Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tired of all the noise from those planes flying overhead? One day it will be a thing of the past

Anyone who’s ever lived near an airport will tell you how loud and obnoxious that can be.

Think about it. You’re sitting at home in your living room noodling around on your laptop or watching TV, when suddenly the house suddenly begins to rumble. Is it King Kong? A freight train that’s run off its tracks? No, that rumble — which is soon accompanied by a loud whine — is emanating from a 747 that’s flying directly overhead.

And the worst part? Another one will soon be coming, followed by another and another and another …

That’s a fact of life for people living near Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood. And it’s not limited to Inglewood. Residents in Huntington Beach are up in arms over the same kinds of issues, as are people living in Long Beach.

I don’t live near an airport, but my home in Santa Clarita seems to be under a flight path as well. Fortunately, the planes are much higher up when they cruise overhead so the noise is muted compared to what others are experiencing.

But the fact remains: Aviation is a noisy business if you’re living anywhere in the proximity of a commercial airport. That’s where Ampaire comes in. This Los Angeles-based company is working to retrofit a standard turboprop airplane into one that would operate solely on electric power. Beyond that, the company plans to develop an all-electric, zero-emission airplane from the ground up.

The company’s primary aim is to create planes that would reduce costs and lessen the aviation industry’s impact on the environment. It’s a safe bet that all-electric planes would do both. But a welcome byproduct of this technology would be reduced noise.

Imagine the difference between watching a 747 with four Pratt & Whitney engines flying overhead and a 747 that’s all electric. With the latter, you’ll likely hear some noise from sheer wind displacement. But the roar of those Pratt & Whitneys? That will be conspicuously absent.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Ampaire, which is housed in the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator in downtown Los Angeles, is making progress on its retrofit.

“We’re not taxiing here in the parking lot, but the integration aspects of our technology and the low-power testing will occur here,” Kevin Noertker, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said earlier this week. “High-power testing likely will have to happen at one of the local airports or in a hanger space. We’re evaluating a number of locations for that right now.”

Ampaire plans to begin flight tests of a retrofitted six-passenger airplane next year that could be used for both passenger and cargo flights. That will be followed by production-engineering design and certification of the retrofitted aircraft. It will have a range of up to 100 miles.

The company has designed an all-electric aircraft called TailWind that has yet to be in production. The sleek looking airplane will come in two models — the all-electric TailWind-E and the TailWind-H hybrid electric which is designed for longer-range flights.

Ampaire says electric planes would save a company 75 to 95 percent on fuel costs. When all of the operating costs of an airline are factored in, the switch would result in an overall savings of about 25 percent.

Not too shabby.

The company estimates that designing and certifying a new air frame is about a 10-year, $200 million process, so this isn’t going to happen tomorrow. But it’s good to know that the technology is there and that quieter planes will eventually become a reality. Any technology that can cut costs, lessen our impact on the environment and reduce noise at the same time has to be a good thing.

So the next time you hear a low-flying 747 roaring overhead, consider the fact that all of that noise will one day be a thing of the past. And when that days comes, you’ll be able to sit in your living room and noodle around on your laptop in peace.

Original article ➤ http://www.pasadenastarnews.com

1 comment:

D Naumann said...

If you think there will be commercial aircraft powered by electricity, I've got a bridge in Florida I'd like to sell. How do you make a small fortune in aviation? start with a large one.