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Researchers from MIT have flown a plane, Ion Drive in the Ionic Wind

Ion Drive representation image, JPL NASA
Ion Drive representation image, JPL NASA

MIT engineers have flown an Ion Drive (with high power electrodes to ionize the air particles) in the Ionic wind ( a wind thruster that is used to generate ionic wind), a phenomenon similar to Vernon Brechin in the year 1960.

They have flown the plane without moving parts on contrary to Wright Brothers plane, that flew with the help of moving parts such as propellers, turbine blades, fans, powered by the combustion of fossil fuels or battery.  Instead of propellers or turbines, the aircraft is powered by electro-hydro dynamic thrust or shortly "ionic wind". The aircraft weighs only 2.45 kg with a wingspan of nearly 5 meters.

When a current is passed between the anode and cathode, it creates a “wind” in the air between.  Wind is nothing but moving air.  If the required amount of voltage is applied, the resultant ionic wind can produce a thrust without the help of motors or fuel.  They are capable of running a small plane.

Unlike the ion drives which have powered spacecraft for many years, this new drive uses air as the accelerator.  The researchers were confident that it could power even the silent drones.

Steven Barrett, Professor Aeronautics and Astronautics at the MIT, and the director of the laboratory for aviation, having goals to develop and evaluate electric aircraft propulsion technologies, flew the plane across MIT athletic center found that it was able to produce enough ionic thrust to sustain flight for the required time with repeated trials, published an article relating to this in the journal named "Nature".

Barrette explained to the press that this was the simplest possible plane that they were able to design that could prove the concept that an ion plane could fly.  He accepts that the design needs a few more steps to climb the ladder and reach the mission.

Researchers from MIT have flown a plane, Ion Drive in the Ionic Wind

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