Latest News

Friday, 8th April 2016
In Japan Travel News,

Waterproof aircraft technology being developed in Japan

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is working on the development of technology to protect aeroplanes from severe weather conditions and volcanic activity.

It is hoped that the outcome of the project will be fewer flight changes and a safer air travel experience for everyone.

JAXA announced the scheme yesterday (April 7th), detailing how it would work and the various parties involved, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.

All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Fuji Heavy Industries, the University of Tokyo and the Japan Meteorological Agency are all part of the consortium.

There are many environmental factors that can have an impact on aircraft performance, such as volcanic ash entering engines and snow accumulating on the wings.

It is not surprising that Japan is at the forefront of creating technology to overcome these obstacles, as with 110 active volcanoes and regions that experience heavy snowfall annually, these problems occur regularly.

Two of the technological solutions being developed are engines that can withstand volcanic ash and aircraft bodies that are not only resistant to lightning strikes, but are also fitted with sensors to avoid them in the first place.

Fuji Heavy and Nihon Tokushu Toryo are working on a coating to prevent snow sticking to the body of the plane.

The consortium allows the airlines that are involved to pose topics that need work and then review the solutions the experts in the area come up with.

In terms of a timescale, the first resultant technologies are expected to be ready for testing in three to five years, when foreign aircraft companies will be called upon for more widespread trials.

According to Japan’s transport ministry, around 900 of the 850,000 domestic flights operated in the 2014 fiscal year had to be rerouted due to bad weather.

This not only disrupted travellers’ schedules, but also meant increased fuel costs for airlines – both things that could be avoided with new technological solutions.