> posted by   on January 7th 2013

Accelerated travel through Smarter Skies

My fascination for the aircraft industry is no secret. I love air travel but I keep wondering what makes flying possible. It is some kind of magic to experience how all fairy tales meet in a new aircraft’s concepts.

The Airbus engineers have no time to sit back and relax after their A380 achievement. They are continuously encouraged to think widely and come up with ‘disruptive’ ideas that will assist Airbus’s industry in meeting the 2050 targets. The teams of super-clever professionals are working on the toughest environmental challenges while trying to build the smartest and the most efficient aircrafts for our travelling comfort in the future.

Last September Airbus released the very interesting report Future by Airbus Smarter Skies, a continuation of last year’s publication The Future by Airbus. This time, the global aircraft manufacturer focuses its vision on sustainable aviation in 2050 and beyond. For the first time the vision looks beyond aircraft design to how the aircraft is operated both on the ground and in the air in order to meet the expected growth in air travel in a sustainable way.

The Smarter Skies vision consists of five concepts which could be implemented across all the stages of an aircraft’s operation to reduce waste in the system (waste in time, waste in fuel, reduction of CO2).

These are:

–          Aircraft take-off in continuous ‘eco-climb’

–          Aircraft in free flight and formation along ‘express skyways’

–          Low-noise, free-glide approaches and landings

–          Low emission ground operations

–          Powering future aircraft and infrastructure

The most amazing is  the ‘Aircraft take-off in continuous ‘eco-climb’ theme where the airplane is launched through assisted take-offs using renewably powered, propelled acceleration, allowing steeper climb from airports to minimise noise and reach efficient cruise altitudes quicker.  As space becomes a premium and mega-cities become a reality, this approach could also minimise land use, as shorter runways could be utilised. It means that the take-off of the future will be like launching a rocket into the sky.  I only hope that in 2050 my 80-year-old heart will survive such an accelerated journey.

Watch here the video series and many interviews about the Future by Airbus research.


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