As Airbus highlights its vision of future air travel at the Paris Air Show, the EADS Innovation Works research network of parent company EADS is exhibiting two concept aircraft that also could contribute to changing the way passengers will fly in the coming decades.
One of these is a regional airliner configuration with an all-electric propulsion system – opening the possibility for a zero-emission aircraft that would deliver an extremely smooth and ultra-quiet ride for passengers.
This research concept is called VoltAir, and its next-generation electric battery storage system would provide power to highly efficient superconducting electric motors that drive two counter-rotating propellers.
Another feature of VoltAir is its wide fuselage cross-section, which is shaped for improved aerodynamics on the outside and a spacious cabin feeling on the inside for its approximately 70 passengers.
EADS Innovation Works’ concept for a Mach 4 airliner – which could fly such long haul routes as Paris to Tokyo in two hours – immediately captured the imagination of many Paris Air Show attendees, and was featured prominently in newspaper articles and TV broadcasts around the world.
This concept, designated ZEHST, would utilise three types of engines that operate in sequence for its various flight phases: two high-power, low-bypass biofuel turbojet engines would be used for takeoff and landing; a pair of liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engines are to provide thrust for the steep climb and acceleration to a speed of Mach 2.5, while two air-breathing hydrogen fuelled ramjets would be employed for flight at beyond Mach 4.
In addition to ZEHST’s quest for speed, the aircraft would be designed from the start to have a limited impact on the environment while carrying from 50 to 100 passengers.