Many years ago I read in an expository scientific journal[1] an article about what the future of high speed aviation could be. It said that there were studies on airplanes capable of "plasma-izing" the air in front of them to get better lift and better aerodynamics.

Did they dream this up? Was there real research and, if so, did anything come out of it?

I've tried searching online, but the only things I've found are a bit too technical for me. From what I've been able to understand they are about using plasma generation in place of the control surfaces thus reducing vortices on wings.

[1] (one of those publications aimed at the divulgation of science to everyday people, not just for scientists)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I rejected the edit to the title because the suggested title was about planes replacing their control surfaces with plasma, that is exactly what this question is not about, as clearly explained in the question itself. $\endgroup$
    – motoDrizzt
    Jun 6, 2017 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ +1 For "divulgative." Didn't know that was even a word. Was going to change it to the more common "expository," but I liked it, so I left it :) $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Jun 6, 2017 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Would you possibly be able to find the article? You may be talking about Electrohydrodynamics in relation to Ionocraft which is a broad topic. A lot of aviation research was done in the 60's and 70's and there were many dead end research projects that never actually worked but info was published about their findings none the less. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Jun 6, 2017 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ Or are you talking about this? $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Jun 6, 2017 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ I have been long wondering this exact same thing. I saw some research that claimed electrifying/plasmifying the air on the leading edge of a wing resulted in insane increase in lift and reduction of drag. But that was years ago and I haven't heard anything since. $\endgroup$
    – BlackThorn
    Nov 28, 2017 at 20:56


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