There are some bold new ideas coming from the Airline Industry that are paving the future of aviation. Industry giants are already trying to maximize power output and efficiency while simultaneously cutting down on emissions. Governments around the world are zeroing-in on the Airline industry, stressing more fuel-efficient engines as well as limiting heat-trapping emissions. Newer technologies that quite literally give new shape to airplanes are revolutionizing the industry, as industry leaders like Airbus and Boeing increase efforts to create lighter flight. Newcomers like Honda are already rattling feathers with their new 17% more fuel efficient Hondajet HA-420, signaling to industry leaders that fuel-efficient technology is now the new norm. However in years to come, even greater innovations are being planned, surely reshaping the Aerospace industry as we know it. Here are a few:
Alternatives to fuel-dependency: Cheaper and Cleaner Flying
Costs of fuel often influence the airline industry’s commercial markets. When the cost of gas skyrockets, so does the cost of flying. Alternative sources of fuel are currently being tested in the hopes of one day mitigating, and maybe even eliminating our fuel dependency. NASA recently tested the use of biomass fuels. Although currently more expensive than conventional jet fuel, a biomass blend fuel tested for 50% less soot emissions. Solar-powered hybrids have already traveled on intercontinental flights, while Hydrogen-powered planes are being theorized and planned as we speak. Such technologies can bring about an era of 100% emission free aviation.
Industry leaders are not only hoping for cleaner flight, but also for flight to be faster. No civilian passengers have flown on supersonic jets since the Concorde’s retirement in 2003. Commercial Supersonic flight is suspected to revolutionize the airline industry. Despite the scientific, economic, and even political hurdles commercial supersonic flight faces, the rewards are quite appealing. For example, supersonic jet plans now in the works hope to cut commercial travel time by almost half, making flying much more accessible once the paradigm shifts. Plans are in the works for jets to travel speeds of up to Mach 4. Such speeds would carry passengers from Tokyo to Los Angeles in just under two and half hours.
Anyone passionate about aviation can easily get excited about the direction the industry is moving. Although the future is impressive, it is important that we temper expectations, as many of these innovations are still in its infant stages. For the moment, we can look forward to cleaner skies, and fuller pockets when travelling into the wild blue yonder.