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on Jul 29, 2016

The future is more likely to be round fuselages and bigger bypass engines. Aviation is very conservative, and money talks. So the idea of blended wings in the next 75years is highly unlikely. I expect we'll see 737s and A320s still being built in another 30years.

on Jul 29, 2016

@whiteadd spot on. Aircraft managers don't do revolutionary design. Airlines still fly 707 and 727's!

on Jul 29, 2016

Not if you can make it cheaper and/or sell it easier. Money DOES talk and usually beats conservatism.

on Jul 29, 2016

Blended-wing designs have been around since the 1930s, and have yet to see production.

on Jul 29, 2016

Not only is aviation very conservative, physics doesn't change much. There's a lot to be said for a tube with wings; pretty aerodynamic, easy to make.

There's a lot to be said for "current" designs. They work.

If there was some overriding advantage in a different design, then we'd have been building it long ago.

Look at rockets. For a long time, nothing but glorified tubes full of fuel with engines at the bottom end. Someone comes along and says, "no, it should look like a very un-aerodynamic aircraft", it's built, put into service, works reasonably well despite some tragic disasters but at enormous cost, so now it's back to the good ol' tube o' fuel.

I defy anyone to make a workable supersonic airliner that doesn't look a lot like Concorde.

One thing that could work is the P&W lots-of-engines idea. Make the service items common (oil tanks, etc), and there's not much operating cost implication but potentially a lot of performance benefit.

on Jul 29, 2016

However, technology and innovation marches on. New materials and manufacturing techniques are developed every day. If the new airframe can be manufactured, and the business plan can be devised that supports that equation in cargo transport, or passenger service, then it has a chance. Maybe not KC-y but certainly KC-Z competition could very easily see this come to pass. Perhaps the C-130 replacement in a couple of decades could look like this.

on Jul 29, 2016

You're correct in that current designs are simple and relatively easy to make so the resulting pressure to improve them is minimal. Where I think the industry needs to be paying attention is on the need for air travel itself.

Self-driving cars, drones, hyper-loops, virtual reality... It's getting easier and easier to move people, things and information. While some of these technologies have been a long time in the making, some are already coming online. Who is to say that in 20 years innovation in industries outside of aerospace won't make flying an unnecessary luxury?

on Nov 25, 2016

A next gen supersonic airliner will look only superficially like the Concorde, in that they will be aerodynamically low drag compared to subsonic transport aircraft.

I expect that the R&D going into wings with flexible shapes, greatly strengthened and more structurally efficient using carbon composites, will make much of what is found on a Concorde airframe be positively ancient looking.

on Jul 29, 2016

Exactly! Blended body and wing designs--like the British bomber of the fifties, is 50 to 100 years from appearing. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that the commercial industry likes to build things of proven technology. They like to plan ahead. Everything on the drawing boards today, covering air-frames and engines to well into the 2030's, are of conventional design.
Lifting body designs produce large amounts of drag. Great for re-entry, not so great for cruising, speed or economy.
If you can find a way to use lifting body designs at say, 100,000 ft. then they might be practical. Their low stall speeds would be great for landing!
But you have to find an efficient way to get up that high, and an engine that can operate within those parameters? With the exception of the engines on the SR-71, really do not practically exist.
I did not forget the B-2! A flying wing design for an air-liner? Try and design an airport for that! Or imagine seating 20 or more abreast--with no windows.I can't see it...

on Jul 31, 2016

One of the biggest disadvantages of blended wings is passenger comfort. Without the shock absorber effect of bending wings, the ride would be many times harsher. Simple fact!

on Nov 25, 2016

You overstate the effect of your so-called "shock absorber effect". Turbulence is nothing more or less than abrupt changes in vertical velocity of the air mass through which the aircraft is passing, which acts on the entire aircraft and not just the wing. It is only the wingtips, the outermost portion of the wing that flexes significantly, which accounts for only a small portion of the wing area, and the overall wing area is only a portion of the effective horizontal surface of the entire aircraft.

on Dec 7, 2016

DIRT, I don't buy that for a second. I spent a lot of hours being slapped around in the boom pod over a 29 year career. Flexing up and down/side to side/ the entire airframe flexed. F-4's would laugh, saying that my wings were flapping.

