Here is a new surprising and impressive achievement: the first non-secret flight (10 seconds) of a solid state model airplane powered by an ion drive with no moving parts.
Researchers from MIT have flown a plane without moving parts for the first time. It is powered by an ‘ion drive’ which uses high powered electrodes to ionise and accelerate air particles, creating an ‘ionic wind’. This wind drove a 5m wide craft across a sports hall. Unlike the ion drives which have powered space craft for decades, this new drive uses air as the accelerant. The researchers say it could power silent drones. Read the original research paper: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-07… Read Nature’s Editorial which also raises possible concerns about how a silent drone might be used…
There are a lot of comments on YouTube for this video about it not being fully independent (it needs a launch catapult to fly) but it’s a great invention and it’s fun to watch it work.