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Innovation in Aviation Technology: Advancements of Industry

The topic of interest is a brief discussion of new technology in the aviation industry and what the innovations mean for the next wave of industry.


Aviation Technology: Origin

In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made their first successful flight. Just 11 years later was the first commercial flight. It left St. Petersburg, Florida, and carried a single passenger for 23 minutes. Current estimates are that there are around 100,000 flights per day worldwide. In the years following the first flight, aviation has continued to adapt to the latest in technology.

With the newest technological advancements, flights may become more comfortable, faster, and safer. These advancements are being implemented in many newer planes, from single-engine aircraft to commercial flights. Those who fly will want to be aware of the latest research and developments to find out what to expect in the coming years.




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Autonomous Aircraft and eVTOL

Self-driving vehicles have been in the news a lot in recent years, but what about autonomous or semi-autonomous planes? Research into this is being done right now to help create planes that have a reduced risk of human error and other safety concerns. Plus, there is research being done into eVTOL aircraft.


This type of aircraft is designed to operate electronically and to both take off and land vertically. An airport isn’t needed, as the eVTOL planes are able to land in a much smaller space than a traditional plane. Intended for short-distance transportation options, they can make it easier for planes to reach urban areas.


Quiet Boom Technology

Planes moving faster than sound, or more than 750 miles per hour, create a sonic boom. Though it’s not heard by pilots, it is heard by people on the ground and is around 120 to 140 decibels. The noise is a huge concern for the aviation industry. In fact, it is the reason commercial supersonic travel over land is currently banned.


Photo source: compositesworld.com

Companies like Lockheed-Martin are working to implement quiet boom technology in the latest aircraft like the X-59. Instead of the sonic boom sounding like an explosion, it’ll have a perceived decibel rating of around 75, which is about as loud as the sound made when a car door closes. Though the ban on travel will need to be lifted, the creation of aircraft with a quiet boom makes it more likely this can happen.

Supersonic and Hypersonic Aircraft

Though supersonic aircraft have been used since the 1960s, they’re not available for commercial or personal use. Typically, they’re used for research or military purposes. With the quiet boom technology, though, that could change. Concerns about the volume of a sonic boom have limited the use of supersonic aircraft, but if the sound is no longer a concern, it may be possible to start using them commercially to carry passengers or cargo.

The goal is to make long-range travel times much shorter and help to increase efficiency in the aircraft industry. With faster flights available, passengers can get to their destination quickly. Flights will spend less time in the air overall. Depending on the aircraft, speeds could range from Mach 1, around 767 miles per hour, to Mach 5, around 3,836 miles per hour.


AI and Machine Learning Advancements

AI and machine learning are transforming aviation. AI is used to help make flights safer and to optimize maintenance to prevent potential issues. It’s also used to help create a more positive customer experience during flights. Artificial intelligence can be used for everything from chatbots to create personalized assistance for passengers to optimizing flight schedules to help reduce delays. Operational changes and enhancements can go a long way toward increasing safety and creating a better experience for pilots, passengers, and more.


Improved Air Traffic Management

In the US, NextGen is the latest in Air Traffic Management and is working toward enhancing the management of air traffic to make everything more efficient and reduce delays. This includes the introduction of newer air traffic control systems that can help make air travel safer. Advanced data analytics and other new technologies are being used to improve the safety of flights, increase the capacity of airspace, and more. This could lead to significant changes over the next few years for all pilots, as it makes it easier to get planes to their destinations safely and with fewer delays.


Enhanced Safety and Security Features

New features are continuously being added to personal and commercial aircraft to help improve safety and minimize potential risks. Collision-avoidance systems, for instance, help to spot potential risks in the air and navigate the plane around them successfully.

In the airport, technology can include biometrics like fingerprint scanning to help make the boarding process more streamlined. It can also be used for access control, enabling personnel to move faster throughout the airport and enhance security throughout the airport. Some areas are already implementing new technologies, like using biometrics throughout the airport, and more are soon to follow.


Better Fuel Efficiency and Hybrid Aircraft

Electric and hybrid options are not just for cars anymore. The creation of electric and hybrid aircraft is moving forward with the aim of reducing emissions. Today, a common goal for many industries is to reduce their carbon footprint, which helps minimize their impact on the environment, and the aviation industry is no different.


Companies like Airbus and Boing are working on creating both electric and hybrid aircraft, using the latest in technology to help design more energy-efficient models that can be used for personal and commercial purposes. As technology continues to advance, these could be a more common option for aircraft and can help the industry reach its goals to increase fuel efficiency.

Advanced Passenger Experience

A formed titanium plate is shaped for the airfoil specific to the aircraft and has around 800 holes laser perforated into it in the normal direction. The substructure of the aircraft is fitted with tubes, pumps, and resevoirs that feed fluid into the leading edge and provide enough pressure to push the fluid through the 0.0025in diameter size holes to the ambient atmosphere.

Conclusion

Aviation has come a long way in the last 120 years. It’s not slowing down now. Advancements in technology in recent years have made huge differences in aircraft and the safety of flights for commercial and personal airplanes. For anyone in the industry, it’s important to keep an eye on the latest in technology and what’s changing throughout the industry to understand what’s happening and how it can impact them.

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