Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? .. Wait, it IS a Plane?!

For the very first time, MIT researchers have established the first-ever aircraft that has NO moving parts. This radical method towards flying is in the form of a very small, light-weight and essentially soundless aircraft!

Instead of props or turbines, the light aircraft is powered by an ionic wind– a quiet, however magnificent circulation of ions that are produced aboard the plane, which produces enough thrust to move the aircraft over a continual, constant flight.

The airplane, named “Version 2 EAD Airframe” or V2, weighs just 5.4 pounds (2.45 kg) with a wingspan of 16.5 feet (5 meters). Also, unlike turbine-powered aircraft, the airplane does not rely on non-renewable fuel sources to fly

The system might be utilized to move light-drones and possibly even a light-weight aeroplane, as an alternative to Jet-fueled propulsion.
StevenBarrett, associate Professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT stated, “This is the first-ever sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system. This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions.”

Electrical field strength near a range of thin filaments called emitters at the front of the wing ionizes air, implying electrons are gotten rid of and charged particles called ions are produced. These favorably charged ions are brought in to adversely charged structures on the aircraft called collectors. As they move towards the collectors, the ions hit air particles, moving energy to them. This produces a circulation of air that provides the aircraft with its thrust.

The group, which consisted of Lincoln Laboratory personnel Thomas Sebastian and Mark Woolston, flew the aircraft in numerous test flights throughout the gym in MIT’s DuPont Athletic Center– the biggest indoor space they might discover to perform their experiments. The group flew the aircraft a range of 60 meters (the optimum range within the fitness center) and discovered the aircraft produced enough ionic thrust to sustain flight the whole time. They duplicated the flight 10 times, with comparable efficiency.

Barret stated, “This was the simplest possible plane we could design that could prove the concept that an ion plane could fly. It’s still some way away from an aircraft that could perform a useful mission. It needs to be more efficient, fly for longer, and fly outside.”

The aircraft, specified as a solid-state device due to the fact that it has no moving parts, was constructed to be as light as possible utilizing products like carbon-fiber, balsa wood, a plastic called polystyrene, shrink-wrap plastic and Kevlar.

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About the Author: Mike Whelan

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