The Future of Air Travel … Again
People are always talking about the future of air travel. We’ve done it ourselves on this blog, looking at the new Boeing 787, the question of airport parking in the future, and even taking a whimsical journey to Star Trek’s final frontier. But a recent story on a new kind of plane made me think that maybe the future of air travel lies in the past.
A recent Daily Mail report highlighted a joint effort by NASA and Boeing to reinvent the plane. That’s because, according to them, we can’t make fixed wing planes much more fuel efficient nor can we get many more passengers into them. The new shape is triangular with a wingspan of 21 feet. The x48C is called a “hybrid wing-body plane”. The prototype can only fly for 35 minutes and go to 10,000 feet, but the organizations hope that within the next 20 years or so, most planes will have this design. The new shape allows for greater fuel efficiency while retaining the level of control that pilots are currently used to.
Sounds like a great idea, but why am I saying that the future lies in the past? Just take a look at the picture of the X48C. The wide wings and general profile remind me of a much missed technological innovation – the Concorde! What do you think?
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