraft which could leave a low to zero carbon footprint.

In order to save jet fuel, they look at new concepts, processes, and designs that could be lighter. They try to reduce drag, and they try to increase the propulsive efficiency. For this purpose, they try to get rid of metallic airframes, and parts as often as possible.

For instance NASA has a newer composite 10 percent lighter than carbon fiber composite. This advanced material is called « Pultruded rod stitched efficient unitized structure » or PRSEUS.

The new sleeker designs look like large wings without any traditional tube-shaped fuselage in the central part since it is blended with the wings. These futuristic designs are more fuel efficient as the more lift the plane has, the less it consumes fuel.

The researchers also look at new energy sources as it is showed in this video, and in the end there is further information about the NextGen project which could save fuel too, thanks to this new form of air traffic management:

 

MACH-20 AEROSPACECRAFT

New-York to Los Angeles in 12 minutes… It would have been a record-breaker, had it worked:

The DARPA and USAF FALCON project might give anybody the thrill of speed as this « aerospacecraft » has been designed to reach Mach 20 i.e. around 20,000 km/h; 5.6 km/s; 10,800 knots; or 12,400 mph depending on the air temperature, and the altitude which might be above at least FL900!

DARPA USAF FALCON HTV-2 hypersonic aerospacecraft - 22 April 2011
DARPA HTV-2 - 22 April 2011 ---- Photo: DARPA, US Federal Government

Unfortunately, the project seems to encounter major difficulties as the last test which unfolded on August 11, 2011 failed again. The previous one – also on an HTV2 – had failed in April. Click on the right-hand side picture to get further information on the first test. The Blackswift (HTV-3X)  had been designed by ATK; Boeing; Lockheed Martin; and Skunk Works to provided a strategic strike anywhere in the world within an hour. It was cancelled due to a lack of funds (see the HTV-3 shown in the following video):

 


 

  • DARPA stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • FALCON stands for Force Application and Launch from CONtinental United States
  • FL stands for Flight Level (FL x 100ft = altitude)
  • HTV stands for Hypersonic Test Vehicle or Hypersonic Technology Vehicle
  • RCS means here in the videos: Reaction Control System (and not Radar Cross Section)

Click on the picture below, and then on the blue arrows to watch the different phases of light:

Flight Overview slide, MACH-20 DARPA AEROSPACECRAFT
Flight Overview slide - Interactive picture: DARPA, U.S. Federal Government

AD-150 HIGH-SPEED VTOL DRONE

Thanks to its HTAL (High Torque Aerial Lift) advanced tilt-duct propulsion system, the AD-150 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has been designed to take off and land vertically (VTOL) as well as reach a speed of about 300 knots.

It is still being developed by American Dynamics Flight Systems. Its airframe is to be made up of carbon fiber and kevlar materials. It could be one of the most effective drones of its generation with its versatile payload configuration; GCS interfaces; and interoperable data links. Its Pratt and Whitney engines could be feed with Jet-A; JP-4; and JP-5 fuel.

VIDEO:

Boeing Phantom Ray maiden flight

The Boeing J-UCAS (Joint-Unmanned Combat Air System) took off from Ewards U.S. Air Force Base on April 27, 2011. This stealthy drone has been developed from the X-45C.

Video of the first flight:

X-47B bat-winged unmanned aircraft – Maiden flight

The US Navy X-47B UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration) successfully completed its first flight at Edwards AFB on February 4, 2011.

The flight which was conducted by a US Navy/Northrop Grumman test team, lasted 29 minutes. The flight test was aimed to provide test data to check the system software for guidance and navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless drone. The X-47B is deemed to safely take off from, and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Other flight tests should be performed to validate the airworthiness of the drone in Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River), Maryland till 2013. Here is the maiden flight video: