Getting Rid of that Annoying Noise

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Despite our adoption of electric powerplants, at least at an experimental phase, one remnant of previous technologies remains.  And it threatens aviation’s future more than possibly any other aspect of flight. Charlotte Whitfield, head of the Aeroacoustics Branch at NASA Langley Research Center, quietly but effectively discussed a problem that plagues not only aircraft designers, but also the people who live near aircraft – noise.  Speaking at EAS IV, she touched on the concern that reducing aircraft noise is an increasingly important aspect of aviation, with urban zones encroaching on formerly remote airfields and a growing population likely to grow irate at having their golf game or quiet time disturbed by an unwanted aeronautical din. As she showed in her …

Putting The Human in Human Factors

Dean Sigler GFC Leave a Comment

Part of the Green Flight Challenge is the provision of adequate human factors design in the cockpit of the projected airplane. One can only design in so much ergonomic and safety-minded concern for the pilot and passengers. The ultimate human factor is indeed human, a topic Dr. Key Dismukes handled quite ably at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium. As noted in his NASA resume, “Dr. Dismukes is Chief Scientist for Human Factors in the Human Factors Research & Technology Division at NASA Ames Research Center (CV ). His current research addresses cognitive issues involved in the skilled performance of pilots, their ability to manage challenging situations, and their vulnerability to error. Among the topics investigated by his research group …

Bagging Algae – Pollutants into Energy

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

For the Fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 23 and 24 in Rohnert Park, California, Dr. Jonathan Trent was an ideal kickoff speaker. His work with NASA Ames Research Center on converting pollutants into algae-based biofuels could have long-term effects on cleaning up our planet’s air and water, and provide byproducts that will help to feed the 900,000,000 who go hungry every day.  As he notes, “Unless we go electric, we must move to low-carbon fuels.” The problem is not a new one.  As musical satirist Tom Lehrer wrote in his 1960’s plea for emissions control, “Pollution, Pollution,” “The breakfast garbage that you throw in to the bay/They drink as lunch in San José.” Dr. Trent, a PhD. in Marine …

The Poop on the Puffin

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants Leave a Comment

Under normal circumstances, this editor would never resort to scatological titles, but Mark Moore, the NASA aerospace engineer behind this fantastic flying creation calls his electric craft, “Puffin” because, according to Moore, the bird after which it is named, “Hides its poop, and we’re environmentally friendly because we essentially have no emissions.” Like the Puffin, this craft looks a bit chubby and incapable of flight on the ground, but folds its legs on liftoff, and becomes a streamlined bullet. Moore, who spoke at last year’s Third Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, and will return for this year’s CAFE Foundation gathering at NASA Ames Research Center in April, unveiled this concept at this year’s American Helicopter Society meeting in San Francisco. Moore …