First ever plane with no moving parts takes flight
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have, in a breakthrough, built and flown the first-ever silent airplane with no moving propellers or jet turbines.
Since the Wright Brothers launched the first airplane over 100 years ago, every aircraft has flown with the help of moving parts such as propellers, turbine blades, and fans, which are powered by the combustion of fossil fuels or by battery packs that produce a persistent, whining buzz.
The first ever “solid state” plane, with no moving parts in its propulsion system, has successfully flown for a distance of 60 metres, proving that heavier-than-air flight is possible without jets or propellers.
The flight represents a breakthrough in “ionic wind” technology, which uses a powerful electric field to generate charged nitrogen ions, which are then expelled from the back of the aircraft, generating thrust.
This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions.
The team designed a lightweight plane weighing about five pounds with a five-meter wingspan. Testing the design inside a gym, the team successfully flew the plane a distance of 60 meters, a feat that was repeated 10 times.