6 Advancements in Airplane Technology That Have Redefined Flight
Planes are perhaps the most popular form of transport if you’re going a long distance, and though it may not feel like a big deal now, it’s a unique achievement that planes can be trusted with carrying hundreds of passengers a mile up in the air at a time without any serious safety concerns. This is, of course, due to the many advancements and achievements that researchers have made, including incredible advancements in technology that help planes remain in the air and perform flights safely.
The single most important part of any aircraft is the core of the experience and the part that provides lift: the engine and everything that it powers. In the initial stages of the plane’s development, the engines that were used were mainly turbine-driven, providing less lift and less propulsion but a better fuel average for each flight. However, as planes became more advanced and could house more and more passengers, the need for more propulsive force increased, too, and turbines couldn’t keep up, which is why jet engines were rapidly developed and adopted to make sure the additional weight could be offset.
During the act of flying, it’s important to control the most minute adjustments in the plane, making sure that pilots have enough control over the different aspects of the plane, including the angle of the wings and how the tail is situated. In the early stages of the plane’s development, mechanical systems were used, allowing pilots to control their planes using physical movements, but this was not accurate enough, which is why the newer fly-by-wire system, which uses electronics to coordinate the entire method of controlling and maneuvering aircraft, was developed.
Another consideration that needs to be made when planes are being constructed is the material that’s being used in the body since this material needs to be sturdy yet low in density to produce planes that are as light as possible. However, the first planes used wood in their construction because of how light it was, but this resulted in more dangerous accidents, so the switch was made to steel and stronger materials. This knowledge was then condensed, using advanced modern methods, to create a blend of aluminum, steel, and other low-density materials, making a body that’s both low in density and sturdy enough to provide safety to passengers.
Technology is an important part of daily life in the modern era, finding its way into most vehicles, but planes are arguably where they’re used the best. The earliest planes relied on radio to communicate and radar technology to find their location and the location of other structures, but this has slowly morphed into more familiar systems, like avionics and the earlier mentioned fly-by-wire systems that have allowed more control and more safety during each flight.
Developing technology in aviation is the concept of using hybrid or even electronic propulsion, mainly because traditional jet engines rely solely on fuel, and they burn through this fuel rapidly during a long flight. Instead, hybrid propulsion aims to use battery power as well as fuel to provide energy for the plane’s systems and for its thrust, which ensures that planes are more efficient than ever before, causing two major benefits: more money saved on fuel and crucially, a massively reduced impact on the environment, something which has been a problem in the aviation industry for some time.
The ground support care involved in making sure a plane is good to go and ready for whatever it needs to do is a large part of the daily jobs of airport staff, and advancements in technology have allowed this job to get easier. In the past, massive machines were needed to move planes around and get them in a good enough spot to service; today, an electric tug is all an airport needs to lug a machine weighing thousands of tons around, and the other machines in the suite, like ground power charging and hydraulic fluid machines, help with this, too.
Planes are delicate and need care and attention to be able to do their job effectively, which is important, because a plane accident carries a lot of consequences with it. To that end, scientists and engineers have been creating newer and newer pieces of technology and innovation to help planes remain more stable, calibrate properly, and do more advanced functions like assist in taking off, landing, and flying the plane, and this technology forms the backbone of the aviation industry today.