Why Planes Don’t Fly Any Faster Than They Did in the 1960s

iStock
iStock

The airplane experience has changed a lot since the 1960s, when tickets could cost up to five times more than today's prices, passengers could smoke on the plane and have as much booze as they could drink. Now, we have budget fares, tiny seats, and baggage fees. But one aspect of air travel hasn’t changed much over the last few decades: how fast the plane goes. We’re still flying at the same speeds we did back before man had made it to the moon.

Despite upgrades in aviation technology, airplanes fly around the same speeds as they did 50 years ago, according to the explainers Wendover Productions (who have previously covered how budget airlines keep prices low). Flights are scheduled to take longer, though, thanks to the congestion of planes getting in and out of airports, meaning that we actually spend more time flying the same routes. Like most terrible things about flying, the lack of speed has to do with the airlines' bottom lines.

One reason is that the speeds we were flying in the ‘60s are still the most efficient for the engines we use. Commercial aircraft are typically powered by turbofan engines, which are most efficient at speeds of 400 to 620 miles per hour. Military aircraft can go much faster with turbojet enginesmore than 1500 miles per hour in some cases—but that takes an incredible amount of fuel.

The Concorde aircraft could reach speeds of 1300 miles per hour at cruise altitude, but it used 46.85 pounds of fuel for every mile flown and could seat only 100 passengers. Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner, which has a cruise speed of 648 miles per hour, uses only 18.7 pounds of fuel per mile and can seat 291 passengers. The speed just wasn’t worth it for airlines, and the Concorde was retired in 2003.

Dive into the world of airplane engines in the video below:

The UK Wants to Use 'Noise Cameras' to Crack Down on Loud Cars and Bikes

iStock/Ales-A
iStock/Ales-A

Snarled traffic creates more than air pollution. Thanks to modified engines, mufflers, and exhaust systems on cars and motorcycles, congested roadways can become symphonies of belching and rattling. Now, the UK government is looking to do something about it.

According to the BBC, the Department for Transport is currently testing “acoustic cameras” that will measure the decibel levels of vehicles on public roads. If a microphone detects a vehicle producing an excessive amount of noise, a camera will photograph the source and the owner will be fined.

What defines excessive? That remains to be seen. The UK enacted a law in 2016 limiting new cars to no more than 74 decibels. It's primarily older cars and modified motorbikes that create noise disturbances and prompt complaints from people living nearby.

The trial equipment will also need to prove it can identify one vehicle's noise emissions from another's and single out cars from other possible sources of sound. If the trial results are promising, it's likely the "acoustic cameras" will be policing UK roads in the near future.

[h/t Jalopnik]

This Scented Smart Candle is Fire-Safe and Alexa-Friendly

LuDela
LuDela

Candlelight can do a lot for a room, setting a mood and signaling that it’s time to relax. But not everyone is comfortable with the idea of nursing a tiny flame and melting wax indoors. Technology has provided a solution in the form of the LuDela Perfect Pillar, a smart candle and decorative accent that takes the worry out of a flame-lit atmosphere.

The battery-powered artificial candle generates its flame with refillable liquid paraffin and offers a variety of different scents in the form of SunScent fragrance rings, which you can place on top of the candle to release the scent of your choice. The candle never dims or melts, and you can swap out its fragrance ring at any time to give your home a new scent.

The LuDela Perfect Pillar smart candle starter set
LuDela

The LuDela candle's smart features make it a safer choice than your typical accent candle, especially for homes with small kids or pets. For instance, it has a sensor inside that detects when the device is tilting; if it falls over, the flame is automatically extinguished. You can also turn the candle on and off or create a timed session using the included remote control or your Amazon Alexa. The remote control comes with a child-lock option to prevent little hands from turning the candle on without adult supervision.

You can find the LuDela Perfect Pillar on Amazon, where a starter set with a wax candle fixture, two liquid paraffin refills (which burn for approximately 20 hours each), two fragrance rings, and a remote control goes for $99. Subsequent refill capsules cost $10 per two-pack.

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