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NASA testing ways to save fuel in cruise flight


A specially equipped F/A-18 using a new computer program to control fuel flow is finding new ways to save fuel in flight. NASA’s research project found fuel savings of 3 percent to 5 percent during cruise flight by making slight adjustments in fuel flow to keep the plane’s engines running as efficiently as possible. Since most jets spend the bulk of their time in cruise flight, even small fuel savings can add up to significantly less fuel burned and money spent over time. Next summer, the NASA fighter will fly with a unique thin-film sensor spread across one wing. The sensor will record data on wing loading and lift generation across the entire airfoil, giving designers a wealth of new information that could eventually be used to design new wings. The data will for the first time measure actual flight loads across every part of the wing, letting engineers compare the data with the wing’s load limits.