DailyDirt: Impractically-Powered Planes

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Some methods of flying are better than others. Passenger comfort isn’t always the top priority for some aircraft, and that’s especially true when engineers are trying out really novel designs and propulsion ideas. Here are just a few examples of some new planes that aren’t quite ready for commercial flight, but that look really cool on the drawing board.

By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Impractically-Powered Planes”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The problem with airplanes powered by nuclear(Nuclear Aircraft) is shielding this was what made them impractical in the 60’s, the Russians flown one and it killed all the pilots according to some accounts.


It was a time when people were scared, both Americans and Russians were trying to outdo each other and the Russians had no value for life.

xenomancer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

With the designs around today, shielding should no longer be a problem. Shielding was inadequate in the 60’s because the reactors were oversized to compensate for low power consumption efficiency, and shielding is heavy. Nowadays, reactor designs the size of a large trashcan are viable. They may still be heavy, but a competent company would have a tough time arguing against losing a couple passengers in exchange for virtually no refueling time.

To explain a bit further, even if the reactor can not sustain the maximum instantaneous power required during a typical flight (take-off being the big power hog), there are plenty of means to store excess energy during periods of low power consumption (taxiing, cruising, initial landing approach) as electrical/chemical/mechanical energy. In fact, operating the reactor with less variance in power demand by using such an external energy capacitor is often desirable as it introduces fewer overall deviations from nominal design conditions to the system.

Bergman (profile) says:

Nikola Tesla envisioned a model for electrical distribution that, had it been implemented, would have inevitably led to aircraft with electric motors to spin propellers, but no fuel or batteries on board the plane itself.

I imagine sooner or later, the FAA would have required at least a small backup battery to allow the plane to safely land if the broadcast power tower failed, but it wouldn’t take much of a battery to power a plane for 5 minutes or so.

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