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19 comments

What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

Posted July 30, 2010 8:17 AM

From Fast Company:

Boeing's 747-8 jumbo jet may represent the best of what engineers have to offer now, but Airbus has reached 40 years into future and come back with a design that barely resembles the aircraft of today. The Concept Plane, revealed this week at the U.K's Farnborough International Airshow, is a mash-up of future aerodynamics, materials, cabin design, and engine technology.

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#1

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

07/31/2010 9:01 AM

They were once called "artists impressions". Now days "Photo shop"

I've yet to see the either reach "working".

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

07/31/2010 1:57 PM
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#3
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Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

07/31/2010 9:44 PM

Very nice pic links Chris - but somehow I just get the feeling "will it fly" is in the attention to "aerodynamic details".

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

07/31/2010 10:14 PM

"will it fly"

always a good question. one of my favourites really. I think that something that is going to fly by virtue of it's aerodynamics (with forward motion) must maintain a condition of greater air pressure underneath than there is above it. If that is insufficient, then there is non-aerodynamic flying. (downward thrusting)

so I started with an airfoil, and cut the hole, into which I have put counterrotating fans/blades. These push air downward, and help in both types of flying. after that, I just hung some shipping containers.. which help keep the air under the craft... so that should help too.

"will it fly"

I have no friggin idea.. I'm not an aerodynamicist.. Jeez you expect a lot..

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

07/31/2010 11:18 PM

But Hey - that wasn't about your pic - more about people that "work" for an aerodynamic corp, yet stick a power pod between twin tails, invert 'body lift for 'styling', want everything "supersonic", in an energy future about "liters/passenger mile"....

In comparison of 'end goals': your many posted explorations, more consider the 'future realities' facing commercial aviation - like the price of energy.

Others don't seem to get that message.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/01/2010 8:45 PM

wow..that chevvy would have to travel using reverse thrust in order to go forward...what a genius designer...

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Anonymous Poster
#7
In reply to #6

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/02/2010 7:54 AM

who said they want to move forward ?

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/02/2010 11:12 AM

Dave Letterman can update the skit on his show. I wonder how the Late Night girls will showcase the entrants?

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Anonymous Poster
#8

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/02/2010 8:54 AM

I don't really mind how they look, as long as they feature dettachable fuel tanks and a mega-parachutte for when everything else fails.

Yahlasit

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Associate

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#10

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/02/2010 12:14 PM

Personally, the race for alternative energy will boil down to politics, business, and whoever has Oprah funding them (or another sort of cash cow).

BUT, as far as the design, I'd put money that they will start to resemble birds more and more. Mother nature is the most intelligent designer, why not take ideas from her?

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#11

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/17/2010 8:59 PM

Here is my Future Aircraft. It has NO passenger windows, because of advances in technology. Passengers will be able to don VR glasses, and experience their flight as though there was no aircraft (or with, if they wish) and have an unobstructed view, based on rotating 360 degree cameras. It minimizes fuselage doors to a minimum, and the main entrance for passengers and freight is at the rear. these features make the aircraft safer in pressure loss situations.. (less possibility of problems caused by door & window issues)

the wings are designed to reduce drag induced turbulence, and therefore efficiency losses. a third turbofan could be added on top between the tail V-wings.

Also, the pods are 'small degree' steerable, to help in cross-wind landings. The lifting body and 'captured volume' underneath (due to downward curve of wings at fuselage) makes this an STOL craft also.

I was thinking of calling it "Stingray"... but it is definitely 'naturally' inspired by the fishies etc.

Chris

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/18/2010 12:24 AM

Nice Chris, GA

A true notch above the others by others.

So much so I feel a bit "guilty" saying you might reevaluate the 'anal fin' - especially in the STOL context.

