Airplane traveling has (no pun intended) its ups and its downs.
There are efforts to address some of those downs, like the emissions from all the fuel that gets burned flying from place to place.
Though, actually, a lot of the fuel doesn’t get burned in the air.
Taxiing accounts for about 5 percent of fuel consumption.
So one way to make flying greener is making taxiing greener, like through an all-electric towing system.
As Fast Company reported recently, this is called the Aircraft Towing System, and this name tells the whole story.
When a plane lands, the pilot maneuvers the front wheel of the craft into a special towing dolly.
The plane engines go off, and the all-electric dolly does the rest of the work bringing the airplane to the gate.
When it’s time for takeoff, the dolly brings the plane back to the runway and then it takes off like usual.
There’s also a concept for an expanded system which turns the dolly into a kind of monorail, traveling along set channels.
There’s a prototype of the Aircraft Towing System being installed at an airport in Oklahoma, and there are other systems under development that do similar work.
As usual, cost is a big challenge here, though it’s not just the price tag, it’s who pays for it.
As the Fast Company piece noted, it’s up to airports to improve the infrastructure, but this is infrastructure that would save money for airlines.
But proponents think it’ll be good for everybody.
According to a report from 2019, making taxiing more efficient could cut airplane emissions by ten percent, and save hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel costs at the same time.
If you’re in the market for a new couch, here’s one by Sara Hayat that might fit your needs.
The Tetris Couch is made of removable modular pieces shaped like Tertrominoes.
You can build them and rebuild them in any shapes you like as often as you like.
Then again, if you’re playing Tetris with your couch you don’t get to sit on the couch.
The Tetris Couch by Sarah Hayat (Cool Material)
Photo by Caribb via Flickr/Creative Commons