on Dec 6, 2016

.

on Dec 15, 2016

Also, having access to windows to see the outside world is very good, which is more difficult with blended wings.

on Dec 12, 2016

I am actually developing a blended wing design, now.

on Jul 29, 2016

Affordable space and suborbital transportation with reusable spaceplane with turboramjetrocket propulsion, based on REL heat exchanger tecnology. .

on Jul 29, 2016

Very heavy lift at very low cost transforms world economies. Presented AIAA no fatal problem suggested that it would not fly or would not be profitable. Novel configuration see paper animation artist illustration of some operational principles, animation at ConcordLift.com.

on Jul 29, 2016

No Lighter than Air? I was surprised to see that LTA was not part of the list (especially after the article/discussion earlier this week).

I think there is an opportunity for outsized cargo movement using airships for logging, mining and drilling operations. Along with that, there's a lot of opportunities for upper altitude balloons for experimentation, reconnaissance and communications.

I realize that these are all niche applications, but ones that LTA shows promise.

on Aug 1, 2016

LTA also has promise for passenger operations. No jet lag, a relaxed Atlantic crossing of 2+ days, maybe even windows that open& let fresh air in; time to socialize with fellow passengers, and maybe a lot of cargo helping pay the way.

on Nov 24, 2016

Relaxed Atlantic crossing providing there is no weather. Seasickness was routine on liners and airsickness was routine on piston airliners...

on Aug 2, 2016

@myke.predko: I totally agree; 'was just about to ask the same question before spotting your response...
@btbor: Lovely concept i.e. "windows that open and let fresh air in"... Indeed I expect LTA for passenger use to be more like going on a cruise ship i.e. it will be primarily about pleasure... An air cruise holiday around the world; don't you just love the sound of that?...

on Jul 29, 2016

People are assuming the manufacturing techniques will stay unchanged. Blended wing body will stop being exotic as composite manufacturing evolves. Not to mention 3d printing.

on Jul 29, 2016

The thing that has pissed me off, was how the 787 a brand new state of the art fly-by-wire plane, still has a yoke! It serves no purpose on a FBW plane, compared to a rods and pullies, boaster assist plane. F-16 already proved a joystick works fine and the C-17 proves it works fine in heavy planes. Why do they insist on making modern new FBW planes with a yoke, when all the current kids, up and coming generation of pilots and young pilots grew up with joysticks, thumb sticks and video games.

I understand the need for current older pilots need to be able to go from older generation of planes to the new ones and it's EASIER this way. But they have a mandatory retirement age, and what's left is the newer generation pilots that grew up in the digital age and being stuck with the unnecessary yoke.

on Aug 1, 2016

Some theorize that the Air France stall into the South Atlantic would not have occurred with yokes because what one pilot was doing would have been immediately obvious to not only the other but the Captain when he entered the cockpit. About ten years ago at Aero Friedrichshafen, a professor of aeronautics at the University of Munich said to me "The biggest complaint I hear from Captains is that they can't tell what the first officer is doing" (by watching their side stick controller) because (a) his side stick controller does not move in unison with the other, and (b) even if it did, the movements are so small small compared to a yoke that it wouldn't be much help. The Airbus was designed by computer weenies who thought they knew better than pilots, and wanted to keep them out of the loop as much as possible. Big mistake.

on Aug 2, 2016

That's not the joysticks issues, it's more of how they are connected on the plane issues. For example the C-17's FBW Joystick is connected under the floor so that both sides mimic each other no matter what. If this same approach is done for the side sticks, where they are connected down through the panel they are mounted on and under the floor, it would do the same exact thing the C-17's does and what you described.(Which Honestly should be retro fitted)

So it's more of cheap weight saving's won out over "Lets make sure both pilots know what they are doing at all times for safety..." All Digital design. McDonald Douglass came up with a great Digital FBW Joystick set up, that SHOULD be mimicked by others, yet it's not.

It doesn't matter if it's: Yoke, Joystick, or what every that half cross batman looking thing that Embraer uses, just as long as the pilot and co pilots controls are hard connected somehow and know what they are both doing and CAN'T fight each other in different directions.

