Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Air Energy

PostedAugust 10, 2008

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Randy Atkins:  The unmanned plane would take advantage of rising warm air to get lift.  Just like birds which…

James Hubbard:  …turn in the direction where they experience that lift and actually center themselves in the heat plume and then just float.  Minimum energy flying.

Randy Atkins:  James Hubbard, a University of Maryland aerospace engineer, says laser radar could find such updrafts.  The sky-surfing plane would maneuver using wings made with smart materials that feel the motion in waves of air.

James Hubbard:  You want something that stays up like satellites do and doesn’t really need to be attended to or require much maintenance.

Randy Atkins:  Uses range from surveillance to atmospheric monitoring.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103.5 FM, WTOP Radio.