Image: Contrails carry clues to more eco-friendly flights

Mar 12, 2013
Credit: NASA/Eddie Winstead

Puffy white exhaust contrails stream from the engines of NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory in this image taken from an HU-25 Falcon flying about 300 feet behind.

NASA researchers have begun a series of flights using the agency's DC-8 to study the effects of alternate on engine performance, emissions and aircraft-generated contrails at altitude.

The DC-8 is using conventional JP-8 jet fuel, or a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and an alternative fuel of hydroprocessed esters and that comes from plants.

More than a dozen instruments mounted on the Falcon jet are characterizing the soot and gases streaming from the DC-8, monitoring the way exhaust plumes change in composition as they mix with air, and investigating the role emissions play in contrail formation.

Explore further: Indonesia passes law to tap volcano power

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dan42day
1 / 5 (1) Mar 13, 2013
One of the few bright spots after 9/11 was the incredible blue skies when the airliners weren't flying. Living near a large city, the far off whine of a fan jet and a cross-hatch pattern of contrials in the sky is a constant.