Rarely do conceptual designs of automobiles and aircraft make it into actual commercial circulation. While the concepts are practical, and often concerned with dynamic consumer and environmental needs and demands, the production of new designs is costly and often outweighs projected revenue costs from continued use of present aircraft or automobiles.
While some aircraft have made their way into the mainstream, because of their costly upkeep and other associated technological issues, they don’t remain in use for long. The purpose of the Farnborough International Air Show is continuous technological evolution, and is held every other year in Farnborough, England. The air show is a major hub in the airline industry, where people can buy aircraft, sell aircraft, display new concepts, and discuss future industry changes.
With the Show coming up, Airbus is making quite a buzz with their new concept airliner. There is no name yet for the jet, which reportedly is an engineering marvel, offering “ultra long and slim wings, semi-embedded engines, a U-shaped tail and light-weight ‘intelligent’ body […] The result: lower fuel burn, a significant cut in emissions, less noise and greater comfort”.
The plane was constructed based on engineering principles, customer opinions and polls (pdf) concerning air travel, environmental concerns, and general air-travel comfort. Airbus has concepts to change air fuel usage, fossil fuel reliance, and economize passenger space and comfort for short and long-term flights. By making the plane more streamlined, lighter, and improving the propulsion technologies, by 2050, air travel will look entirely different (if Airbus’ projections are correct).
Additionally, as families and friends become increasingly globalized, air travel is likewise expected to increase, meaning changes in the industry. Airbus also proposes changes to aircraft interiors as well – morphing seats, self-cleaning materials, holograms – it’s the future, folks.
The Show ends on the 25th, so you don’t have long to get to Farnborough. But if you can get there and happen to have millions burning a hole in your pocket, try to buy some of the aircraft that are for sale – in forty more years, you may have a collector’s item.