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Future of flight

Airbus Concept Plane exhibited in the newly opened FUTURIUM

 

Located in the heart of Berlin close to the AIRBUS office, the new FUTURIUM has been inaugurated recently. Being the house of the future, it provides insight into the topic areas of mankind, nature and technology – insight into the world of tomorrow. 

 

Airbus im Futurium

With its 3D-printed Concept Plane, Airbus shows in the FUTURIUM how aircraft manufacturing may learn from nature. Nowadays, calculation methods of engineers increasingly relate to construction principles of organisms. As an example, particular components could comprise of minuscule structures, similar to long bones. This remarkable architecture proves to be ideal for aircraft construction. Material will thus only be applied where it contributes to stability, resulting in less kerosene consumption and a lower weight of the aircraft. 3D-printing allows to manufacture complex, very light and likewise extremely solid components. Engineers dream of printing an entire aircraft one day.

The FUTURIUM provides insights in tomorrow’s world. “How do we want to live?” is thereby the main question. Visitors can discover, test and debate. The entrance is free of charge.

 

Status: Sept 2019

Airbus welcomes BDLI campaign

Despite there still being no new government, things are happening in Berlin. This is the first legislative period for nearly 40% of the members of the German parliament. Our goal is to provide all these politicians, as well as all those re-elected – and, of course, all other interested parties elsewhere – with comprehensive information about aerospace topics. To do this, willing employees from the Berlin Airbus office are joined by staff at the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI).

We therefore expressly welcome the “Final Call” issue and information campaign launched by BDLI a few days ago. Extensive information on topics and issues relating to the aerospace industry will be shared via posters and digital channels (www.schub-für-mobile-zukunft.de; Twitter #finalcall) over the next weeks and months, up until the Berlin Air Show (April 25-29). The topics to be addressed range from civil aviation to helicopters and space travel. The campaign focuses on questions relating to technology and sustainability, but also reflects on how aviation can contribute to future mobility concepts, for example in urban areas, and as a complement to conventional means of transport.

BDLI Kampagne

Buzzword – environmental protection

Carbon neutral growth is to be achieved in aviation from 2020. To fulfil this objective, technological innovations are more important than ever. Electric mobility plays a key role. This is a key technology, not only on the roads, but also in the air!

 

Buzzword – noise emissions:

With aircraft models such as the A350 XWB and the A320neo, Airbus is setting new standards, not only in terms of significant reductions in fuel consumption, but also in noise levels. Thanks to innovative engines, the noise footprint has been halved in comparison to the previous generation. In coming years, modern “whisper jets” will replace ever-ageing models and thus play a notable part in relieving the burden on the hundreds and thousands of people living near airports.

 

Buzzword – urban mobility:

All around the world, today's city roads are already congested. Increasing urbanisation means that this trend is only set to further intensify. By 2030, around 60 percent of the Earth’s population will be living in towns and cities. New future mobility concepts can provide a remedy here by taking air space (3rd dimension) into account in town planning. For example, in the near future, the CityAirbus is set to transport up to four passengers through primarily urban airspace. In order for us to make this a success, above all, infrastructure and regulatory requirements must be fulfilled. Through innovative concepts and in conjunction with politics, our goal is to create the framework required to make modern agglomerations less stressful and more habitable.

Buzzword – space: 

Space also offers possibilities for making our life on Earth simpler and more comfortable, for example via the use of navigation systems to continually identify the quickest and most efficient routes. In this respect, the European Galileo satellite navigation system is a future-oriented technology which has been operating in space since 2016, currently with 18 satellites developed and built under German leadership. It is the European Union’s largest infrastructure project.

For these kinds of technologies and projects to be implemented, as well as innovative companies such as Airbus, the necessary political framework conditions must also be present. This is another point highlighted by the BDLI campaign. It is thus an important platform for further promoting dialogue between the aerospace industry and politics. Whether on site or via the live broadcasts, the Berlin Air Show, April 25-29, will be the occasion to admire just how fascinating the results – and above all the products – of an innovative aerospace industry are.


Status: Jan 2018

Future Air Power Vision

Future Air Power

 

Bertrand Piccards vision of clean aviation

Guest article

Ever since the Wright brothers took off for the first powered flight in 1903, aviation has been driving our imagination and innovative strength. And it's set to continue to do so in the future. But in what areas? Flying is already fast and safe; now it needs to be made even cleaner.

Picard
People 13 July 2018

Picard

Bertrand Piccard ist der Initiator und Visionär hinter Solar Impulse, dem ersten Flugzeug, das dauerhaft ohne Treibstoff fliegen kann. Im Jahr 2016 gelang es Piccard, der sich mit André Borschberg im Cockpit des einsitzigen Solarflugzeugs abwechselte, nur mit Sonnenkraft getrieben einmal die Welt zu umrunden. Mit dieser Pioniertat wollte er für die Nutzung von erneuerbaren Energien werben. Im nächsten Schritt plant Piccard unter anderem die Gründung der World Alliance for Efficient Solutions.

Read more

Bertrand Piccard is the initiator and visionary behind Solar Impulse, the first aircraft that can fly long-distance without fuel. In 2016, taking turns with André Borschberg in the single-seater cockpit of the solar aircraft, Piccard succeeded in flying around the world using only solar energy. With this pioneering act, his aim was to make the case for the use of renewable energies. As the next step, among other things, Piccard is planning to found the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions.

That’s exactly what I wanted to demonstrate with Solar Impulse: that long-haul powered flights are possible without a single drop of fuel. Will we soon see fully solar-powered aircraft carrying 300 passengers across the oceans? To answer yes would be crazy. To answer no would be stupid. The required technology doesn’t exist yet. But the same was true for Lindbergh when he was faced with the first transatlantic flight. We must realise that limits only exist in our head! And even before people travel in fuel-free aircraft, we can make aircraft and airports cleaner:

Storage capacity and energy efficiency

If you think about the fact that one kilogram of jet fuel produces 36 times as much power as a one kilogram lithium-ion battery, a change appears unrealistic. But in comparison to combustion engines, electric engines are two to three times more efficient and significantly lighter. In light of that, the switch appears a lot more feasible. I bet that in less than 10 years, all-electric aircraft will be flying short and medium-haul routes, landing quietly at city airports with up to 50 passengers on-board. There are also concepts for electric tow trucks capable of bringing aircraft onto the runway without fuel. In parallel, we need to be carrying out research into hydrogen-powered aircraft, hybrid solutions and biofuels.

Profitability

Clean technologies have the potential to give new momentum to the entire aviation industry. Take Fort Worth Airport for example: last year, it became the first airport in the US and the 23rd worldwide to achieve carbon-neutral status. This has resulted not only in increased profits, but also a 38 percent saving in energy costs – despite passenger numbers having increased by 15 percent since 2010.

Legal framework conditions

For our round-the-world flight, the legal challenges were often just as high as the technical ones – with regard to overflight permissions for instance. Regulations must keep pace with the development of aviation. To save flying time and fuel, we need to prioritise direct flight paths. Likewise for continuous descent approach procedures, which can save a tonne of fuel for every large aircraft which lands.

For decades, Germany has been known for its innovative strength and strong industry. Probably more so than any other country, it is pre-destined to conquer the ambitious transition to a climate-friendly economy. Success will depend on the pioneering spirit of governments and major corporations.


Status: March 2017

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