Aircraft, Airport, Aircraft Specification

The Future of Aviation

The Future of Aviation

The first powered aircraft

The first powered aircraft that gave pilots adequate control while in the air was built by the Wright brothers. The aircraft called the Kitty Hawk took its maiden flight on December 17, 1903, in North Carolina, USA. And since the birth of the Kitty Hawk, the aviation industry has grown at an unprecedented rate and the world was forced to work vigorously to find new technologies to build better aircraft in order to meet global demand. And one of the companies that keep taking the aviation industry into new levels is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

First flight of the Wright Brothers with the Kitty Hawk

NASA Engineering

The NASA engineering research team is endlessly working on implementing advanced technology to design and build better aircraft that will benefit all humankind. One of their main objectives is to design aircraft that will be safer, quieter, environmentally-friendly and more fuel efficient. NASA is currently at the forefront of aircraft technology and is reaching unimaginable goals. Here are the three top projects that NASA an associate will introduce to the world between the year 2025 and 2035.

The Supersonic Green Machine

Designed by Lockheed Martin, this revolutionary Supersonic aircraft concept was submitted by Lockheed Martin to NASA in April 2010 and is expected to hit the market between 2030 and 2035. One of the key features to avoid smashing windows on the ground when taking off is the inverted-V engine under wing configuration to dramatically lower the level of sonic booms when reaching the speed of sound. This green machine will be equipped with variable cycle engines that will switch to traditional turbofans during take-off and landing to be more fuel efficient and to protect the environment. The green machine will also have Combustors to help to reduce the amount of nitrous oxide emission by 75%. The Green Machine will be able to reach speeds of 1,218 mph (1,960 Km/h) and would take 8 to 9 hours from the UK to Australia.

The Sugar Volt Hybrid aircraft

The Sugar Volt is an energy efficient model with a Hybrid propulsion system concept combining alternative sources of energy. The aircraft will be built with long wings to increase the lift, and decrease the distance of the runway when taking off and reduce the drag when landing, enabling it to land on shorter runways. The wings are designed to fold in order to accommodate airport gate space. This aircraft is built to use jet fuel, as well as battery packs. The aircraft will be powered by two hybrid turbofans using jet fuel during take-off and landing and then switch to the electric mode after reaching a cruising altitude. SUGAR stands for Subsonic ultra green aircraft research, and the word volt stands electricity. Boeing aims to introduce the Sugar Volt for the use of commercial flights by 2035.

EADS algae/electric hybrid concept airliner plans unveiled at Paris Air Show

The Box Wing Jet

The boxed wing configuration uses two sets of wings; one forward pair configured normally, and a second set positioned at the tail forming a complete ‘loop’ of lifting surfaces giving the aircraft additional wing lift and steeper descents. This new concept is currently being developed by Lockheed Martin research team using the lightweight material used in the F-22 and F-35 Jet fighters to help to reduce noise by 35% shorten approach by 50% and cut fuel consumption by 50% without abandoning the current shape of a conventional aircraft. This aircraft will run on two ultra-high bypass turbofan engines, allowing the aircraft to fly at subsonic speed thus improving its efficiency by 22%.

Illustration of Prandtl Plane configuration applied to large commercial aircraft (University of Pisa, Italy)

Who will benefit

Let’s all hope that the reduction of flying time and fuel prices on these futuristic aircraft will reflect on our travel fares. And if that is not the case, let’s all enjoy the new technology while looking at the bright side of life hoping that our future children will benefit from our hard earned paid travel dollars. Or will they also be entrapped in the same vicious circle by paying for advanced technology following the same cycle. I guess the only way to travel cheap would be to master the art of astral travelling. Will it ever be possible?

Aircraft of the Future
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