posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 10:21 AM
This is a pretty cool idea. Testing of C-17 aircraft occured last month to test whether or not an aircraft could fly in another aircraft's vortex, and
maintain that position with the autopilot. The rear aircraft had a 10% fuel savings over the lead aircraft. For example, a KC-135 burns about 10,000
pounds an hour, so 1,000 pounds of fuel per hour savings add up quick.
A little snippet:
It's an aerial maneuver known as "vortex surfing" where cargo planes in a V formation ride the cyclone of upward pressure that spills off the
wings of another plane flying roughly 3,000 feet in front. Special software developed for the large C-17 Globemaster III, allows the trailing plane to
stay in the sweet spot of an upward draft, providing significant fuel savings.
The Air Force successfully tested the concept last month. Now scientists at the unit that manages cargo and tanker planes must find the money to
complete this efficiency project at a time of ever-shrinking budgets.
"We've seen birds fly in 'V' formations. They do that for a good reason," says Donald Erbschloe, chief scientist at Air Mobility Command, based at
Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The Air Force consumes 75 percent of all of the federal government's aviation fuel. Air Mobility Command alone requires 25
A fuel efficiency office was already looking at the low-hanging fruit to use these resources more efficiently, says Erbschloe, including removing
weight from the aircraft, washing the engines and changing the plane's center of cargo.
They basically took the flying V that ducks and other birds do to ride the vortex and applied it to military jets. Pretty interesting stuff...
edit on 17-8-2013 by boomer135
because: (no reason given)