This plane produces thrust through an electric fieldSteven Barrett, MIT By Douglas HeavenIT ONLY flew for 12 seconds – the same as the Wright brothers achieved with their maiden flight – but it marks another aeronautical milestone. After nine years’ work, Steven Barrett at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his colleagues have flown a…


diagram of plane

This plane produces thrust through an electric field

Steven Barrett, MIT

IT ONLY flew for 12 seconds – the same as the Wright brothers achieved with their maiden flight – but it marks another aeronautical milestone.

After nine years’ work, Steven Barrett at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his colleagues have flown a first-of-its-kind zero-emissions plane with no moving parts. The small, unpiloted plane flew for 55 metres in an indoor sports hall, steered by remote control.

Instead of propellers or jet engines, the plane uses electrodes on its wings to produce ions that push against the surrounding …

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