The Yoke has been used since early 1900's of first flight when it was needed, it's time to use Joysticks on new generations of planes...just as long as the two pilots controls are hard connected to each other for safety.

on Nov 25, 2016

It's strange that you're so emotionally involved ("pissed off") by the form factor of the control stick. There's no single right or wrong way to design a stick. In fact, it doesn't even need to be a "stick" at all - it could be a track ball, a sensor pad, or sensors attached to the pilot's headset.

In any event, side sticks suffer from two really limiting restrictions:

1) the spacial movements for a given angular control input are very small, requiring considerably more precise control inputs .. and also make it difficult if not impossible for visual confirmation by another pilot on the flight deck of what the pilot flying is doing with the controls (that was a very big issue in the AF 447 accident).

2) It is more difficult (but not impossible) to mechanically link the two sticks, which also was a critical issue in the AF447 incident.

There's nothing new or modern about sidesticks ... they're just a stick, just like the very earliest Wright flyer used, and as did most aircraft until yolks and wheels began to be standard in the 1930s.

It's likely worth some R&D into the human factors involved with design flight controls. Maybe something nobody has yet conceived may prove superior in an aviation world dominated by fly-by-wire and fully-automated programmable flight controls.

on Nov 26, 2016

I'm passionate about it since I'm part of the generation that grew up with video games and playing Flight Sim's with a Joystick like many others that are of age to fly and in many years the millennial generation will be right be us. They ONLY know of sticks and touch screen, so introducing them to early 1900's technology to fly B787's, A350's, and other newer generation of plans, that are thus far the most advanced flying, they are going to wonder why this old antiquated system is still being used? And the typically answered that is given now "Because it's always been that way..." is not going to cut it, where they is technologically no reason for it.

-Your "1) point" is backwards, the small movements are done easier and more precise with a joystick vs. a yoke. To make a minor adjustment on a yoke requires you to rotate it up or down by a couple inches. To make the same adjustment on a joystick requires simply turning your wrist slight left or right. The same input is sent to the flight controls either way, but it's the same principle of a wheel turning, the closer to the center it is, the least it has to travel.

- Point 2)" you are also off on that. The technology has existed in production since the 70's. Space shuttle, B-1A/B, C-17A all use Stick and both Pilot and Co Pilot's are connected in all three(Prob More Examples out there). So if the Space shuttle gliding back to Earth and Mach 22, the B-1B doing high speed low levels, and the C-17 a massive tactical transporter flying low levels for combat and manovering like aplane half its size and still able to cruise up high like a regular airliner have no issues, then sticking it on a less demanding airliner is a no brainer. So mechanically connecting both sticks are not new, not hard and don't require any additional R&D since they exist already, but for Airbus they would need to do a bit of R&D to retrofit it to older planes, but adding the design to new build planes would be easy.

Also, if you are looking at the other pilots controls why flying, then that means you are not watching the gages like your position would dictate. If they both are connected, you can feel what the other pilot is doing, and would only need to glance over.

on Nov 26, 2016

You missed my point entirely. Small, minute movements of the stick are impossible to observe and evaluate. The pilot not flying has a vested interest in being able to discern what the pilot flying is doing with the flight controls. It's called "crew resource management" by the FAA, and it means that no pilot in a multi-pilot flight crew is solely entitled to manipulate the flight controls. No matter who is manipulating the controls the other pilot is entitled, legally and professionally and morally and ethically to question how the PF is doing his/her job. That is the essence of CRM.

Being passionate about joysticks is just weird, sorry, get over yourself and your silly generational self-awareness (most would call it generational narcissism). Being a gamer has exactly zilch to do with being a competent, capable aircraft pilot. Any toddler can learn how to manipulate a joystick ... any infant can learn how to manipulate just about any human-machine interface if it is installed on a toy. My own grandkids learned how to manipulate touchscreen pad computers at age 2. So don't go building any calluses on your back from slapping yourself there on your grand accomplishment of knowing how to manipulate a joystick. Getting potty trained is a much more significant life accomplishment.

on Nov 30, 2016

The pilots Do Not Watch each others movement of the stick/yoke. When PP is flying, the other is monitor the radios and other things and calling things as they happen, that's how they divide up the task, or you get "task saturation" when something happens. And in many cases when at cruise both pilots are not always in the seats at the same time.

