Advances in aviation technology will see the elimination of fossil fuels and introduction of virtual reality headsets in aircraft capable of carrying up to 1,000 passengers, by the middle of the century according to Airport Parking and Hotels (APH).
The company partnered with specialists in aircraft design at Imperial College London to create a computerised 3D model that shows what the future of air travel will realistically look like within the next 30 to 40 years.
It reveals that aircraft are likely to become almost unrecognisable compared to the models of today, adopting a new design of blended-wing-bodies with larger wings, which can include extra cabin space and a wider fuselage with vastly increased capacity.
Power will come from a mixture of small biofuel engines and fans powered by electric motors which means that traditional kerosene fuel will be a thing of the past and aircraft will produce a fraction of the emissions currently produced by complete gas turbine propulsion. The new aircraft will feature turboelectric motors above the fuselage; locating the motors here takes advantage of aerodynamic advantages such as boundary layer ingestion – sucking in the viscous layer of air between the atmosphere and the aircraft body – reducing drag. It will also provide a more pleasant flying experience, with much more space, transparent LCD screens built into the cabin walls to mimic windows and wraparound virtual reality headsets built into the seats.
Meanwhile, the larger cabins will allow for more space for in-flight bars, together with separate lounge areas to allow passengers to venture from their seats and socialise more freely during their journeys.
The research also gives examples of how some airports are already leading the way in efficiency, such as Cochin International Airport in India, which gets 100% of its energy from solar panels.
All information, designs and details for the future of flying are available at aph.com/community/aph-future-of-flight