Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said they have successfully flown the first “solid state” airplane that has no moving parts and does not rely on fossil fuels to fly.
The flight is a milestone in “Ionic Wind” technology and could pave the way for quieter and environmentally cleaner aircraft in the future, engineers said when they published their findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
“This is the first-ever sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system,” said Steven Barrett, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, according to the research center’s news office. “This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions.”
Nearly 115 years ago, the Wright brothers made history by launching the first man-made flight — a feat that ushered in human domination of the skies.
Ever since that first flight, most aircraft have relied on moving parts such as propellers or turbines to power them through the air.