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Stealth technology could quiet passenger jets; ease airport noise pollution

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: air travel, noise pollution, health news

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(NewsTarget) A new type of quieter passenger jet has been designed using technology from the stealth bomber. The new jet -- which was designed by a team of 40 researchers from Cambridge and MIT -- was unveiled to a London audience Monday.

The new jet design would bring a welcome change to the world of aviation according to industry experts. "Noise really is one of the major barriers to airport expansion and the expansion of flights … it gets a lot of complaints," said Edward Greitzer -- an MIT professor who helped run the project.

Although noise reduction in existing plane designs has taken a larger focus in recent years from manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus, planes are still loud from miles away. "People are still willing to pay more for the convenience of a closer-in airport," stated Richard Aboulafia -- vice president of an aerospace consulting firm -- who then added that "There is an economic value to being able to keep your air transport close in town, which means you've got to be quiet."

The Cambridge-MIT team's goal was to design a plane from the ground up with the main focus on noise reduction. The design the team cam up with looks more like a "flying wing" than a standard "tube and wing" design that resembles most modern-day jets. The proposed plane design has a 222-foot wingspan -- making it the size of a Boeing 767.

The "silent jet" is about as loud as a standard washing machine, but would carry 215 passengers and could actually be flying in the skies by the year 2030.

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