As the economy continues to struggle and aircraft owners look for ways to provide competitive pricing through reduced costs, the future of aviation is changing. An aircraft that is more fuel efficient, lighter, and with a more exotic look than the aircraft of today appear to be the future of aviation. Some aircraft changes will not be visible to the public, but pilots will find the enhancements significant and owners will enjoy the fuel efficiency that the newer planes will offer.
Lighter Means More Efficient
Engineers have consistently attempted to lighten airplanes as much as possible in an effort to make them more efficient. The future of aviation will bring about aircraft that is lighter with the implementation of electrical systems in wing flaps rather than heavier hydraulics. In addition, lightweight ceramics are replacing heavier metals and some airlines are removing fuselage-insulation blanketing. The blanketing absorbs humidity, making them heavier over time.
In addition to making planes lighter to increase efficiency, engine companies are looking at ways to lighten the engines in aircraft as well. Pratt & Whitney has developed a “geared turbofan” engine which uses a gearbox rather than a shaft to transmit power between the engine, turbine and fan. The PurePower PW1000G, as the prototype is called, cuts fuel consumption by as much as 15%, a savings of about $400 per flight hour. The geared turbofan is expected to be ready for delivery in 2013 and promises to be a major factor in the future of aviation.
One airline is already harnessing the future of aviation by removing in-flight entertainment modules and replacing them with Apple iPads. The iPads are much lighter than other forms of entertainment kits and provide a better experience for passengers. Designers are developing swivel seats that mold to and massage passengers while harvesting body heat to power sound pods, lighting and even holographic entertainment units. Many insiders acknowledge that much of these items cannot be built using the technology of today. However, Airbus Vice President of Engineering Charles Champion predicts that much of these passenger comforts will be standard by 2050.
The near-future of aviation will focus on building more efficient, lighter aircraft in an effort to reduce fuel consumption and provide a more “green” flying experience. For more information on the future of aviation, visit www.covingtonaircraft.com.
[gravityform id=”2″ name=”Contact Us – Call (918) 932-3993″]