Airbus has created an entirely new aircraft demonstrator, a blended wing type aircraft that could change what we think of an aircraft forever!
What are the details?
Airbus has shown off a new demonstrator aircraft, the MAVERIC, or known as the Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls.
What is immediately different from this new concept aircraft is that it is based on the ‘blended wing design’, essentially where the fuselage of the aircraft is actually the wing with the cabin integrated into the middle. Currently, and we say this simply for perspective, modern planes are a basic tube mounted on wings with engines suspended underneath (I know engineers who read this will be upset, so we apologize in advance).
But before you get too excited, the Airbus aircraft is very small, measuring 3.2 meters wide and only two meters long. There is no internal cabin space. Of course, this is just a prototype.
This groundbreaking design could cut carbon emissions by up to 20% and could enter a new age of green flying, according to the Airbus press release. In addition, because engines and other powerplants can be integrated into the aircraft, its propulsion could be revolutionized as well.
Plus, with more interior space with this design than the long-thin tubes we normally fly on, the passenger flying experience could be completely different. Although we do imagine that some airlines might take the extra space and decide to fit in some of those space-saving seats.
But whether or not Airbus will actually make a model for commercial service remains to be seen, with the airframe building making no plans to bring it to market.
“Airbus is leveraging emerging technologies to pioneer the future of flight. By testing disruptive aircraft configurations, Airbus is able to evaluate their potential as viable future products,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, EVP Engineering Airbus.
“Although there is no specific timeline for entry-into-service, this technological demonstrator could be instrumental in bringing about change in commercial aircraft architectures for an environmentally sustainable future for the aviation industry.”
It might be easy to scoff at Airbus for designing aircraft that might never be produced (and could be perceived as a bit too outlandish) but like with the car industry, it takes one new entrant like Tesla to quickly revolutionize the industry. A situation that Airbus does not what to happen.
The concept aircraft has been flying since June last year and will continue to be tested until the middle of this year.
Airbus also has some other secret aircraft concepts in the wings at their Airbus Up Next department. Some aircraft under development are the E-FAN X (hybrid-electric propulsion), fello’fly (v-shaped “formation” flight) and ATTOL (Autonomous Taxi Take-Off & Landing). Whether or not these will be produced by the airframe maker we will have to keep our fingers crossed.
What do you think about this news? Do you want to fly on the blended wing design? Or do you like the more traditional model of aircraft? Let us know in the comments.