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Vertical wiper blades reduce aircraft drag, tests show

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WASHINGTON, D.C. --
Aerodynamics testing on the KC-135 Stratotanker confirmed vertically mounted wiper blades reduce aircraft drag by approximately 1 percent during cruise conditions, potentially saving the Air Force $7 million annually in associated fuel costs.

Across the KC-135 fleet, blades are positioned horizontally on the windshield as part of the aircraft’s original 1950s design. However, as the understanding of aviation aerodynamics advanced, research indicated placing the wipers vertically (when not in use) could improve aerodynamic efficiency and optimize fuel use.

Commercial airliners first demonstrated the concept on the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, a jet airliner primarily used by the cargo industry, proving that retro-fitting the blades vertically could decrease costly drag by 1.2 percent.

More: https://www.fairchild.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2154133/vertical-wiper-blades-reduce-aircraft-drag-tests-show/

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