If you want to be a pilot and fly for an airline, you will definitely get excited about some of the new technology in aircraft — because it all makes flying even more fascinating.
Most of the improvements evolve around fuel economy, lower carbon emissions and changes in the way pilots navigate.
SATELLITE-BASED NAVIGATION: Airlines are just starting to change from a radar-based system to satellite-based, and it's an significant change. To give you an example, on a recent trial flight, Southwest Airlines used satellite navigation and continuous descent approaches; this reduced fuel consumption by an impressive 6%. According to a senior executive at Honeywell Aerospace, the ultimate goal is to be able to leave the departure gate, take off and land, go to the arrival gate — all without ever hitting the brakes. Using global positioning, airlines fly more direct routes rather than following rigid paths that can take them miles out of the way, as they move from one ground-based radar beacon to another. Southwest Airlines estimated that just their airline alone would save 90 million gallons of fuel a year and would reduce their carbon emissions by 1.9 billion pounds. It has been suggested that less developed countries, such as China, could be the first to widely institute satellite-based navigation, as their air traffic infastructure is less established; hence, they can leapfrog a generation of technology.
FUEL ECONOMY: A plane's design and weight contributes to fuel consumption, so airlines like aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 because they are made from lighter-than-metal composite materials: Less weight, therefore less fuel consumption. And in th past five years, fuel has surpassed labor as the airlines' biggest cost. To save fuel also, airlines have been installing 11-foot vertical panels on the wings, called winglets, on longer-range aircraft. The winglets reduce drag and increase the amount of weight the plane can carry by thousands of pounds, saving money and increasing profit-potential.
REDUCTION IN CARBON EMISSIONS: Fuel economy and carbon emissions are directly linked to each other. Reduce fuel consumption, and you will reduce carbon emissions. In the US, for example, commercial aviation accounts for two percent of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Air Transport Association.
Does this fascinate you? if so, maybe you are ready for that first step in an exciting lifelong career as an airline pilot. Let Phoenix East help you learn more about training to be a professional pilot. See www.pea.com for more information.