We are back with another concept plane that will probably receive flak from the social media. First we want to clarify what these insane models are about. They might not be realized into actual working planes and neither are they meant to be so. The reason engineers and designers spend so much time working on these models is because new ideas matter even if they can’t be put into practice. Take the VR technology you are using as an example. An early version surfaced in the 1980s as a concept device, and if the people in charge had ridiculed the idea just because it was impractical at that time, the VR tech we see nowadays may have never seen the light of the day. Similarly, these kinds of airplane designs help propagate ideas and new approaches that might benefit technology in the coming years.

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Now back to the new concept. It was designed by a combined effort from Airport Parking and Hotels and The Imperial Colege of London. The futuristic looking plane is expected to hit the skies by 2050 and features a curved design where the wings curved into the undiscernable fuselage. This design means that the cabin of the plane will be made much more wider than the contemporary designs we see nowadays. The increase in cabin area means that up to 1,000 passengers could fill the aircraft and have more leg space than the A380 itself.

We are also introduced to the recurring concept of live-action walls instead of windows, 3D VR technology in each seat and spacious lounges for the passengers to relax instead of cramping there in their small seats. The visors will also automatically disappear after take-off and reappear in the case of an emergency. There are also in-flight bars and other socializing areas where the passengers can enjoy during the long flights. Adam Omar, the Ph.D. student, involved in the blended wing design focused on the achievable aspects of technology and the emerging technologies that will be available in the next 35 years.

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Now environmental concerns would have ballooned that far in the future and to make it more energy efficient, the concept plane will run on small biofuel-powered electrical engines that will be clustered around the wings of the plane. If eventually realized, this plane will reduce noise and emissions from in and around our metropolitan cities while accommodating a large number of passengers in the seating area. To keep the weight as light as possible, much of the seating, flooring and even walls would be made from ultra-light metal micro-lattice developed by Boeing. Much of the cues for the design were taken from concepts by Boeing, Airbus and even NASA itself.

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It is a neat design overall that focus not on the speed, but the comfort and utility of the future aircraft. The new concept of socializing on the plane and spacious design is every airliner’s dream. Much more so than speed itself. I hope we see at least some of the concepts incorporated into planes of the near future.