CRM is not just for pilots, it includes flight attendants, maintenance personnel and others essential to the safe operation of flight and the effective use of all available resources: human resources, hardware, and information. Your definition is incorrect it does NOT just entitle a person to question how the pilot is doing their job if they are following the checklist and procedures. It lets any crew member question safety of flight to each other when it applies. Many problems encountered by flightcrews have very little to do with the technical aspects of operating in a multi-person cockpit. Instead, problems are associated with poor group decisionmaking, ineffective communication, inadequate leadership, and poor task or resource management. Pilot training programs historically focused almost exclusively on the technical aspects of flying and on an individual pilot’s performance; they did not effectively address crew management issues that are also fundamental to safe flight.

Your babbling makes no sense, I have repeatedly explained to you how it works, given you examples of it working in normal flight, combat situation, extreme situation, and explained how technology has progressed over the years to make things both safe and better, yet you are stuck on some "let's live in the past, never move forward" kick. It's rare that I encounter people that even in the face of facts and proof, just turn a blind eye and go on about something else entirely. I bet you still have a rotary phone since you can physically see it working. Even phones have moved forward with technology improvement from rotary, to analog buttons, to digital key pads to touch screens. As aircraft evolve from "pulleys and cables" to Fly By Wire and optical cable, it makes less and less sense to keep older heavier unnecessary technology onboard, especially when aircraft are getting lighter and more efficiently built.

on Nov 30, 2016

In saying pilots-not-flying do not look at the pilot flying in the event of a flight incident, emergency, or excursion from the normal flight envelope, you reveal that you're obviously not a licensed pilot, just a video game jockey, and you obviously don't understand the slightest thing about crew resource management.

CRM, in the context of professional flight deck operations, has exactly zero to do with flight attendants, mechanics, etc. Your ignorance is astounding - really, give it up dude. The more you write the dumber you sound.

Go back to your vid gamer boards and mouth off about something you actually know something about, instead of professional flight deck operation

on Dec 2, 2016

Your ignorance astounds me, never did I say "pilots not flying do not look at the pilot flying in the event of a flight incident, emergency , or excursion from normal flight envelope..." Now you're just adding what you want to try and justify your point of view due to your lack of understand technology or how CRM/ORM has evolved over the last 20+ years.

"Small, minute movements of the stick are impossible to observe and evaluate..." this was your sole misguided reason for wanting to keep a yoke over a joystick, just because you can't see a "small minute movement" IF you are sitting there watching the other pilot for this just so you can question them, is called micromanagement. A "Small, minute movement" does not justify calling in the competency of the other pilot if they are NOT doing anything unsafe or out of the ordinary. You would be that guy everyone hates to fly with since you would cause undo stress in flight deck, since everyone that flew with you would constantly be worried about what you are going to do and try an basically call "Safety of fight" to stop everything and double check then everyone is indeed following the check list, because that's exactly what you would be doing at that point. A person like you would cause others to always be on edge because they have no idea what you are going to freak out about next and would request not to fly with you if they could help it.

on Dec 2, 2016

"Small, minute movements of the stick are impossible to observe and evaluate. The pilot not flying has a vested interest in being able to discern what the pilot flying is doing with the flight controls. It's called "crew resource management" by the FAA, and it means that no pilot in a multi-pilot flight crew is solely entitled to manipulate the flight controls. No matter who is manipulating the controls the other pilot is entitled, legally and professionally and morally and ethically to question how the PF is doing his/her job. That is the essence of CRM."

on Dec 2, 2016

Rank was taken out the picture long ago so that a junior officer could question a senior officer/captain IF it they felt like they were not doing something correctly or might have missed something that could jeopardize safety, hence "Safety Of Flight". This has evolved over the years to include ALL Air Crew Members, from Flight Engineer, Navigator, Load Master/Boomer, Flight Mechanic and Cabin crew. The reason for this is people get complacent and sometimes someone else might notice something but feel it's not there place to say anything which could have helped prevent something bad, or lead to a catastrophic incident, so now they are instructed to voice their concern if they feel there is one.