Takeoff attitude;

Landing attitude;

If you get my drift

(from personal experience - scraping the tail is "not good")

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/18/2010 12:52 AM

I was hoping you would respond... it means a lot to me. thank you.

as to the tail wheel, (in the anal fin), I was putting a dual wheel dragger in there, and proposing a different plan for landing than either taildraggers (which land on their front wheels) and a tricycle (landing on rear wheels)

I'm thinking the aircraft comes down to land with a few degrees nose up, and touches down with the tail first, and then the front wheels (in the lowest part of the wings) second. If there is a crosswind, when the tail touches first, the inertial forces help align the aircraft to the runway. Also I think this plan will help miminize any tendency of the aircraft to bounce on landing. I might also put some canard winglets up front for greater control of these processes. My thinking goes towards 'flared' landings of birds, which allows fairly short landing runs. traditional thinking says dragging the tail is not good, but that is true in aircraft not designed for that. I am thinking it will make landings easier.

next I'll render up these ideas... and post here again... with touchdowns and takeoffs shown. I'm not sure the aircraft industry has a method for testing alternative wheel configurations, other than reality testing... it would just have to be tested with an RC unit.

cheers,

Chris

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/18/2010 1:53 AM

Tail dragger's don't like tail wheel landings much either.

The much admired "three point landing" is easy enough in good conditions - but NOT what you go for in difficult conditions. It is in effect "look; I can flirt with the not good".

By necessity a tail wheel is caster-ed - so its not much of a help as you are imagining.

Touch skid or tail wheel first - and the 'bounce' hurls the thing down on the main gear. Do it hard-ish (easy done landing on slope) and you loose control, bounce, may then stall, then stuff usually breaks.

Cross wind landing falls into two techniques in the air prior to touchdown

You can crab (fly level but sideways using the rudder) then 'kick it straight' at the last second (or you can shear the gear off).

Or 'wing down' (fly as if banked in a turn, using opposite rudder to 'align to the line'. This means the gear is in line, so is not under shear force on contact.

Big aircraft prefer 'wing down' as 'kicking straight' can be a bit sluggish resulting in gear shear - 'not good' and messy.

You will often see heavyweights land on one set of gear.

Once on all 3, they then have to play rudder to stay straight.

In severe cross wind (near or above the demonstrated maximum) you will see combination crab and wing down (accompanied by praying in the cockpit the gear can take it, and the wing tip doesn't hit something in the ditch in the verge)

In all these considerations - I think tricycle has the edge. The other thing is the center of mass is around the center of lift. So the main gear is around there. Which end you hold up is then related to the weight or lift of the tail planes.

Most of the new aircraft are "canter-leaver" design. Meaning the tail plane actually negatively lifts. Pushes down to hold the nose up. I.e not like a DC-3 where the tail provides part of lift. If you look closely at a 7## tail plane, the airfoil section is 'upside down'. It's job is a balancing act around the main wing.

But none of this impacts your concept - Just to me it's a perfectly feasible cantilever tricycle design, so I thought in that mode. And it's possibly got the best 'demonstrable cross wind component' of the lot 'designed in'.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/18/2010 2:39 AM

Awesome analysis! certainly enough to chew on while I rethink things. ga.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/18/2010 3:40 AM

Got a flying school nearby? take some of your pictures and seek out the CFI (chief flying instructor). A fair few are ex military and v knowledgeable on a broad range of types and vices. Most CFI's are very approachable by anyone interested in learning any facet of 'aviation'. (The odd one is just a money bleeder)

Might even get a free "flick hack zoom". Will if you are 'interested in learning' - it's called 'av initio'. Well, in my days it was, and that wasn't in Canadia, but see how you go!

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

08/19/2010 2:06 AM

"flick hack zoom".

whats that? a free flight? (or a beating with a stick )

rev 2.

Here is a different configuration for landing gear.. with permanent vertical fins, which might hide the gear, but definitely support it. I've also added some matte black around the cockpit to eliminate glare. I've eliminated the drop tail, and beefed up the fuselage between the cockpit and tail. I would put control surfaces on the front lower canard, giving better low speed control. I've also raised the engines and the tail.

Chris

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

09/04/2010 12:55 AM

More a style of flying associated with testing the limits.

That is coming along nicely.

Perhaps "retractable undercarage" would save some drag?

While I was elsewhere found this, which reminded me of something else you posted - somewhere.

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: What Will Commercial Aircraft Look Like in 2050?

09/04/2010 2:49 AM

hey ya, that's a favourite!

how about this?, or this, and this. :)

the wheels would retract... but you are probably referring to the vertical surfaces... I read today that above 50 mph, every 2% decrease in drag causes a 1% increase in fuel efficiency (at least for road vehicles) but it probably is true for aircraft too.

Chris

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