Airbus’ New Blended Fuselage Design Could Disrupt The Aviation Industry

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Airbus has created an entirely new aircraft demonstrator, a blended wing type aircraft that could change what we think of an aircraft forever!

Blended wing
The new Airbus blended wing concept aircraft. Photo: Airbus

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).

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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.

Take off with a new type of aircraft. Photo: Airbus

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.

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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.”

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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.

Airbus A220
Currently, Airbus is heavily invested in the ‘old’ type of aircraft. Photo: Airbus

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.

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Dave

Lots of issues where this design is concerned in a practical application.

Lack of windows is a minor concern but the impossibility of locating equally spaced emergency exits throughout the aircraft would indicate that this design is a non-starter.

ATS

They’ve copied KLM’s idea. C’mon Airbus.

Barry Crews

There has been ‘speculation’ about Boeing having something similar on the drawing board for about ten years… Where there’s smoke…

Peter Mpande

This from WikipediaGerman prototype fighter/bomber initially designed by Reimar and Walter Horten to be built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik late in World War II. It was the first flying wing to be powered by jet engines.[1]

Then there was the US Air Force prototype YB35 by Northrop towards the end of WWII (1943/44), which was later converted to jet power (YB49). We then had the F117 and then the B2 Spirit bomber, both by the US Air Force. Therefore we ready have true blended wing aircraft already, just not the commercial airliner being proposed by Airbus which is also preceded by a KLM design we read about not so long ago. Nothing revolutionary here

Adam

Taken from the KLM V-plane ):

Andy

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies nicely only because of computers keeping it steady; without the IT, it would continually be trying to find a neutral position around all 3 axes of movement; not dangerous, but a good recipe for airsickness!
Airbus have decades of experience with computerising aircraft – I feel they would be the ideal entity to take the plunge and build the aircraft.
If there is to be a revolution in air travel it has to start somewhere. All it takes is someone to take the plunge. A half scale prototype would show if the passenger requirements and aesthetics are workable, and if the aircraft itself it a feasible concept.

Niklas from Stockholm

KLM can design like my son ( Sorry to my neetherands colleague ), Airbus Can Engineer Aircraft this is a big différence.
We may understand that Design allow much, but Enginneering is EVERYTHINGS.

Ando

Boeing has been working on this jointly with NASA for a very long time, i believe even it was originally a McDonnell Douglas rpoject: http://www.boeing.com/features/2017/05/blended-wing-body-05-17.page
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-48

Jack

Isn’t it similar to the Concorde design?

IJBos

I can’t see anything extra revolutionary about this aircraft seeing as it is just 2 meters long, so basically just an RC model. I’ve seen a lot of concept art like this and so far nothing has been made (excluding the B-2).

Matt

It won’t happen because the claims of decreased drag just don’t pan out. Another pie in the sky idea that is supposed to appease European regulators. This concept has been tried many times and never actually improves anything. Very thin wings are the most efficient, so expanding the wing isn’t going to increase efficiency.

Gerry S

Certainly not a new concept. Have been seeing US design studies some decades old. The flying wing concept goes back decades.

Umair K

wow !!! I am AMAZED

High Mile Club

I think this is another case of an aircraft that’s too early for its time. We need planes that have better engines or better aerodynamics, but not something THIS revolutionary. The world just isn’t ready for it yet. It may see use as a military platform, but not commercially.

Mike-in-Fort-Collins

Lots of work to do on this and to build a prototype that is more realistic in size. I would fly on it. Right now it’s kinda like a kid’s paper airplane. Need lots of thought and refinement to become viable.

john

No windows? Yuck

Pc.

This would put a whole new meaning to cheap seats. Imagine being seated mid wing and then having the plane do a 90 degree banking turn. If this ever got off the ground it would be a good time to invest in the company that manufactures b**f bags. This has always been a concern for these designs for passenger travel.

Dileep

Pictures of similar plane, dubbed the ‘Boeing 797’ used to go around on internet, WhatsApp etc. some years ago. Those pictures were accompanied by text extolling the virtues of a ‘Flying Wing’, claims attributed to Boeing, aerodynamics hoopla and so on. That was just a HOAX. Boeing denied existence of any such passenger aircraft. I hope this Airbus thingy is not another similar hoax!! 🙂

mak

its merely a concept – the Dutch came up with a flying V-concept – Boeing have floated their own designs, but any of these or any final derivatives are a long way off………..Tesla cars have driven thro’ many pitfalls before making it to ‘public acceptance’.

Within a foreseeable timeline I doubt the travelling public is going to accept flying in such unorthodox shaped aircraft – if like the B2 it will have to rely on computers to keep it stable and as long as the 737 MAX affair still lingers in the public psyche this is going to be a non-starter as far as airline-interest is concerned!

Chris

Vincent Burnelli had developed and built lifting body aircraft many decades ago, the last one to be built was the CBY-3 Loadmaster built in 1944.

Burnelli’s aircraft designs eliminated many of the fatal flaws of current airplane designs

mark miller

These designs have been around for a long time, this isn’t something new that Airbus came up with.

Ng Fook Meng

The aircraft will be too expensive to produce and operate, and will end up as a commercial failure. The flying tube will be here to stay as all airport infrastructures had been fine tuned to the tube.

Monique Rogers

love the look of it

Patrick

Looks like the nonexisting Boeing 797 rumors…. Ho-229 was way ahead back in the days and the B2 became a quite efficient weaponsystem. No windows for passengers could be solved with flexible? displays. Emergency exits….maybe some kind of stairs and a rooftop exit as it is a huge body. Weight balancing with moving fuel from left to right. Yet I think having a mixture of turboshaft & electrically ducted fans might be some kind of consideration (airbrake by loading a battery during descend?)