Aircraft, Airport, Aircraft Specification

When Small Technology Can Make a Huge Difference

When Small Technology Can Make a Huge Difference

The largest and most widely-flown aircrafts in the world also tend to produce a lot of noise. With a lot of governmental pressure being showered down on them, Aircraft manufacturers are under a great deal of pressure to manufacture planes that generate less noise and those that will be easier on the environment. To resolve this problem, German researchers have developed a very small and innovative device called the vortex generator.

The Effective Device

The vortex generator has been developed by the DLR or the German Aerospace Centre and it diverts the wind from the vents that are on the underside of the wings on the Airbus 320. This is highly effective in reducing the sound that emanates from the aircraft, just before the flaps & landing gear are being deployed for landing. The sound that you could hear before using the vortex generator is akin to that of the sound that a beer bottle makes when it is being opened – on a much larger magnitude though. The head of the Department of Technical Acoustics at DLR, Jan Werner said that if you are listening to an aircraft that is landing, this is a very distinct sound that can be heard.

Many people believe that it is the engines that used to make this sound. But the fact is that the circular openings that help in equalizing pressure in the fuel tanks that are mounted on either side of the wing are the ones that used to cause this sound to occur. Most people found this sound very annoying and the vortex generator, which has been developed over a decade, has reduced the noise levels tremendously. Delfs stated that it the difference in the decibel levels is very noticeable. Apart from the actual decibels, it is also the actual nature of the tones and sounds that make a particular sound more annoying, he added.

A Matter of Tone

For instance, if some high decibel sound simply rushes past your ears, it might not annoy you too much. On the other hand, if there is a distinct loud noise very close to your ear, it can be extremely annoying. It’s more about the perception of the sound rather than the decibels that it is heard at. This particular device will prove to be a definite boon for most airplane manufacturers. Lufthansa, the German airline has already started installing this device on over 150 different A320 model aircrafts as well as the sister models- A321 and A319.

The Competition is On

In passenger numbers, Lufthansa is the 2nd largest carrier in Europe and they have said that addition of the vortex generator to their aircraft is all a part of their broader scheme to make their airplane quieter. In addition to this particular device, components manufacturers as well as aircraft makers are now rolling out different technologies that reduce air and noise pollution. Boeing Company and the Airbus Group are the 2 most dominant aircraft producers in the world and are always locking horns to announce new technology launches that will make their aircraft quieter and more fuel-efficient and the vortex generator has generated a lot of interest.

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