Just when you thought it was safe to back in the air… cue Jaws theme song…
Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that Airbus and the German airline Lufthansa are looking at the possibility of covering their jets with shark skin for better fuel mileage. Ok, it's not actual shark skin.
Rather it's a synthetic replica of the apex predator's epidermis. Unlike current jet surfaces, shark skin - both real and synthetic - isn't smooth at all. It's "jagged scales covered with longitudinal ridges."
This allows sharks to slice through the water with very little friction as the ridges actually channel and speed water over the surface area. Shark skin design has been used on boat hulls and swimwear for quite some time. Airbus and Lufthansa are betting that what works in the water will work in the air.