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Lorin Thwaits A geek says what?

Cut fuel costs on big boats by re-introducing a big sail?  I absolutely love it!  But even better, put it high up where it can catch more air.  And make the sail wider than a football field so it really makes a difference.  That's exactly what SkySails will be doing as early as next year for large shipping barges.  The assistance will probably be highly directional, but still end up being quite helpful.

This is another good trick to help further downsize the "big oil" elephant that's been standing in the room for far too long now.  Another great idea that will hopefully get better backing soon is the "flying wing", or blended wing body (BWB) aircraft:

I find it unthinkable that people sometimes reject this design based solely on its looks, or the lack of windows.  At least that's the reasoning behind Boeing's previous decision to scrap the project.  We've been flying the same old-school tube style aircraft ever since the ancient Boeing 707 was introduced five decades ago.  Time for a change, especially since there's a better way.  BWB aircraft is around 20% more fuel efficient, and makes much better use of space on the plane by offering comfortable auditorium-style seating.  It is also much, much quieter, both because of the aerodynamics and because the engines are placed on top of the plane, not underneath.  Consider also that with today's planes, 15%-25% of the floorplan is devoted to aisles.  This design regains much of that otherwise lost space, giving more legroom to passengers and potentially cutting aisles down to about 5% of the total floorplan.  Everything about BWB is a better solution to aircraft design.  Will require lots of pillars in the plane for reinforcement, and some gnarly composite materials so the whole thing can be pressurized.  Also airport terminals will have to change a little.  But it's worth-it in the long run.

A related recent development to this kind of "flying wing" design is the SAX-40 designed by MIT.

(And in other news, did you hear that Apple's new iPhone will have two batteries, one for MP3 and one for the phone features?  Plus both a keyboard on the outside surface of the phone, and a more fully-featured pull-out keyboard to send texts with.)

Posted on Monday, December 4, 2006 4:18 PM Gadgets , Efficiency | Back to top


Comments on this post: Now THIS is a good idea! (SkySail / BWB / Boeing X-48)

# re: Now THIS is a good idea! (SkySail / BWB / Boeing X-48)
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Yeah, something is b0rked with it right now. Probably getting slammed with visitors! Hopefully it will be on the up-and-up tomorrow.
Left by DDos Protection on Nov 06, 2009 11:44 PM

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