Feeds

Cambridge engineers moot 'silent' plane

Handy

Security for virtualized datacentres

A research group at the University of Cambridge is working on a radical new aircraft design it says could eventually reduce the noise pollution in areas around airports to virtually nil.

The silent aircraft initiative, a joint research project between Cambridge and MIT, began in 2003. The stated aim of the group is "to discover ways to reduce aircraft noise dramatically, to the point where it would be virtually unnoticeable to people outside the airport perimeter".

An artist's impression of the plane

The BBC reports that the UK's Luton airport is now planning to partner with the group in actually building the jet some time in the next ten years.

While most of the noise from planes is caused by their engines, the physical design can also make a huge difference. For example, on landing, at least half the noise is due to the airframe, the researchers say. Among other things they have been looking at ways of slowing a landing plane more quietly.

A plane built to their design would be virtually inaudible once it had left the airport, they said.

The design is a departure from the traditional cigar shaped plane we are all familiar with. Instead it is essentially a flying wing, with its engines mounted on top of the plane, to direct noise away from the ground. This also reduces the mount of drag they contribute to the plane in flight.

Work is still needed on the design - a plane like the one illustrated, for example, would suffer from too-high loads on the fan blades that bring air into the engines. Engineers are still working on that problem, but have already worked out a variable geometry exhaust system that reduces the impact of a large exhaust area on weight and fuel efficiency.

The researchers expect their design to be completed in the next 12 months, the BBC says, and with Luton's backing, to have a test vehicle built within the next ten years. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.