Scientists have proposed an unusual method for cutting aircraft fuel consumption – they want to fly jumbo jets in formation like geese.
The prospect of flotillas of airliners soaring across the sky in V-shaped flocks, like migrating birds, is startling. Nevertheless, research by aviation experts has shown that it could lead to major reductions in aircraft fuel consumption.
The work follows research carried out almost 100 years ago by a German researcher, Carl Wieselsberger. In 1914, he published a paper in which he calculated that birds flying in V-formations use less energy to flap their wings than those on solo flights. Birds in flocks can therefore fly for longer periods than those travelling on their own.