Electric Aircraft: The New Standard in the Aviation Industry?
A decade ago, hybrid cars were becoming increasingly popular, with plans for a fully-electric vehicle in the works. Now, the electric car is being eclipsed by a new innovation: electric flight. While this emerging technology has a long way to go before becoming mainstream, it has the potential to offer numerous advantages over current aircraft. If you’re interested in becoming an aviation maintenance technician, here’s what is on the horizon for the industry.
What Is an Electric Aircraft?
As its name suggests, an electric aircraft is powered by electric motors. The power can come from several sources: solar cells, fuel cells, ground power cables, ultracapacitors, power beaming, and of course, the method we are probably most familiar with: batteries. Electric aircraft actually made their debut at least as early as the 1970s. Today, they’re most frequently found in the form of unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones. NASA is currently undertaking a project to make the electric craft more lightweight and efficient. As technology evolves, hybrid and fully-electric planes should be able to power increasingly large engines.
How Do Electric Aircraft Change the Industry?
Although, for the most part, electric flight is still in the experimental stage, it holds promise because of its capacity to reduce emissions. It’s likely to offer other benefits, too. Aircraft that can operate with little or no fuel generate less noise. Since electrically-powered engines are more efficient than the combustion variety, aircraft equipped with them can fly at higher altitudes and require less energy, which will likely translate to lower ticket prices for passengers. At its current pace of development, though, hybrid technology probably won’t be available for commercial flight until 2030.
What Does the Electric Aircraft Mean for Aviation Schools?
As electric aircraft become more commonplace, the skills of an aviation technician will have to include familiarity with hybrid aircraft mechanics. An aviation school can provide the necessary training. An airplane mechanic school can even equip students with the skills to assist in improving upon existing technologies.
Electric aircraft will no doubt usher in a new era for the aviation Industry. Attending an aviation mechanics school will give you a solid background in troubleshooting, installing, and repairing aviation electronics and other aircraft components. Studying to become an aviation technician will put you on track to learn about the latest innovations in a growing field.