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Posted: 8/13/2015 5:05:24 PM EDT
Right now it is more fuel efficiency.

Will there be a point where the returns won't matter much? Is faster travel what's next?
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 5:36:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 5:38:27 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 5:45:41 PM EDT
When the search for better efficiency finally overcomes the reluctance of passengers to accept anything but a "tube with wings" we'll see blended wing body designs.  That's pretty far off in the future though.  Even the most amazingly high tech commercial aircraft today is a moderate evolution of the good old 707.  

For business travel, faster might actually become a reality.  Gulfstream is working slowly towards that goal.

http://savannahnow.com/exchange/2014-08-18/gulfstream-moving-toward-supersonic-jet
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 5:48:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/13/2015 5:52:04 PM EDT by AJ_Dual]
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 5:51:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/13/2015 5:52:35 PM EDT by avmech]
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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/VFW-Fokker_614

Engines on top of the wings not a new idea
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 5:54:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/13/2015 6:01:39 PM EDT by Chairborne]
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Originally Posted By AJ_Dual:
More composites, more fly-by-wire, more advanced more computerized avionics, more automation. Tweaking and eeking ever more bits of efficiency out of engines and aerodynamics.

What I think you WILL NOT see is any major changes to the basic planform of commercial aircraft, anything radical like blended-wing lifting bodies, bit delta wings, canards, high capacity supersonic transports.  Stuff we all see design sketches of, but never come to fruition.

If any of that would really pay off, we'd be doing it already.




I don't think "passenger reluctance" has much to do with it. It's just the simple engineering challenges of pressurizing anything but a "tube with wings".  And if you make a tube inside the lifting body, then you've got duplicated effort in terms of mass and weight for the outside aerodynamic shape, vs. the pressure compartment inside.  Granted, there is resistance to losing windows etc. or ever longer rows with no windows, but then the super wide body planes like the 747, and the A380 wouldn't have succeeded already if that was the case.
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Originally Posted By AJ_Dual:
More composites, more fly-by-wire, more advanced more computerized avionics, more automation. Tweaking and eeking ever more bits of efficiency out of engines and aerodynamics.

What I think you WILL NOT see is any major changes to the basic planform of commercial aircraft, anything radical like blended-wing lifting bodies, bit delta wings, canards, high capacity supersonic transports.  Stuff we all see design sketches of, but never come to fruition.

If any of that would really pay off, we'd be doing it already.

Originally Posted By Chairborne:
When the search for better efficiency finally overcomes the reluctance of passengers to accept anything but a "tube with wings" we'll see blended wing body designs.  That's pretty far off in the future though.  Even the most amazingly high tech commercial aircraft today is a moderate evolution of the good old 707.  

For business travel, faster might actually become a reality.  Gulfstream is working slowly towards that goal.

http://savannahnow.com/exchange/2014-08-18/gulfstream-moving-toward-supersonic-jet



I don't think "passenger reluctance" has much to do with it. It's just the simple engineering challenges of pressurizing anything but a "tube with wings".  And if you make a tube inside the lifting body, then you've got duplicated effort in terms of mass and weight for the outside aerodynamic shape, vs. the pressure compartment inside.  Granted, there is resistance to losing windows etc. or ever longer rows with no windows, but then the super wide body planes like the 747, and the A380 wouldn't have succeeded already if that was the case.


We seem to have solved the oddly shaped pressure compartment with the B-2 (and quite a few other aircraft, actually).  The problem with the "flying wing" shape is you can't simply stretch/shorten it and add more or less powerful engines to make 3-9 variants of the same tube w/wings.  The lack of windows are a bigger deal than you imagine, people don't want to spend 12 hours in a vehicle with no outward viewing ability.  Of course monitors could easily solve that these days.  

Boeing has been playing around with the idea for quite some time:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/research/X-48B/

With Obama's proposed emission controls on commercial aircraft and more and more stringent noise regs, something like the BWB may be required in the future, like it or not.
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 6:00:28 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 6:02:25 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 6:07:31 PM EDT
Actually, the pressurized part of the B-2 is not too far of a departure from a tube design.  Remember that the crew compartment on it is pretty small and that most of the plane is not pressurized.  For a flying wing passenger aircraft more or less the entire aircraft, less the wings themselves, has to be pressurized.

Link Posted: 8/13/2015 9:13:17 PM EDT
No more pilots.
Link Posted: 8/13/2015 9:22:35 PM EDT
continuous better wing designs slowly



I'd bet the next big stuff will be changes in engine design.  there are some interesting changes in turbine design that are increasing efficiency quite a bit
Link Posted: 8/14/2015 6:16:07 PM EDT
Not commercial but business.
http://www.aerionsupersonic.com/
Link Posted: 8/14/2015 9:25:36 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By JQ66:
Not commercial but business.
http://www.aerionsupersonic.com/
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and personal transportation if Terrfugia has their way.
Link Posted: 8/17/2015 12:03:37 AM EDT
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LoL.     2004 called.  They want their "new" jet back.



Going forward, composites and CAD/CAM should lead to cheaper ways to build airplanes.   - but, we all know how that works in the real world of aviation.  

I'm hoping for a breakthrough in powerplant technology.    Imagine a  777 sized airplane driven by one of the LM fusion reactors.  Four electric powered fans.    Quiet, reliable, and you fuel it once a year.  
Link Posted: 8/17/2015 12:10:37 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Chairborne:
When the search for better efficiency finally overcomes the reluctance of passengers to accept anything but a "tube with wings" we'll see blended wing body designs.  That's pretty far off in the future though.  Even the most amazingly high tech commercial aircraft today is a moderate evolution of the good old 707.  

For business travel, faster might actually become a reality.  Gulfstream is working slowly towards that goal.

http://savannahnow.com/exchange/2014-08-18/gulfstream-moving-toward-supersonic-jet
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That has absolutely nothing to do with it.    Passengers would climb into a Klingon Bird of Prey, if it meant saving $20 a ticket.    

Do you think the Airforce is worried about what their passengers might think?  If there was a big efficiency advantage to a flying wing, C-17's would be shaped like a B-2

  There's a lot of practical reasons that airplanes are shaped the way they are.   Performance, Handling,  Servicing, Loading, Repairing, etc, etc.
Link Posted: 8/17/2015 12:16:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2015 12:16:23 AM EDT by HeavyMetal]
Link Posted: 8/17/2015 1:09:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2015 1:47:51 AM EDT by BillofRights]
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Originally Posted By HeavyMetal:


That is early 70s tech and late 70s tech.

It is the advancements in composites that is making the blended wing designs feasible.
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Originally Posted By HeavyMetal:
If there was a big efficiency advantage to a flying wing, C-17's would be shaped like a B-2


That is early 70s tech and late 70s tech.

It is the advancements in composites that is making the blended wing designs feasible.


I was responding to the idea that Passengers preference is holding back progress.  That simply isn't the case.   Commercial Aviation is all about efficiency and practicality.  

I fully agree that airplanes may morph into the flying wing design as soon as manufacturing, power plant and controls make it efficient.
Link Posted: 8/17/2015 9:33:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/17/2015 12:06:50 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
A320 Replacement Concept
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That's an ugly plane.
Link Posted: 8/17/2015 12:12:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2015 6:15:13 PM EDT
Electric motors.  That will completely revolutionize the design possibilities and make travel safer and cheaper.  Electric will jumpstart general aviation again.  
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