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The Future of Flying is Batwing
Regine Debatty, 2 Nov 05

Airline passengers of the future will have to do without window seats and fly in “batwing” aircraft as a result of aviation industry proposals to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from flights.

The Greener by Design group believes that the new airliners will enter passenger service in 2025 and that, by 2055, they will make up a third of the world’s fleet.

The "flying wings" airliners will be based on designs produced by Sir Frederick Handley Page in 1961. His design was considered too expensive and risky in 1961. But his ideas have now been resurrected by companies such as Boeing and Airbus.

The fuselage would be turned into one wing to create less drag and engines would sit on top, with the wing shielding the noise from the ground. Passengers would sit in rows of up to 40 seats across. Wings would consume only a third of the fuel used by existing aircraft. They will be constructed of plastic, rather than aluminium, to reduce their weight. The outer surface would be covered in millions of tiny holes to reduce drag by sucking in air as it flows over the wing.

The impact on the world’s climate would be reduced even further by changes in the way that airlines operate. All airliners will alter their cruising altitude to avoid the conditions that form condensation trails. They could also reduce the amount of fuel they burn by flying in formation, as jet fighters do.

Via The Times. Picture: The Silent Aircraft.

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I wonder if it would be made using recycled plastic...

Posted by: sassy_red_head on 2 Nov 05

I wonder, once oil goes into inevitable decline, where they are going to get all those fossil carbon units from to make all that plastic? Not to mention, what will power the engines, $200 crude based fuel?

Posted by: Rich on 3 Nov 05

The wing body might leave the requisite storage capacity for LH2 propulsion.

Posted by: Craig on 3 Nov 05

They'll make them out of cereal-based plastics, but until they perfect the photosynthetic coating to turn solar radiation into energy to fly the plane, the outer body will deteriorate under sunlight and precipitation, so will be regularly recycled into the starch portions of in-flight meals. If that concerns you, dont worry, the meals couldn't taste much worse than they do now. Untouched meals will be downcycled into food containers, toilet seats, etc. In the event of a plane crash in a remote mountainous area, rather than having to eat other passengers, you will be able to eat the plane.

Posted by: Fossilized Flower on 3 Nov 05

If current trends regarding security and customer service continue, it won't be long before nobody even wants to fly.

Posted by: Mars Saxman on 3 Nov 05

This is pretty cool but I think the gravity plane was cooler from the techno-geek perspective. And the gravity plane appears to be more sustainable.

But yeah, this plane could still be built and used when all the oil runs out. Just make the plastics from plant matter (We've been making celluloid for many, many decades now.) and use hydrogen as a propellant.

Posted by: Pace Arko on 3 Nov 05

Liquid coal will power alot of planes for a very long time liquid hydrogen alot of others.

Liquid hydrogen has the main benifit of being ALOT lighter so much so that cargo loads can be increased massively. But the fuel takes up alot of space.

Posted by: wintermane on 3 Nov 05



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