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How Refuelling Planes Mid-Air Could Help the World

 
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megatop747
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Joined: 10 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:56 pm    Post subject: How Refuelling Planes Mid-Air Could Help the World Reply with quote

GENEVA: A system for re-fuelling passenger planes mid-air could slash the amount of kerosene needed for a long haul flight by nearly a quarter, researchers said today.

Kerosene reserves make up about a third of the weight on long distance passenger flights at take-off so reducing them and refuelling mid-air could mean huge savings, said the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), which participated in the study.

"The results of our collaborative research indicate a fuel burn reduction potential on isolated aircraft level between 11 and 23 per cent for a typical 6,000 nautical miles flight with a payload of 250 passengers," the researchers said.

The scientists, associated with nine different European research institutes, have for the past three years been studying the feasibility of civil air-to-air refuelling operations similar to those used for military aircraft.

The study said passenger flights could take off with less fuel and retank once they reach an altitude of 10,000 metres.

Refuelling planes would carry enough fuel to serve between three and five passenger aircraft at specific spots, like petrol stations in the sky, near the main airways and far from inhabited areas.

This would also reduce noise pollution near airports since planes make more noise the heavier they are at take-off, said Leonardo Mafriani, who heads the project for ZHAW.

The system would also allow for non-stop flights between destinations as far apart as Zurich and Sydney.

The researchers said they had used simulators to determine that the project is technically possible.

The RECREATE project also includes a second, and far more radical proposal: creating a sort of air-metro system, with giant aircraft circling the globe, and smaller "feeder aircraft" unloading passengers, luggage and waste midair and transporting them to destinations along the way.

The researchers acknowledge though that for the second part of the project, "neither airworthiness nor acceptance of the idea by the general public is within sight."

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/how-refuelling-planes-mid-air-could-help-the-world-750779?utm_source=ndtv&utm_medium=top-stories-widget&utm_campaign=story-4-http%3a%2f%2fwww.ndtv.com%2fworld-news%2fhow-refuelling-planes-mid-air-could-help-the-world-750779
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The_Goat
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Joined: 03 Mar 2007
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Location: South of France

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It won't work, IMHO. Here are my reasons.

1. Given the number of departures at major airports, a fairly large number of refueling planes will need to be deployed near them. This will increase the numbers of takeoffs, landings and amount of low level hovering traffic in the vicinity, something most ATCs won't want.

2.The refueling plane has to come fairly close to the airplane being refueled, which in turn will be loaded with passengers. This will lead to safety issues with separation standards which no civilian regulatory agency will allow.

3. The deployment of aircraft solely for refueling will dramatically increase costs. It will also lead to greater fuel consumption overall, as the refueling planes themselves need fuel, crew, maintenance etc.

4. Who will operate these refueling planes? The oil companies surely won't agree. They will not find it cost effective to maintain refueling planes, not in the least because they will need to acquire or lease a lot of expensive infrastructure in terms of planes, crew etc. Most airlines won't want to acquire infrastructure exclusively for refueling either.

5. Mid air refueling operations carried out by the Air Forces of the World are known to be notoriously expensive and are resorted to only for special operations.

6. Mid Air refueling is something that only combat aircraft with less range need to enhance their operational radius. Modern, long range transport airplanes are more than capable of carrying all the fuel they require for the routes they fly.

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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
Comments?
We are speechless, Sir. Amazing point-by-point analysis!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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The_Goat
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
The_Goat wrote:
Comments?
We are speechless, Sir. Amazing point-by-point analysis!
Cheers, Sumantra.


Thank you, Sir.

Besides, mid air refueling can be extremely dangerous when two large aircraft are involved, as this video shows


https://youtu.be/dGQDA6MKvkM
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I don't know which is the more pampered bunch : AI's widebodies (the aunties) or Jet's widebodies (the planes).
-Jasepl
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
Besides, mid air refueling can be extremely dangerous when two large aircraft are involved, as this video shows
This was REALLY scary! And to think that the KC-35 and KC-10 tankers regularly refuelled the huge B-52 Stratofortresses...this needs skill, and quite a bit of luck, I guess!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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