Charting The Future

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NRC Report Criticizes Lagging Aviation Technology...

Airplanes may be engineering marvels and things of beauty to those who fly them -- but to some folks, they're noisy, they pollute the air, and even fewer want an airport in their backyard. Those are the harsh facts that the aviation industry had better face in the next few decades if it wants to survive, according to a report by the National Research Council (NRC) that was released last Tuesday. The report, sponsored by NASA and the FAA, said the demand for air travel is still expected to grow; in fact, the report projects it will double over the next 10 to 35 years. At the same time, the rate of technological change in aeronautics lags as it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve substantial technical advances to reduce noise and emissions.