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January 10, 2013
By Jim Moore
Turbofan engines that reduce fuel consumption and noise, composite materials that reduce weight while preserving strength compared to traditional materials, and flaps and landing gear designed to reduce noise are among eight innovations chosen for further testing, including flight testing, by NASA as the Environmentally Responsible Aircraft program embarks on a new phase.
NASA announced Jan. 7 that the selected projects will move from the laboratory to the real world, with flight and ground tests planned for systems that aim to reduce weight, drag, noise, and fuel consumption through various approaches. The ERA program was launched in 2009 to leverage private and public investment and create new technologies that make air travel more efficient, and reduce its environmental impact.
"With these demonstrations we will take what we’ve learned and move from the laboratory to more flight and ground technology tests," said Fay Collier, ERA project manager based at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., in a news release. "We have made a lot of progress in our research toward very quiet aircraft with low carbon footprints. But the real challenge is to integrate ideas and pieces together to make an even larger improvement. Our next steps will help us work towards that goal."
The selected projects were chosen as the most promising of dozens of submissions and proposals. All are aimed at transport aircraft, though many of the concepts may be applied to general aviation in years to come. NASA has a long history of supporting aviation innovation, helping to create a number of improvements and technologies in widespread use today.
Advocacy and Legislation
A House bill that would force FAA to go through the rulemaking process before imposing new policies for sleep disorders has passed a key committee.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
Senators are demanding a written response from the Department of Homeland Security about unwarranted stops of general aviation aircraft by DHS and Customs and Border Protection.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.