NASA Could Save Commercial Airlines Billions Of Dollars

Posted: Jan 5 2016, 4:40am CST | by , Updated: Jan 5 2016, 7:34am CST, in News | Latest Science News

NASA Could Save Commercial Airlines Billions of Dollars
Researchers with NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation project coordinated wind-tunnel tests of an Active Flow Control system -- tiny jets installed on a full-size aircraft vertical tail that blow air -- to prove they would provide enough side force and stability that it might someday be possible to design smaller vertical tails that would reduce drag and save fuel. Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart

NASA is coming to the rescue of airliners. It could help save commercial flights billions of dollars in cash.

The airlines of the United States could save up to $250 billion in cold hard cash in the near future and this would be thanks to the tireless efforts of NASA.

The environment-friendly technologies developed by NASA’s researchers would figure somewhere in this deal. It’s been half a dozen years since NASA’s tinkerers have been doing their jobs with responsibility. It looks like the payoff of all this hard work will be coming pretty soon.

NASA’s ERA (Environmentally Responsible Aviation) Project can cut fuel usage by half for most airliners. As for pollution levels, they could be decimated by a whopping 75%.

Finally, noise could be cut by one-eighths. This is good news and it could revolutionize aviation as we know it.

“If these technologies start finding their way into the airline fleet, our computer models show the economic impact could amount to $255 billion in operational savings between 2025 and 2050,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics research.

Between 2025 and 2050, the application of these lean green technologies of the future could save the airline industry a humongous amount of money. Ideally it would be $255 billion. ERA was formed in 2009. And most of its tasks were accomplished by 2015.

The ERA had before it the lofty goal of inventing vehicular concepts that would reduce the impact of technology on the environment. For all purposes, it seems to have succeeded in its objectives. About eight integrative technology demos were tested.

These roughly fell into three categories: air frame, propulsion and systems integration.

When the ERA had completed more than half a decade of testing and creating stuff, NASA made an input of $400 million in the project not to mention $250 million in resources to help tackle various issues that turned up at each step.

It was a gargantuan task since the time frame was limited and the budget was fixed. Besides this all eight of the demos had to be covered within the specified deadline.

By the end of the day, ERA researchers had to finish the whole thing and synthesize the results. Also an analysis of the situation was necessary. Nevertheless, it was a job well done.

“It was challenging because we had a fixed window, a fixed budget, and all eight demonstrations needed to finish at the same time,” said Fayette Collier, ERA project manager.

“We then had to synthesize all the results and complete our analysis so we could tell the world what the impact would be. We really did quite well.”

The eight demos included:

smaller tail fins via eight embedded nozzles;

stitching together of lightweight components;

morphing wing technology; aerodynamic efficiency;

fan design for propulsion efficiency and reduction of noise pollution;

reduction of nitrous oxide fumes;

novel design tools and finally a hybrid wing body concept.

The ERA will go a long way in seeing to it the aviation will never remain the same again.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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