How to save millions of dollars by simply moving your plane's windshield wipers

Flying strategic tanker KS-135 Stratotanker is an unconditional veteran of the US Air Force, put into service back in 1954. Suffice it to say that the “youngest” of them will turn 55 this year.

During this time, flying tankers have gone through many upgrades, but more recently, Air Force specialists have found an incredibly simple way to save fuel with this giant aircraft. To do this, you just need to slightly change the location ... of the wipers on his windshield.

Initially, when inoperative, they were in a horizontal position. Research conducted at Rickenbacker National Guard Air Force Base used CFD methods to simulate the nose of the KS-135 and the aerodynamic efficiency of horizontal and vertical wiper blades.

Just by moving the windshield wipers to a vertical position, the researchers managed to increase the efficiency of the aircraft at cruising speed by 0.8%, and after installing a new, thinner wiper, this indicator improved by another 0.2%.

At first glance, the numbers are more than modest, however, if we “multiply” them by 396 KS-135 units in service with the Air Force and the National Guard, which “consumed” 1.32 billion liters of fuel in 2018-2019, then with the help of new windshield wipers during this time could save $ 7 million. And if they were installed in 1965, when the last KS-135 was adopted, the savings would have amounted to 385 million dollars.