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Expert View

Energy is Key to Shape of Commercial Flights in the Future

[+] Author and Article Information
Kaufui Vincent Wong

Mechanical and Aerospace
Engineering Department,
University of Miami,
Coral Gables, FL 33146

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received December 3, 2014; final manuscript received January 5, 2015; published online April 6, 2015. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 137(4), 044701 (Jul 01, 2015) (3 pages) Paper No: JERT-14-1397; doi: 10.1115/1.4029739 History: Received December 03, 2014; Revised January 05, 2015; Online April 06, 2015

Compared to military flight, speed, maneuverability, and stealth are not of foremost importance in consideration for commercial flights planned for the future. Increased laminar flow over the wings, a power source that is renewable and affordable, together with greater passenger safety, seems to be the top design considerations. Manned solar flight, which has already been demonstrated for short hauls, has already succeeded. The success and future of solar-powered flight for the flying public depends on research and development in this area. The inspiration from flight record breakers like Steve Fossett and solar-powered flight pioneers like Piccard and Borschberg should not be underestimated. They have put mechanical and aerospace engineers again at the forefront of the aircraft industry.

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