After the oil crisis of 1973, scientists began searching for ways to increase the efficiency of air travel and reduce the costs and the impact on the environment. This is a problem that Richard Whitcomb, a Langley researcher, and a decorated NASA engineer, has been tackling ever since.
Back in 1974, Whitcomb focused on an old idea for gaining energy efficiency by bending up the wingtips of an airplane. The models and wind tunnel tests he did back then showed that “winglets” could reduce the fuel use by up to 9%, and the actual trials of a Boeing 707 confirmed the results.
Winglets Help Save the Environment by Lowering the Use of Fuel
Whitcomb’s winglets are among the technologies that US airlines have used to boost their fuel efficiency by 130%. To get further gains, planes are designed with lighter materials, more aerodynamic airframes, and better engines. Old planes have also been upgraded and retrofitted with more efficient engines.
Although improvements in the practices of air traffic control have already helped reduce emissions as well, many companies believe that more can be done in that regard. Certainly, the Federal Aviation Administration’s major air traffic control project called NextGen takes that seriously and aims to implement even more measures, including reducing air & tarmac traffic jams and using GPS-based routes.
Airplanes Can Use Bio-Fuels for Better Efficiency
Adopting sustainable fuels has been a talking point for the aviation industry for some time. Such fuels can be made of sources such as plant oil, algae, food waste, and landfill emitted gas. The use of such biofuels can reduce the emission of greenhouse gases but these fuels will have to be cheaper, available at scale, and generated in a sustainable way.
Even though there have been some true improvements to the efficiency of airplanes, the problem still remains and is even getting bigger with each passing day. While people fly too much, the quest to save the environment becomes more difficult for every party involved.
For those who have travel on their minds, you are not alone. With vaccine drives worldwide and news of countries opening up their borders for vaccinated travelers, summer vacation is not a distant dream. However, the process might still be quite complicated. The global situation has warranted many regulations, and traveling solo might not be the best idea. Finding a suitable travel agent today is no different from looking for your soulmate on dating apps. Nevertheless, we bring you three commandments to guide you in your search.
Look around you
Before rummaging through the internet, pick up the phone and ask your friends and family if they know someone. Getting a recommendation in person is still more trusted today. If that fails, it is time you search for local businesses. Not only is supporting small businesses essential but also easier since you know where to look.
Pick your destination
Are you searching for a different approach? You could also look for a travel advisor based on where you are planning to visit. It is wiser to book your trip with someone who knows the destination well. According to the international travel agency network Virtuoso, “Choosing someone who specializes in a destination is a good first foray into working with a travel adviser. But when you work with the same adviser for a while, they become a specialist in you.”
Find out their professional network
Only a resourceful travel agent can help you travel hassle-free. Make sure they are part of some consortium or larger network. Erica Richter of the American Society of Travel Advisors says, “Ask them what sorts of benefits they get from their professional networks. Upgrades, free breakfasts, late checkouts when available — who doesn’t want some of those freebies? Getting an insight into their professional relations will help you understand who to pick.