Feathers in Flight Inspire Anti-Turbulence Technology

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

“Inspired by nature’s own anti-turbulence devices – feathers,” researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a system that emulates the movements of feathers with which birds control their flight path in the most turbulent conditions. Dr. Case van Dam gave a talk at the 2014 Electric Aircraft Symposium on controlling aircraft in turbulence and providing smoother rides with Gurney flaps, jet flaps and micro tabs.  The RMIT team chose to mimic the motions of feathers on a bird’s wing to gain many of the same advantages.  The Unmanned Systems Research Team learned enough to file a provisional patent on the system, detecting disturbances in the air ahead of the airplane.  Both approaches might help the electric commuter aircraft …

EAS VIII: Dr. Jaiwon Shin Brings NASA to CAFE

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The CAFE Foundation was honored this year to have Dr. Jaiwon Shin, Associate Director for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), speak at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium.  His responsibilities at the agency, and his earnest regard for CAFE and its direction were evident during his talk. According to his NASA biography, “Dr. Jaiwon Shin…  manages the agency’s aeronautics research portfolio and guides its strategic direction. This portfolio includes research in the fundamental aeronautics of flight, aviation safety and the nation’s airspace system.”  Such tasks include overseeing the next generation (NextGen) air traffic control system, funding promising research projects, crafting policies that will assure ongoing progress in creating cleaner, safer flight vehicles, and coordinating …

EAS VIII: Making Small Airplanes Ride Smoothly

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. C. P. (Case) van Dam of the University of California at Davis provided some counter-intuitive pointers on making small airplanes ride more smoothly to participants at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in late April.  His solutions for ride quality enhancement in small airplanes are an essential ingredient in making electric Sky Taxis a plausible reality.  Because at least initially many electric aircraft are constrained to long wing spans and light wing loadings, they are subject to “perturbations of significant magnitude to be unacceptable.”  These disruptions of the intended altitude and direction of the aircraft can be more upsetting to passengers than to the aircraft itself, but van Dam had several suggestions to alleviate the vertical and lateral accelerations …

EAS VIII: John Langford Shares a Wide Range of Skills

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. John S. Langford is the Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, which he founded in 1989.  He has Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from MIT in Aeronautics and other disciplines. While at MIT, he led a series of human-powered aircraft projects, culminating in the Daedalus Project, which in 1988 made a 72-mile flight between the Greek islands of Crete and Santorini.  He was just named 2014 winner of the National Aeronautics Association’s Cliff Henderson Trophy, awarded for “…a living individual, group of individuals, or an organization whose vision, leadership or skill made a significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States.”   He shares the honor with earlier winners …