As the aviation industry moves towards more green initiatives to reduce fuel consumption, decrease carbon emissions, and save money on operating costs, engineers are finding new methods in aircraft design and components to further realize such an endeavor. Reducing the amount of fuel that an aircraft requires for flight is a crucial undertaking, as fuel serves as the largest cost for most aircraft operators. Whether civilian or military, the operation of aircraft can reach upwards of $10,000 a year per pound of the aircraft just in fuel costs. In this blog, we will discuss some of the main ways in which aircraft design is changing to reduce fuel consumption including reducing drag, finding new methods of wiring, designing new equipment, and engineering improved engines.
When attempting to make an aircraft more fuel efficient during flight, one of the primary methods is to increase its aerodynamic properties. Drag is a force that opposes the movement of an aircraft, acting upon every part of the aircraft that is moving through the air. To combat drag, engineers are testing various solutions that can reduce lift-to-drag ratios. One method is to utilize a thicker aircraft fuselage and slimmer aircraft wings, as airflow would be increased. With winglets, air that flows around the wingtip can be reduced through deploying small surfaces that cause air to lift vertically. Lastly, some are even experimenting with the placement of the aircraft engine, proposing that an engine at the top of the aircraft near the tail can greatly increase fuel efficiency.
Another method outside of redesigning the aircraft fuselage and wings is to focus on the internal components, such as wiring. In a typical passenger jet, wires and cables can add up to a collective 16,000 pounds, heavily increasing the need for more fuel to conduct standard operations. Currently, many engineers are looking into new methods of wiring, some even suggesting that wiring of non-avionic systems could be entirely replaced with sensors and aircraft transceivers. By relying on battery power, such electrical parts could send data to concentrators that are connected to the main electrical system. Furthermore, other engineers are also considering what are called “fly-by-wireless” systems that could take the place of the wiring that assists in the operations of critical avionic components such as the navigation system.
Beyond the wiring, other internal components are being engineered with improved designs and materials to decrease weight, all while maintaining top performance standards. With materials such as carbon, engineers can now develop parts such as landing gear components, aircraft wings, tail components, and other critical aircraft parts that are lightweight, yet robust. By replacing metallic aerospace parts with carbon-fiber composite alternatives, the fuel consumption of an aircraft can be reduced upwards of 5%.
The last major initiative that is being made to reduce fuel consumption comes in the form of more efficient aircraft engine designs, utilizing newer hybrid-electric and lighter-weight engines. With a hybrid aircraft engine, the propulsion system can utilize both fuel and electricity for its functions, saving operators a great amount of money on fuel costs. An example of this is the Honeywell aircraft turbogenerator which is hybrid-electric, allowing for each generator to power multiple motors on a single aircraft while saving fuel.
By utilizing new and upcoming aircraft designs and components, operators can reduce the amount of fuel required to conduct standard flight operations to save large amounts of money on operational costs and may reduce their carbon emission output. When you are ready to begin procuring the various avionics components, electronic parts, and other aircraft parts that you need for your operations, ASAP 360 Unlimited is your sourcing solution with over 2 billion items at your disposal. As a premier online distributor of aviation parts, customers can find everything they need that is new, used, and obsolete, complete with rapid lead-times and competitive pricing. We invite you to explore our robust part catalogues at your leisure, and our team of industry experts are readily available 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process.
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