The silent flight of owls has long fascinated ornithologists. No other birds fly with such stealth. Now flight engineers are taking a look on the distinctive design of owl feathers in hopes of making airplane as quiet as possible.
Geoffrey Lilley, a professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Southampton in England, is a pioneer in the study of the owl’s silent flight and its possible applications in the aeronautics industry.
He has been working at the issue with the Quiet Airplane Technology project within the Automobile Systems Program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.