Viewpoint

Take a look at tomorrow's aircraft

Not only could our future aircraft look like a spacecraft, they could also feature sci-fi elements.

According to Spanish designer, Oscar Viñals, and his AWWA Sky Whale concept aircraft tomorrow's aircraft could have self-healing wings and virtual reality windows, which show entertainment.

His design is a mixture of today's Airbus or Boeing and future concepts in blended wing body (BWB), or hybrid wing body architecture (HWB) and is designed to be as eco-friendly as possible. 

The innovative aircraft has a wingspan of 88 metres, compared to the A380's 80. It has 755 seats over three decks, with every passenger having virtual reality windows.

Designed for safety also, the aircraft would break up into specific pieces upon crash landing. Viñals explains that the wings and integrated engines are separate from the fuselage, and that in the event of a fatal crash, these would break up, reducing the impact on and damage to the passengers section.

The Sky Whale would be built out of advanced new materials made up of ceramic or fibre composites, and have three floors.

The top level would be for first-class travellers offering sky views and luxuries; the middle level is for business-class passengers with sky views to the front and rear; while the bottom deck is for the tourist class with added comfort compared to today's commercial aircraft.

Sky Whale would include systems that reduce aircraft weight, drag and engine specific fuel consumption. It would also reduce noise by an eighth and has increased self-sufficiency.

Viñals' says compared to the typical wing used today, the active wings will be longer from tip to tip, with an active air flow control system.

And an eccentric turbine inside the wing near to the fuselage could redirect the laminar airflow and turbulences, and at the same time produce electric energy for the hybrid engines (four oversize electric-fuel engines).

The innovative aircraft would use advanced battery technology to enable a unique, hybrid turbo-electric propulsion system and the engines could use both fuel to burn in the engine's core, and electricity to turn the turbofan when the core is powered down.

Viñals says the AWWA's engines could rotate up to 45 degrees in vertical position, assisting the take-off and landing and substantially reducing the distance needed to do so.

All would be controlled with avionic systems and fly-by-wire systems that are assisted with active sensors located through the entire aircraft surface.

He adds that it is a green concept for the 21st century and is "a mixture between today's aircraft and future concepts based in blended wing body or hybrid wing body architecture."

Justin Burns, AFM reporter - [email protected]

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