Ask an Explainer
If you were to ionize the air around a plane would it fly better?
The answer is no. First, let us ask what is ionized air? When you superheat air you form what is known as a plasma or ionized gas. Plasma is the fourth state of matter behind, gases, liquids, and solids. In ionized air or plasma, the superheated matter is so hot that electrons are ripped away from the atoms. Now let us surround our aircraft in this superheated ionized air. If we use a reentering Space Shuttle surrounded by plasma as an example, the astronauts tell us that there was very little stability until the Shuttle slowed down to below Mach 3, and the wings cooled down.