Airbus shows off Concept Plane at Farnborough Airshow

FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom, 20 July 2010. Airbus officials released concept imagery of their Concept Plane at the Farnborough International Airshow. The images illustrate what air transport could look like in 2050 -- even 2030 if advancements in existing aviation technologies continue, at steady pace, company officials say. Airbus experts in aircraft materials, aerodynamics, cabins, and engines came up with the design to meet the expectations of the passengers of the future.

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Posted by John McHale

FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom, 20 July 2010. Airbus officials released concept imagery of their Concept Plane at the Farnborough International Airshow.

The images illustrate what air transport could look like in 2050 -- even 2030 if advancements in existing aviation technologies continue, at steady pace, company officials say. Airbus experts in aircraft materials, aerodynamics, cabins, and engines came up with the design to meet the expectations of the passengers of the future. Ultra long and slim wings, semi-embedded engines, a U-shaped tail and light-weight intelligent body all feature to further improve environmental performance or eco-efficiency. The result islower fuel burn, a significant cut in emissions, less noise, and greater comfort, Airbus officials say.

"The Airbus Concept Plane represents an engineer's dream about what an aircraft could look like in the long term future," says Charles Champion, executive vice president of engineering at Airbus. "It's not a real aircraft and all the technologies it features, though feasible, are not likely to come together in the same manner. Here we are stretching our imagination and thinking beyond our usual boundaries. With the Airbus Concept Plane we want to stimulate young people from all over the world to engage with us so that we can continue to share the benefits of air transport while also looking after the environment."

Airbus officials also developed blueprints for radical aircraft interiors in the future. In "The Future by Airbus" the company talks of morphing seats made from ecological, self-cleaning materials, which change shape for a snug fit; walls that become see-through at the touch of a button, affording 360 degree views of the world below; and holographic projections of virtual decors, allowing travelers to transform their private cabin into an office, bedroom, or Zen garden.

Green energy sources like fuel cells, solar panels, or even body heat might provide energy for powering some systems on tomorrow's aircraft. Some of these aircraft may even fly in formation like birds to reduce drag, fuel burn, and therefore emissions, Airbus officials say.

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