Technologies to Improve Aircraft Fuel Efficiency

Aircraft fuel efficiency is a measurement describing an aircraft’s ability to travel on one gallon of fuel, and it is a facet that many engineers constantly seek to improve. There are many benefits to realizing more fuel efficient planes, including combating climate change and advancing the cost-efficiency of flight. As aviation sectors continue to see growth, engineers and manufacturers seek ways to improve aircraft fuel consumption, and their efforts have led them to the development of various technologies, materials, and designs to cut down on CO2 production and realize the most fuel efficient aircraft.

Winglets are a solution that may act as an additional lifting surface for aircraft, placed at the tip of aircraft wings. Winglets are designed to combat the negative effects of vortices, reducing induced drag and the intensity of wake vortices. More importantly, winglets may produce a force that is angled inward and forward, much like that of a sailboat. With this capability, a winglet may convert wasted energy into thrust, improving aerodynamic efficiency. With winglets installed on aircraft wings, general performance may be improved as much as 10% to 15%, and reducing drag may lead to a 6% emission cut. As such, winglets prove to be an important design choice to improve aircraft fuel efficiency.

The flexible navigation system, otherwise known as a responsive weather navigation system, is a device that aims to improve fuel efficiency through providing more efficient flight routes. Although flight plans are made with expected weather in mind, patterns may change throughout the flight and lead to an encounter with bad weather. With a flexible navigation system, aircraft may avoid nonoptimal weather conditions in real time, adjusting their flight direction to more efficient routings. Through studies, it has been found that around 1.4 tons of CO2 is reduced through the use of such aircraft systems.

As aircraft manufacturers and developers continue to experiment with composite materials and carbon fiber construction, many have found that aircraft weight can be reduced while construction efficiency is improved. Reducing the weight of an aircraft is critical, as it allows for less fuel and power to be expended while achieving the same amount of propulsive power for flight. Shape memory alloys (SMA) are also useful, and they are being researched and developed as a method of constructing vibration dampers for commercial jet engines.

Beyond devices and construction, advancing flight techniques also proves to be an avenue for aviation sectors to improve upon aircraft fuel consumption. Continuous Climb and Descent Operations (CCOs and CDOs) refer to a flexible flight path in which arriving or departing aircraft will ascend or descend continuously, rather than back and forth. With such a flight path, aircraft may reduce their emissions and fuel consumption while maintaining safety. To achieve such aircraft fuel efficiency, the aircraft would utilize optimal engine thrust and speeds to reach cruising levels, and thus may go to minimum engine thrust as they descend into their final approach. 

When it comes time to begin sourcing the aircraft parts and components that you need for your aircraft fuel efficiency operations, NSN Components has you covered with everything you are searching for. NSN Components is owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, and we can help you find the aviation, NSN, and electronic parts that you are searching for, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we're always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. ASAP Semiconductor is an FAA AC 00-56B accredited and ISO 9001:2015 certified enterprise. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-714-705-4780.


September 27, 2022

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