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Aircraft Fuel Efficiency February 17, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Climate Change, Environment, Technology.
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Snow day today, so to speak. Sipping coffee and reading the February issue of Popular Science. It has lots of stuff about airline fuel consumption and the search for more fuel efficiency and alternative fuels that would work for aircraft, an entirely different proposition than fuel for cars. One thing that struck me is a sidebar about the Boeing X-48B blended wing aircraft design that can be 23% more fuel efficient and why it won’t ever be a commercial passenger liner. Simply put, no one wants to fly in a passenger plane that doesn’t have windows in the passenger compartment and readily available emergency exits. Sort of reasonable. So current plans call for only military versions of the plane. But then I wondered just how many planes UPS, FedEx and other dedicated air freight carriers use. Aren’t there enough of them to form a fairly hefty niche by themselves? And if you’re building the craft for the military you should have the capability in place to build a civilian version even if it’s not going to the passenger carriers, shouldn’t you?

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