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Posts tagged “airplane transportation”

By Robert Rapier on Mar 5, 2011 with 48 responses

Electric Aviation is the Future of Transport

During an average week, I will see a few ideas that at first glance appear to be a little crazy. On second glance, some of them still seem crazy, but then some of the seemingly crazy ideas are not as crazy as I initially thought. This essay is about an idea that falls into the latter category. I have long-believed that the future of aviation will still be liquid fuels due to the low energy density of batteries. While I am aware of ultra-light electric or solar-powered planes, it is hard for me to imagine a passenger plane being operated on electricity. This essay is about a hybrid version of electric aviation that gets around my concerns about electric planes… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 30, 2009 with no responses

Three Gallons Per Mile

Often when I am flying, I think about the amount of fuel that the airplane is burning. Then when I am off the plane, I usually forget about it. I have heard mixed opinions on the overall efficiency of airline travel versus automobile travel, but just never got around to investigating the matter myself. Earlier this month I was on a flight from Hawaii to Dallas, and the pilot started talking about some of the plane’s statistics. Paraphrasing, he said: “Today we will be cruising at an altitude of 38,000 feet in this Boeing 757. This aircraft burns about 3 gallons of fuel per mile, and is carrying 243 passengers.” I thought “Hey, I better write that down and figure… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 13, 2008 with no responses

Peak Convenience

In the U.S. (and most of the developed world), people are accustomed to great convenience. We live in climate-controlled homes, wake up each morning, take a hot shower, and then eat a breakfast consisting of foods from halfway around the world. We hop into our cars, adjust the temperature, and head off to work. We fly across the country for a few hundred dollars. We send letters from coast to coast for 42 cents. For us, ‘inconvenience’ occurs when a store is closed on Sunday. ‘Those people’ living in far away places who have to put up with the inconvenience of intermittent power, no heating or cooling, and who have to walk everywhere they go (or ride packed buses/trains) are… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 27, 2008 with 1 response

A Solar-Powered Airplane

One of the things I have stated repeatedly is that even as I see the world moving to solar power by necessity, we will always need liquid fuels for long-haul transport and airline travel. Turns out I may have been wrong about the airline travel bit: Solar Impulse will fly only on solar power The Solar Impulse project has been broken down in stages to allow for adequate testing and technological advancement. The initial planning stages began in 2003. 2007 and 2008 should see the production of a prototype(s) for testing and the first overnight flights. Then larger prototypes will be introduced in 2009-2010 for longer test flights. The final stage should occur in 2010, when the flight around the… Continue»