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Posted: August 27, 2013

Tiny bugs slow down huge planes


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You hear of bird strikes by airplanes once in a while, but you never hear about bug strikes.  That's right, bug strikes.  The tiny little insects that splat across your windshield also splatter across an airplane during takeoff. 

The little buggers cause more of a problem on airplanes than just a messy window.  They actually can slow down a jet.  Any imperfections, a rivet or a scratch for example can throw the lift to drag ratio that aerospace engineers try to perfect off, even the smear of bugs on the wings can cause drag and slow down the plane, ever-so-slightly.  

German researchers are now coming up with any idea they can to prevent insects from sticking.

First they flew an airplane over and over again to see just where they were sticking to the fuselage.  They then sent that information into computers to run simulations.  They came up with new wing flaps that swat the bugs out of the way and actually helps increase lift and help raise fuel efficiency overall.  Tests are still being conducted.  No word on when flyers will start seeing the new flaps and fewer bugs.  


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