Engineers are constantly trying to make airplanes more efficient, and there’s finally a big push to do so. In “The Future of Flight,” Special Correspondent Josh Zepps takes a look at how the aviation industry is evolving to meet new needs and pressures, with new aircraft designs and advanced fuels.
Josh visits NASA’s Langley Research Center, where the latest plane designs are tested and gets a rare peek at a wind tunnel test. He also interviews NASA manager Fay Collier, who shows him the space-age materials that will be used to build the planes of the future, how they are already cutting emissions through efficiency, and how the designs of the future will make them even more eco-friendly.
Next, Josh heads to Cleveland, where engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center are working on the next generation of jet fuel – from plants. Dan Bulzan tells him algae and fish can help improve the oil content of these plants, and why their habitat in marshes and wetlands helps reduce carbon in the atmosphere even more.
Boeing Vice-President Bill Glover weighs in on how all these developments could affect commercial aviation. New planes will increasingly be designed with efficiency and emissions reductions in mind.
energyNOW! also looks at how much carbon many air passengers use in a year and how the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen system is looking for GPS technology to make flying more energy efficient.
Photo by yenhoon.