CHECK OUT TINY ROBOTS THAT WILL INSPECT AND FIX JETS

New jet engines are designed to run hot because that results in a more efficient combustion, which lowers fuel consumption and cuts emissions. Hot engines, though, need nurturing. Nowadays the three big aircraft-engine makers, General Electric (GE), Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, usually include servicing as part of their sales, and many jet engines are leased on a “power-by-the-hour” contract. This means regular check-ups and maintenance are in the interests of airlines and producers alike. The difficult bit is inspecting an engine without dismantling it. That requires taking the aircraft to which the engine is attached out of service. And, with a power-by-the-hour contract, when a plane disappears into the workshop, it is not just the airline that loses money, but the engine maker, too. The hunt is therefore on for faster and more efficient ways to keep engines in tip-top condition.

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