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Bug Repellant Airplane Coatings Tested

By Russ Niles

Bug smasher pilots everywhere have hope that NASA may be flying to the rescue to save them from the summer chore of cleaning shattered insect bodies from the leading-edge surfaces of their aircraft. NASA, along with Boeing, will be testing five non-stick coatings that are the finalists in a years-long effort to foil the sticky mess that builds up on every surface exposed to the slipstream. The five coatings have already shown their ability to repel bug guts and the water in them, according to a news release, but the winner will also be inexpensive and durable.

Of course, the project was not created to benefit weekend warriors. The protein slurry that accretes on airliners and military aircraft when they're on their way to and from their natural high-altitude habitats has a major impact on aerodynamic and fuel efficiency. "Solutions to reduce fuel use by one or two percent may not sound like much," said Fay Collier, manager for the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate's Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project. "But shaving aircraft fuel consumption even a few percentage points can save millions of dollars and help protect the environment from harmful emissions."

I wonder if the guy at NASA spearheading that project owns a corvette??? :lol

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I dunno, but on our trip to Safford last weekend, there sure was an awful lot of bug smashing.... :ack:

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Rejex was developed years ago for nearly the same reason, but for the leading edge of helicopter blades. Maybe they're looking for something better now.

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