Saturday, 8 September 2012


Airbus Presents Measures to Reduce
Industry's Environmental Footprint
By Jens Flottau 
AWIN First  September 06, 2012

Airbus on Sept. 6 will unveil five measures it says will make the aviation industry environmentally sustainable by 2050 despite projected growth for global air transport.
In its “Future by Airbus” vision, the manufacturer describes how an optimized air traffic management system alone would help reduce average flight times by 13 minutes within the European Union or the U.S. This projection does not include any air traffic management initiatives that could be developed in the coming decades.

Airbus also foresees a new method for takeoff, with renewably powered propelled acceleration allowing aircraft to climb steeper and reach cruise altitude faster. This in turn would allow airports to build shorter runways and minimize land use.

Once in cruise, aircraft should be able to self-organize and select the most efficient routes, says Airbus. On dense routes, aircraft could fly in formation, like birds, to take advantage of drag reduction opportunities.

In Airbus’ vision, aircraft will descend without using engine power or air brakes and would be able to decelerate quicker and to a lower final approach speed enabling them to use shorter runways.

On the ground, Airbus proposes autonomously and renewably powered carriages that would move the aircraft from runways to gates or parking positions. This would enable them to shut down the engines quickly after landing and save on fuel consumption.

Fuel is a key component of Airbus’ proposal, and the manufacturer says the use of biofuels hydrogen, electricity and solar energy will be required to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.

Details of the proposals will be presented on Thursday evening in London.

More in Aviation Week:

Peter’s Comment

Airbus has come up with some interesting concepts here, but conspicuous by its absence is any suggestion of future supersonic airliners. At one time it was proposed that airliners would be so fast in the future that they would cruise in inverted orbit.

The concept of flying in formation on busy routes is not beyond the realms of future possibility and will be a natural extension, aided by precision technology, of what is happening now with approaching and departing parallel runways.

The ‘autonomously and renewably powered carriages’ could be improved versions of today’s terminal tractors, but all of that may be unnecessary after a complete rethinking of optimum airport designs.

The ideal airport of the future may well abandon the principle of designated runways as we know them now and be replaced by a circular layout with terminal facilities on a lower level at the airport’s center. This layout would allow aircraft to always land and take-off into the wind with minimum taxiing time.

There should be no doubt that future airliners will have lower take-off and landing speeds as well as higher cruising speeds. The flight envelop has been expanding progressively ever since the Wright Brothers first flew with a gap of about two knots between stalling speed and maximum speed.

With books like these holding your attention
you will never notice that you are flying inverted