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Media can only be downloaded from the desktop version of this website. Now MIT engineers have built and flown the first-ever plane with no moving parts. Unlike turbine-powered planes, the aircraft does not depend on fossil fuels to fly. And unlike propeller-driven drones, the new design is completely silent.

Further out, he envisions ion propulsion paired with Mit conventional combustion systems Mit create more fuel-efficient, hybrid passenger planes and other large aircraft. Barrett and his team at MIT have published their results today in the journal Nature.

He was particularly drawn to the futuristic shuttlecrafts that effortlessly skimmed through the air, with seemingly no moving parts and hardly any noise or exhaust.

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If enough voltage is applied, the air in between the electrodes can produce enough thrust to propel a small aircraft. It was largely assumed that it would be impossible to produce enough ionic wind to propel a larger aircraft over a sustained flight. The fuselage of the plane holds a stack of lithium-polymer batteries.

In this way, the batteries supply electricity at 40, volts to positively charge the wires via a lightweight power converter.

Once the wires are energized, they act to attract and strip away negatively charged electrons from the surrounding air molecules, like a giant magnet attracting iron filings. The air molecules that are left behind are newly ionized, and are in turn attracted to the negatively charged electrodes at the back of the plane.


As the newly formed cloud of ions flows toward the negatively charged wires, each ion collides millions of times with other air molecules, creating a thrust that propels the aircraft forward.

Undistorted camera footage from unpowered glide 2, with position and energy from camera tracking annotated.


The team flew the plane a distance of 60 meters the maximum distance within the gym and found the plane produced enough ionic thrust to sustain flight the entire time. They repeated the flight 10 times, with similar performance.

Undistorted camera footage from flight 9, with position and energy from camera tracking annotated. It needs to be more efficient, fly for longer, and fly outside.

Ideally, Barrett would like to design an aircraft with no visible propulsion system or separate controls surfaces such as rudders and elevators.

Now the possibilities for this kind of propulsion system are viable.How to Remap Your Keyboard Windows 95, 98, NT , , and ME.

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One challenge in finding lost hikers: Dense trees can block the view from search planes. AeroAstro researchers are working on autonomous, collaborative drones to search under forest canopies, without the need for GPS guidance. Full story Watch video.

MIT engineers fly first-ever plane with no moving parts | MIT News