Manufacturers are hanging ever-larger engines under the wings of their airliners in the quest for higher bypass ratio and lower fuel burn, and bigger fans lie ahead. Will there come a time in the pursuit of ever-higher efficiency when the trend must reverse? NASA thinks so, and is pursuing research into distributed propulsion, where many smaller fans are integrated into the airframe so as to not only provide thrust, but to reduce drag and potentially augment lift for short takeoff and ...


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