Sunday, October 31, 2010

Future Planes

Those with a fear of flying look away now - aircraft manufacturer Airbus has revealed that passenger planes in 2050 could have a completely transparent fuselage.

The design would give passengers the sensation of floating in the sky and would allow them to look down on cities and landscapes below or gaze up at the heavens above.

Airbus engineers believe that a plane could be manufactured with a hi-tech ceramic skin, which the captain could send an electrical pulse through at the press of a button.

The cabin roof, walls and floor would then become see-through, giving passengers a 360-degree view of their surroundings.

Airbus' head of research and technology, Axel Krein, told German publication Der Spiegel: 'The planes of the future will offer an unparalleled, unobstructed view of the wonders of the five continents - where you will be able see the pyramids or the Eiffel Tower through the transparent floor of the aircraft'.

Scenic route: The 'invisible plane' will give passengers unobstructed views of famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower through its transparent floor

The plans were revealed in the company’s report entitled 'The Future, By Airbus' in which engineers at the European aerospace giant were asked to imagine what flights could be like in 2050.

It includes information about a 'Cryoplane', which would be fuelled by hydrogen, along with streamline engines that are embedded in the plane's fuselage rather than attached to its wings to reduce engine noise.

The streamline engines are shown in a computer-generated image of Airbus’ 'Concept Plane', which features a streamline design framed by curved wings that would reduce fuel consumption significantly.

Other ideas in the report include an aircraft skin that can repair itself in the event of cracks using microscopic nano-capsules containing a high-tech adhesive to seal the fissure.

The company claims nano-materials could also be used to enable seats to be 'self-cleaning'.

Krein told Der Spiegel: 'In the future each passenger will feel he or she is sitting on a brand new airplane about to take off on its maiden flight.
The report also suggests that 'morphing' seats will be able to adjust to the shape of the passenger for a snug fit and that holographic projections could be used in the cabin to create virtual decors.

'We told our engineers to give their imaginations free rein. What emerged were completely realistic visions of flight in the year 2050,' Krein said.

'Our people are grounded in reality, after all. The good news is that the technology that is needed to make this kind of thing work already exists, it’s just not used.'

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