In advance of the of the Paris Airshow, which starts next week, aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, presented its newest concept passenger aircraft, the 2050. Not only does it look cool, but if it ever came into existence, it would really push the limits of air travel, making it way more enjoyable than the current "sardine in a can" experience.
For starters, Airbus wants to build the framework of the plane to mimic the bone structures of birds, which are both lightweight and strong. This reduces weight and necessary fuel, and also allows the craft to be designed with more open spaces.
A biopolyer membrane would control light, humidity and temperature and could become transparent or opaque at the push of a button, eliminating the need for windows. Passengers would have a 360 degree view of the skies.
Instead of being relegated to one seat for the duration of a flight, passengers could interact in personalized zones, tailored to various experiences. For example, you could practice your putting in a virtual golf area or recharge in a "vitalizing zone" complete with mood lighting, aromatherapy or acupressure treatments.
Imagine sitting in a seat that actually fits your body. By using materials that change shape and then spring back into their original form, Airbus could improve this airline passenger's comfort 100-fold with a seat that fits my body. And the seats wouldn't be just a place to park your fanny. They would be made from self-cleaning materials that contain devices capable of harvesting the energy from your body heat and converting it into power that could be used by cabin appliances or lights.
Conventional airplanes contains miles of power and communications cabling and wires. But the interior of the Airbus 2050 would be made from smart materials able to deliver energy and information through its own fibers. This does away with the space needed to hide systems and equipment, opening up the cabin design.
The plane body itself will also have some noticeable modifications. The engines will be positioned near the rear and be somewhat embedded into the aircraft's body.
With embedded engines, the craft can do away with the vertical tail, which provides stability on planes with engines mounted under their wings.
Longer, slimmer wings will reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency.
Sensors in the nose of the plane will detect wind gusts and automatically adjust surfaces on the wings to improve flying efficiency.
For more details, check out the Airbus web site.