Airbus have recently issued an impressive document telling what they think will be the future of air travel in the year 2050.
Part of it seems pure fantasy, some of it unnecessary whilst other aspects of their perceived future make very good sense.
Few will see the point of virtual reality cabins where at the flick of a switch you can be in an office, a field, by the sea and more – what if nobody else wants that scenario – and who would choose a virtual office environment – although the coffee might be better?
The sound of a transparent roof is more appealing, allowing you to tip your seat back and look up at space and the stars. The devil amongst designers might even suggest a transparent floor so people stay rigidly in their seats!
The idea of planes running on biofuel is a flawed one for the future doesn’t look bright for the supposedly planet friendly energy source. It’s costlier to produce, is actually environmentally unfriendly in parts and reduced the planet’s capacity to feed its people.
Better suggestions are that planes will begin to fly in formation, a little like geese, to reduce wind resistance and improve fuel savings made possible by the use of composite materials in aircraft manufacture. The advent of larger jets such as the near 1,000 seater A380 may mean that airlines combine flights to save money, an extension of the currently popular codeshare agreements worldwide.
The suggestion is also for planes to be able to glide to the ground from their cruising altitude. This would save a lot on fuel costs as well as meaning shorter runways would be necessary, ideal for managing the larger, more fuel efficient aircraft.
More likely in the very near future according to the BBC are pilotless planes. For decades the airline industry has been moving towards this goal with autopilot invented, unbelievably, almost a hundred years ago. Pilots on board flights have dropped from five in the 1950s and 60s to just two and even those have little to do apart from carrying out pre-flight checks and taxiing to and from the stands. Even take-off and landing is automated these days – had you not noticed the many fewer bumpy landings you’ve experienced over the last few years?
It’s believed that within ten years, pilots may be reduced to one or none with planes flying themselves or with operators on the ground controlling them.
With the potential for these changes, tourist space flights as well as superfast transport across the globe with rocket powered planes, the future of air travel looks interesting to say the least.
See full report here