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New Silent Electric Aircraft Propulsion with No Moving Parts

At CDS most of us are engineers, as are many of you, our customers. From time to time to time to time to time we’re so amazed and delighted by new engineering achievements that we want to share them with you just in case you haven’t already seen them. Enjoy!

Electric motorized aircraft continue to advance wonderfully (see 10 of them here) and we’re all familiar with electric drones. But now there’s another flight technology in a first flying prototype. It’s also electric but has two key differences – no moving propulsion parts and no noise. MIT researchers have successfully flown an ionic wind-powered aircraft that doesn’t use any moving parts for propulsion. The 16-foot wide plane stays aloft by charging front wires with a high enough voltage (+20,000 Volts) to ionize nitrogen molecules in the air and then attract them to rear wires (-20,000 volts). The resulting ionic wind collides with air molecules and produces propulsive thrust – sufficient to keep the plane airborne.

To be fair ionic wind aircraft have been been built before but the designs have been limited to hovering above one spot because they were tethered to high-voltage power supplies. This new prototype has a custom power supply that generates the necessary electric power.

Of course, this is just a first prototype and an effective performing aircraft (perhaps even a hybrid with other propulsion methods?) may be far off but the potential has been proven!




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