Through fello’fly, a follower aircraft will retrieve the energy lost by the wake of a leader aircraft, by flying in the smooth updraft of air it creates


Wake-energy retrieval to boost environmental performance

fello’fly aims to demonstrate the technical, operational and commercial viability of two aircraft flying close together during long-haul flights. This collaborative activity is expected to make a noteworthy impact on commercial aircraft’s environmental performance.

Taking inspiration from migrating geese

fello’fly, a demonstrator project led by Airbus UpNext, takes inspiration from the flying technique of migrating geese. This technique is known as wake-energy retrieval—or surfing the air upwash of a leader bird. During commercial aircraft operations, air upwash could enable a follower aircraft to benefit from free lift, resulting in less engine thrust and reduced fuel consumption.

Airbus is currently working on a technical solution to enable the pilot assistance functions necessary to ensure aircraft remain safely positioned at a steady altitude.

A collaborative activity to reduce CO2 emissions

If the technology proves viable, this collaborative activity could make a noteworthy impact on aircraft’s environmental performance: fello’fly is expected to produce fuel savings of between 5-10% per trip. This means several tons of fuel and CO2 emissions could be saved during every fello’fly trip.

Today, Airbus is collaborating with Frenchbee and SAS Scandinavian Airlines, as well as France’s DSNA (Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne), the UK’s NATS and EUROCONTROL to demonstrate the operational feasibility of the project and to identify procedures for transatlantic operations.

Watch our fello'fly videos

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Fello Fly A Flight Demonstrator Project Inspired By Nature      

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