Airbus has unveiled a bird of prey like hybrid-electric concept airliner with feathered wings.
Inspired by the efficient mechanics of a bird, the a 80-seater, 1,500km range hybrid-electric regional airliner has wing and tail structures that mimic those of a bird of prey, while featuring individually controlled feathers that provide active flight control.
Using technology now under development, the Bird of Prey could provide a 30-50% reduction in fuel burn compared to equivalent aircraft today.
Airbus unveiled the concept at the Royal International Air Tattoo air show being held at RAF Fairford today.
The aim of the concept plane is to inspire and motivate the next generation of aeronautical engineers.
Airbus says its “Bird of Prey” is based on realistic ideas – “providing an insight into what a future regional aircraft could look like.”
It includes a blended wing-to-fuselage joint that mirrors the graceful and aerodynamic arch of an eagle or falcon, the design represents the potential of biomimicry – the design and production of materials, structures and systems inspired by nature).
Martin Aston, a senior manager at Airbus.
“Our ‘Bird of Prey’ is designed to be an inspiration to young people and create a ‘wow’ factor that will help them consider an exciting career in the crucially-important aerospace sector.
One of the priorities for the entire industry is how to make aviation more sustainable – making flying cleaner, greener and quieter than ever before.
We know from our work on the A350 XWB passenger jet that through biomimicry, nature has some of the best lessons we can learn about design.
Who can’t help but be inspired by such a creation?”
The Bird of Prey concept was unveiled at the Royal International Air Tattoo event to “underscore the UK’s aerospace industry leadership” it is also highlighting the 50thanniversary of Airbus as an aircraft manufacturer.
The conceptual design initiative is backed by the GREAT Britain campaign, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Air League, the Institution of Engineering and the Technology and Aerospace Technology Institute.