on Dec 2, 2016

The way you word things incorrectly and make it out like you have to question everything that goes on no matter how small. I suggest you actually go to the FAA web site and reread ALL documents on CRM old & new. I've had the information repeated to me annually for many years now, including in crew briefings, so it really disgust me how you are just cutting and pasting random part of the information because you are not current on it.

on Dec 15, 2016

With sidesticks the pilot of left seat has to fly with the left hand.

on Dec 15, 2016

A point to think about.

on Jul 30, 2016

I love new technology if it simplify the system and the process. this is lovely on the paper but I prefer the Russian way! that is to say why to change a thing witch is working? Unless the new technology prove that it is better and can be operated in the field!
A good example is the car industry, is it safer or more reliable, safer maybe reliable definitely not. When bulb blow up you've got to go to the workshop and reset it by a laptop what a mess and in the process you are 300$ lighter!
On board electronics and infotaiment system is just adding more mess in a messy situation!

on Jul 30, 2016

is europe doing anything on the 6th generation jet engine r&d (adaptive engine)?

on Jul 30, 2016

It ultimately all comes down to safety so conservative is good, but the elephant in the room is climate change. Lot's of things will have to change for the sake of the next generation.

on Jul 31, 2016

Millions have flown in military transport planes with no windows! Virtual windows on seat backs or on bulk head. Real time 360 degrees. Acceptable for all today.

on Aug 1, 2016

It would be great for passengers to have the recording of the flight on a cloud server!

on Aug 1, 2016

I agree, I HATED l flying with no windows, I always grabbed the seat next to the emergency exit so I could see out and get sun light or what ever, it's so disorienting after 10+ hours.

on Aug 1, 2016

As Clyde Cessna (was reputed to have) said: "Why go up if you can't look down!"

on Nov 25, 2016

Just as most folks had no conception of cruising the internet at FL360 on a commercial airliner - able to do email, social media posts, watch your favorite TV show, the news or sporting event in real time - a mere 10 years ago ... today people are still tied to age old concepts of being able to see outside an aircraft to ancient technology called "windows". VR glasses are already being sold in the millions at cheap consumer prices by the big tech giants like Google .. in a couple of years we'll all be just as accustomed to viewing the real world through wearable sensor technology as we all are today in keeping up 24/7/365 with friends, family, and business associates through handheld devices .. again, which nobody foresaw a decade ago just before Apple came out with the iPhone ("why would anyone need a handheld computer instead of a simple cell phone?").

With wearable sensors, any person in any seat on the aircraft can look anywhere within a 360 degree spherical 3D viewport at anything and everything outside the aircraft. Vastly better views than provided by any cramped, small, nearly always too low airliner window that is only available to the minority of passengers sitting next to a window.

My guess is that, after people have used the wearable sensor displays for a couple of flights, they'll soon be bored and rarely use them except perhaps on takeoffs and landings.

on Aug 1, 2016

=================Much more efficient wings is in the wings.==========

on Aug 1, 2016

A C-5 Sized Blended wing design cargo plane can work, as long as it's marketed right and maintenance is easy to do on it, i.e.: changing engines, wheels, gear pieces, accessing the tail section, the use of space was efficient, and the fuel gains were far ahead of what's used now.

on Nov 25, 2016

Lockheed's new Blended wing melds a C-5 body to a blended wing. very do able with the GE-115's.

on Nov 26, 2016

Absolutely true, but right now, they are focused on a "C-17 Sized" replacement using all that, instead of an outright C-5 replacement sadly. But hell replace both with a comparable sized blended wing design, and it would change how AMC, fly's and carries out missions, not to mention our allies that bought it after seeing it in action.

on Aug 5, 2016

I was disappointed that artificial gravity didn't make the list under "space exploration". It's a perfect example of a technology that will shape the future, even moreso than commercialization, because it is a critical technology which will enable commercialization, in that it will for the first time allow non-astronauts to man microgravity manufacturing and research facilities, and allow orbital hotels to be halfway enjoyable.

