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Popular Mechanics

A new study by MIT researchers finds that St. Elmo’s Fire could help protect airplanes from lightning strikes, reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. The researchers found that “the special kind of electrical charge can be used to place a protective and preemptive charge around airplanes in flight, and wind affects flying versus grounded vehicles in opposite ways.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter Elaine Glusac spotlights a study by Prof. Arnold Barnett that examines the safety of flying during the Covid-19 pandemic. Barnett found that “on a fully loaded flight, the chance of contracting Covid-19 was one in 4,300. If the middle seat is empty, the risk falls to one in 7,700.”

Newsweek

Prof. Arnold Barnett speaks with Newsweek reporter Alexandra Schonfeld about his new research estimating the risk of contracting Covid-19 on an airplane. "I tried to take into account several things, including the fact that air travel travelers—as a group—might be less likely to be carriers of COVID than randomly chosen citizens," says Barnett.

Fortune- CNN

A working paper from Prof. Arnold Barnett shows that keeping the middle seat open on an airplane significantly lowers the spread of Covid-19. “Such a policy lowers the risk of contracting COVID from 1 in 4,400 to 1 in 7,300,” writes Jeff John Roberts for Fortune.

Forbes

A new study by MIT researchers estimates that leaving the middle seat on airplanes empty could help reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 by half, reports Carlie Porterfield for Forbes. “The airlines are setting their own policies but the airlines and the public should know about the risk implications of their choices," says Prof. Arnold Barnett.

Financial Times

In a guest post for the Financial Times, DUSP research affiliate Ashley Nunes argues that airline customers should be willing to pay more for safety in the wake of the recent aviation disasters.

Forbes

Prof. Steven Barrett speaks with Forbes reporter Jeremy Bogaisky about the new plane he developed that is propelled by an ion drive, noting that he is working to embed a prolusion system within the skin of the aircraft. “There’s no reason to think long-term that airplane designs with electroaerodynamic propulsion need look at all like an airplane today,” explains Barrett.

Economist

The Economist highlights how MIT researchers have developed the first plane that is powered by an ion drive and has no moving parts. “The use of an ion drive means the MIT craft contains no moving propulsion parts in the form of propellers or jet engines,” The Economist explains. “It can fly silently and without direct emissions from burning fossil fuels.”

CNN

CNN reporter Helen Regan highlights a new solid-state plane developed by MIT researchers that has no moving parts and does not require fossil fuels. “The flight is a milestone in ‘ionic wind’ technology,” explains Regan, “and could pave the way for quieter and environmentally cleaner aircraft in the future.”

Nature

A Nature editorial highlights the historic breakthrough achieved by MIT researchers who developed the first plane that is propelled by ionic wind and has no moving parts. Nature writes that the plane is a “remarkable machine,” adding that “anyone who watches the machine fly can surely see glimpses of a future with cleaner and quieter aircraft.”

Reuters

Reuters reporter Will Dunham writes that a new plane without moving parts developed by MIT researchers is a “radical new approach toward flying.” The plane could one day lead to “ultra-efficient and nearly silent airplanes that have no moving control surfaces like rudders or elevators, no moving propulsion system like propellers or turbines, and no direct combustion emissions like you get with burning jet fuel,” explains Prof. Steven Barrett.

The Washington Post

MIT researchers have built a new electric plane that has no moving parts and is propelled by “ionic wind,” reports Joel Achenbach for The Washington Post. Franck Plouraboué of Toulouse University, explains that the new plane creates “an opening for future progress, in a field which is now going to burst.”

The Conversation

In an article for The Conversation, Prof. Steven Barrett details how he was inspired by science fiction movies to create an airplane that makes no noise, has no moving parts and does not require fossil fuels to operate. Barrett explains that he hopes the new technology “could be used in larger aircraft to reduce noise and even allow an aircraft’s exterior skin to help produce thrust.”

Associated Press

Inspired by “Star Trek,” Prof. Steven Barrett has developed a new silent airplane that does not require fossil fuels to operate and is powered by ionic wind thrusters, reports Malcom Ritter for the AP. Ritter explains that the technology that powers the plane could eventually be used “in airplane-like drones that perform tasks like environmental monitoring and surveillance.”

Popular Science

Writing for Popular Science, Rob Verger highlights how MIT researchers have built and flown “a radically different type of plane that is thrust through the air using just electricity and the movement of ions, a type of silent drive without moving parts out of science fiction.”