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Developing Commercial Aircraft Fuel Efficiency

Developing Commercial Aircraft Fuel Efficiency

Boeing 747 Consumes 5 US Gallon per NM

One of commercial aviation’s most persistent issues has been that of fuel efficiency. A standard uses up about 5 gallons per nautical mile.

At NASA’s request, several aircraft manufacturers have got their top aircraft engineers back at the drawing board to develop quieter, cleaner and more fuel efficient.

Take a look at 2 such aircraft that are in the pipeline.

The Box Wing Jet

Developed by engineers at Lockheed Martin, the Box Wing Jet is being designed to burn less fuel while still retaining the current basic aircraft shape. Its target launch date is 2025.

The Box Wing Jet uses lightweight materials that are similar to those used in F-35 and F-22 fighter jets and it has a loop-wing design.

The idea is that these two factors would help boost the lift-to-drag ratio sufficiently so the aircraft could fly a longer distance using less fuel.

Another factor that would contribute to the fuel efficiency of the Box Wing Jet is the pair of extra wide, ultrahigh-bypass turbofan engines that are being used in lieu of traditional engines.

The combination of the turbofans and box-wing design is expected to make the Box Wing Jet 50% more fuel efficient as compared to conventional aircraft.

The Sugar Volt

The Sugar Volt is being developed by engineers at Boeing and its target launch date is 2035.

This aircraft is built on the principle that turning off the gas engines and using an alternate power source is ultimately the best way to save jet fuel.

For takeoff, the Sugar Volt would use both jet fuel as well as batteries but it could then be switched to all-electric mode once it reached cruising altitude.

Another fuel efficient element is the design of the wings.

The wings of this aircraft are thinner but have a wider span. Both of these elements are expected to make the aircraft 55% more fuel efficient as compared to the average aircraft.

With the promise of better fuel efficiency, environmentalists everywhere just can’t wait for these two aircraft to get airborne.

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