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Displaying 1 - 15 of 16 news clips related to this topic.

The New York Times

Prof. Steven Barrett speaks with New York Times reporter Paige McClanahan about the pressing need to make air travel more sustainable and his research exploring the impact of contrails on the planet’s temperature. “Eliminating contrails is quite a big lever on mitigating the climate impact of aviation,” said Barrett.

NBC Boston

MIT and Delta airlines are developing a plan to eliminate persistent contrails, reports Susan Tran for NBC Boston 10.A possible solution here is to get rid of these clouds flying at different altitudes,” says Tran. “They [researchers] say that up to 90 percent of all contrails could be avoided by flying at different heights.”


Researchers at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Delta Air Lines are working together to find new ways to eliminate persistent contrails, the white clouds that trail behind airplanes, using an algorithm that predicts altitudes and locations where contrails are likely to form, reports Omose Ighodaro for Bloomberg. “The joint research group has already completed more than 40 testing flights and has plans for live experiment flights and simulations,” writes Ighodaro.

Financial Times

Research affiliate Ashley Nunes writes for the Financial Times about the FAA certifying the Boeing 737 MAX, and the tradeoffs posed by increased automation. “For all their benefits, robots remain — much like humans — imperfect,” writes Nunes.

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Rob Verger writes that MIT and NASA researchers have developed a new design for a plane wing that can change shape mid-flight. As the plane wing is assembled from hundreds of different parts, it could be programmed in a specific way to control the “response that it has to an aerodynamic load,” explains graduate student Benjamin Jenett.


MIT and NASA researchers have designed an airplane wing assembled from hundreds of identical parts that could add greater flexibility to the manufacturing process, reports Aristos Georgiou for Newsweek. “We hope that our approach improves performance, and thus saves resources, for a variety of future transport modes,” explains graduate student Benjamin Jenett.

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Eric Limer spotlights how MIT and NASA researchers have developed a new shape-shifting airplane wing. Limer explains that the new wing, “made up of hundreds of identical pieces, is the foundation for aircraft with flexible wings that transform dynamically in flight to create the optimal shape for their moment-to-moment flight conditions.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Melissa Locker writes that researchers from MIT and NASA have developed a new kind of airplane wing made up of hundreds of tiny identical pieces that can change shape mid-flight. Locker explains that the new design “means the wing could transform to be optimal for each step, making flying much more efficient.”

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.

The Washington Post

Writing for The Washington Post, research affiliate Ashley Nunes examines the impact of countries around the world banning the Boeing 737 Max 8 from operating in their airspace. “If airlines start to believe that there is something inherently wrong with Boeing’s prized offering — or, even worse, if consumers start to identify the new 737 models as unsafe — it will have serious ramifications for Boeing,” writes Nunes.

A study led by Prof. John Hansman suggests that slower planes would significantly reduce noise on the ground. “It turns out engines aren’t the major culprit anymore,” writes Scott McCartney for The Wall Street Journal. “It’s the “whoosh” that big airplanes make racing through the air.” 

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Robert Lee Hotz writes that MIT engineers have developed a flexible airplane wing that could improve a plane’s fuel consumption by improving the wing’s aerodynamics. Hotz explains that the wing’s “elastic airfoil can morph continuously to reduce drag, increase stall angle, and reduce vibration control flutter.”

According to a new MIT study, airlines could handle flight delays more equitably by distributing them among themselves, reports Lloyd Mallison for The new system “would mean that two hypothetical planes could both have a 15-minute delay rather than one having no delay, and one having a 30-minute wait,” Mallison explains. 


Rob Britton writes for The Huffington Post about a new paper by Professor Bill Swelbar on the high subsidies provided to several Gulf airlines by their governments: Swelbar argues that “massive subsidies provided to Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways, are harming airline service to and from small and medium-sized communities.”

Boston Globe

Professor John Hansman reflects on the two Malaysian airliners lost in 2014 in this Boston Globe article. “It appears that in 2014 more people perished from terrorist acts in commercial aviation than all other aviation accident causes combined,” writes Hansman.