NEWS

Watch: Plane with no moving parts takes first flight

Scientists demonstrate silent 'ion drive' powered by charged air.

Search for this author in:

Researchers from MIT have flown a plane powered by an ‘ion drive’ for the first time. The drive uses high powered electrodes to ionise and accelerate air particles, creating an ‘ionic wind’. This wind drove a 5m wide craft across a sports hall. Unlike the ion drives which have powered space craft for decades, this new drive uses air as its accelerant. The researchers say it could power silent drones.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-07485-9
Nature Briefing

Sign up for the daily Nature Briefing email newsletter

Stay up to date with what matters in science and why, handpicked from Nature and other publications worldwide.

Sign Up