Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine
What will passenger airplanes be like in the future? To help brain storm desirable and workable attributes, NASA sponsors design competitions. Shown here is an artist’s depiction of a concept plane that has been recently suggested.
This futuristic plane would be expected to achieve supersonic speeds, possibly surpassing the speeds of the supersonic transport planes that ran commercially in the late twentieth century. In terms of noise reduction, the future aircraft has been drawn featuring an inverted V wing stretched over its engines. The structure is intended to reduce the sound from annoying sonic booms. Additionally, future airplanes would aim to have relatively little impact on our environment, including green limits on pollution and fuel consumption. Aircraft utilizing similar design concepts might well become operational by the 2030s.
Beauty of Future Airplanes is More than Skin Deep
An 18-month NASA research effort to visualize the passenger airplanes of the future has produced some ideas that at first glance may appear to be old fashioned. Instead of exotic new designs seemingly borrowed from science fiction, familiar shapes dominate the pages of advanced concept studies which four industry teams completed for NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program in April 2010.
Look more closely at these concepts for airplanes that may enter service 20 to 25 years from now and you’ll see things that are quite different from the aircraft of today.
Just beneath the skin of these concepts lie breakthrough airframe and propulsion technologies designed to help the commercial aircraft of tomorrow fly significantly quieter, cleaner, and more fuel-efficiently, with more passenger comfort, and to more of America’s airports.