June 14, 2011

The Airplane Of The Future?

Airbus, one of the leading aircraft manufacturers worldwide, ahead of the Paris Airshow "Le Bourget," has unveiled a virtual Concept Cabin to give insight into innovations and technologies that could completely change passengers' experience in the future of air travel.

Traditional cabin classes would be replaced by personalized zones that offer tailored experiences. Airbus said passengers in 2050 could, for example, join in an interactive conference, enjoy a game of virtual golf, and recharge in a "vitalizing seat" while watching the Earth zoom by beneath their feet.

Passengers will be able to travel in the Interactive zone, with a bar and electronic games where they can socialize with others. And those wishing to have peace and quiet can choose the Relaxation zone.

The Smart Tech Zone is tailored for more functional oriented passengers, and to meet individual needs ranging from a simple to a complete luxury service, but allowing for the passenger to continue life as if they were on the ground.

The aircraft's bionic structure mimics the efficiency of bird bone which is optimized to provide strength where needed, and allows for an intelligent cabin wall membrane which controls air temperature and can become transparent to give passengers open panoramic views.

Airbus' new vision of aviation follows last year's unveiling of the Airbus Concept Plane, packed with technologies to reduce fuel burning, emissions, waste and noise.

Charles Champion, the head of engineering for Airbus, says the plane takes into account future developments and the need to produce lower carbon-cutting aircraft.

"Our research shows that passengers of 2050 will expect a seamless travel experience while also caring for the environment. The Airbus Concept Cabin is designed with that in mind, and shows that the journey can be as much a voyage of discovery as the destination. Whichever flight experience is chosen, the passenger of 2050 will step out of the Airbus Concept Cabin feeling revitalized and enriched," said Champion, showcasing the innovative interior design.

More than 90 percent of Airbus' annual research and development investment of over 2.8 billion dollars has environmental benefits for current and future aircraft. Due to advances in technology, the Concept Cabin will be 100 percent recyclable. It will have self-cleaning materials made from sustainable plant fibers which reduce waste and maintenance and will harvest passenger body heat to power cabin features.

Such technologies are already in development, and though they may not be seen in the exact same manner as in the Concept Cabin, some of them could be featured in future Airbus programs.

Airbus will also display a Future of Flight film at the Le Bourget International Airshow -- a vision of the transformations in air transport between now and the middle of the century which not only focuses on aircraft designs and innovations, but also addresses passenger expectations.


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