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Tue March 13, 2012
Flying the Self-Powered Skies
Airplanes use a lot of energy to get from place to place, but they also create a lot of it - especially, say, when they're slowing down and landing. Engineers at the University of Lincoln are looking at how to harness that energy so airplanes can power themselves.
No, we're not talking about turning airplanes into perpetual motion machines. But harvesting the kinetic energy that goes into the last leg of the flight could, for example, be used when the plane is taxiing on the ground, which is at present an energy-inefficient process. A number of ground vehicles already use similar mechanisms, so the trick is just finding the most effective method to grab the plane's energy and put it to use. And once that's finished, airline pilots can start hypermiling, right?