A Qantas aerospace engineer has found a way to make small planes safer and more efficient by turning their wings into flying speakers that can beat out a tune.
Incredible as it seems, there is a basis for this result. It appears the music, pumped through "thin film-like panels linked to wires" covering the wing's upper surface, makes the panels vibrate 400 times per second, producing an audible buzz.
In wind-tunnel tests at the University of NSW, "singing wings" were able to "fly" at much steeper angles – up to 22 degrees above the horizontal, compared with the normal maximum of about 17 degrees.
"It gives you more of a safety margin, and more time for the pilot to react in an emergency, such as an engine failure on take-off or a sudden wind gust," Mr Salmon said.
"All we can say is that Spiderbait performs better than Radiohead," said Mr Salmon.