I understand that there’s a certain desert-dwelling beetle that can collect water from the atmosphere on foggy days just by opening its wings. Which brings me to the subject of airline toilets. Northwest, like all airlines, are getting obsessive about shedding excess weight, especially water, from their planes. Every 25 pounds they remove, saves $440,000 a year, due to the cost of fuel, they say.
Today’s invention is a system to collect water vapour as it impacts and condenses on the leading edges of airliner wings. Arrays of pores in these edges, backed by absorptive foam, would allow water to be caught and pumped away into the fuselage without increasing the drag (and fuel bills). This water would only be captured and used on-demand by the aircraft lavatories, greatly reducing the total amount of liquid carried on board.
This would also lessen any additional global warming associated with jets dumping water carried up in their tanks. It might also have the effect of warming the wings slightly, reducing the tendency for them to ice-up.