Animals have long-inspired innovative engineering designs
as they’ve evolved perfectly, as nature intended. This provides the ideal
solution to environmental challenges, something European manufacturer, Airbus, hopes
to achieve as they revealed a brand new concept hybrid-electric aircraft.
Liam Fox, UK Secretary of State for International
Trade, unveiled the “Bird of Prey” concept at the Royal International
Air Tattoo air show last month. At first glance, it is evident that this new
hybrid-electric aircraft got its inspiration eagles, hawks and other aerial
predators. Airbus revealed this new concept aircraft with the intention of
inspiring the next-generation of aeronautical engineers.
Aviation connects the world by continuously transporting
people and goods across the globe in no time at all. While it may appear
efficient, climate change has become a clear topic of debate in society due to
a concern over plane emissions.
Large manufacturers in aerospace and aviation are investing
more in sustainability as emission targets are increasing. A bold move by Rolls-Royce
buying the electric aerospace arm of Siemens clearly shows this intent. In
fact, this acquisition could speed up electrification in the aviation sector.
A flying taxi is once again taking centre stage as
Alaka’i Technologies have developed the Skai prototype. It is a hydrogen-powered
eVTOL flying taxi with an impressive 400-mile range that can comfortably seat
five passengers. What’s more is that they are actually in the process of getting
FAA certification which means it could be in our skies sooner than we think.
Considered as the world’s first real hybrid airplane,
the Faradair BEHA (Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft) is a “triple box-wing design
concept”. It’s a clever combination of electric motors and a bio-diesel engine
fitted with several energy saving and recovery technologies. This includes solar
panels on all flight surfaces and high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities.
The concept was first realised back in 2014 when UK
firm, Faradair, proposed a Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft (BEHA). They have now announced
that their plans are in place for a small BEHA airliner. The hybrid aircraft
could be ready to take flight in 2025 as one of the world’s most
environmentally friendly airplanes.
China continues to impress with their latest innovation, new stealth combat drones known as Tian Ying (CH-7). It featured at the air show in Zhuhai, a biannual event that showcases China’s latest developments in military and civilian aviation. There were several Chinese state-owned arms companies also displaying their drones. It appears China is investing heavily in unmanned aircraft with plans to develop drones capable of flying from one of its future aircraft carriers. Could this be a role for the CH-7 to fulfil?
According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, more than 350 private Chinese firms are now capable of making unmanned aerial, surface or ground vehicles. Continue reading →