on Aug 9, 2016

My own assessments one by one:
Drones: lots of questions... Is this drone application doing something more cost-effectively than current tech? Is the drone doing something that could not be done better/more cost-effly by other new tech? Is the drone doing something new and useful that’s never been done before by other tech? Does a drone have have the right to fly and hover over my property or even to view my property obliquely without my permission? Do I have the right to shoot it down and ask questions later when in doubt? How will we prevent drones being weaponized? Will every drone need to be licensed and inspected regularly? How much will it cost to establish effective-enough drone control/policing/anti-uninvited drone regs and enforcement infrastructure?
I don’t like drones. I do like the idea of training eagles to hunt them down. I’d find myself in a bit of a dilemma if I advocated for a drone that would kill other drones.
UHB engine tech: 1. Is it certain that turbines are the optimal powerplants for the future? What about potential development of advanced recip techs (e.g. Liquid Piston, Fairdiesel, Duke, RadMax...) and efficient high-speed propellers? These have greater potential fuel efficiency and much higher power-to-weight at very high altitudes where future high-fuel-eff airliners could fly, and are much less costly. Indeed, the turbine may be on its way out this century as the powerplant for subsonic air transport.
Laminar Flow: Right on!
Space: Going to Mars? The economic case? Waste of resources needed for more critical techs to increase efficiency and achieve sustainability here on spaceship earth. Rich guys who grew up on Lost in Space and Star Trek pursue their dreams and recirculate their money into the economy, yes, but to what real benefit? Going into space is going to become cheaper, yes, but it’s already very cheap to go to the Sahara Desert and there’s a whole lot more economic benefit there than on Mars.
Teams and Swarms: OMG! Swarms of drones that can more effectively wreak destruction? Airfreighters flying in formation like geese...some sense there.
Remaking Manufacturing: Makes a lot of sense... as long it’s not for making more drones.
Controls and Displays: Good stuff! But please give cost-benefit analysis and thoroughly test for flaws in practicality.
Commercial Space: As with all space tech...Economics arguments? Real, full cost-benefit accounting? Comparisons with terrestrial and airborne alternatives? Space hype factor outweighs rational economics? Space for national or company prestige before real economic benefits? Handfuls of the few who can afford it taking little roller-coaster rides into space to puke and see the curvature of the horizon/fantasize that they have the” right stuff”? Just launch a small expendable rocket equipped with super HD video and real-time link to the internet so that anyone who has a VR headset can plug it in and be there. A space hop for all.
Autonomy Unleashed: Personal aircraft for daily transport...very low-efficiency of total cost and energy per seat-mile + many other issues as noted in article. Much better that we use ebikes, other low-power-short-range EVs and mass transit, and reduce our commuting needs by more office-at-home arrangements. Personal recreational aircraft, cool, but not affordable for the masses...toys for the upper middle class and higher. Please note the article in Scientific American June of this year, re the realities about self-driving cars...self-flying aircraft should be easier, yes, but again back to cost-benefit and efficiency analysis...
Assembly Unchained: Bang on!
Adaptive Engines: See previous comments re UHB.
New Shapes: BWB is not inherently or at least not significantly a more efficient aerodynamic configuration than the good old cruciform. The need is to focus on laminar flow, structural weight reduction, and improved propulsive efficiency for the standard cruciform config. These are the techs that can yield huge improvements, not radical new shapes, but fully-refined old ones.
In-Space Propulsion: Now, here’s one application that makes sense for nuclear power, esp, Fusion-type, but then back to the general question for space: Economics? One important mission: Asteroid interdiction/orbit safetying.
Cockpit Visions: Cool! Flying becomes a VR video game, but will all this gadgetry realy make flying safer-enough to justify its costs and the risks of it malfunctioning?
Supersonics: Better to make greater investments in air transport energy efficiency...super-/hyper- efficiency...super-/hypersonic speed will always be much less efficient than subsonic, communications tech already eliminates the need/possible benefits of faster travel speeds
Electric Dreams: From an efficiency standpoint hybrid airliner propulsion makes little sense...losses in the fuel energy-to-final propulsive energy transformation chain, total system weight and total system complexity. Remember that most aircraft operate at steady speeds over most of their flight and can therefore run engines at/near best SFC (no net benefit from hybrids). Hybrid makes sense for ground vehicles that travel with highly variable speeds and power needs, seldom able to run their engines at best SFC, but hybrid makes no sense for aircraft. Batteries: Both gravimetric and volumetric power and energy density still far lower than for ICEs and practical-enabling metal-air tech still way off, and even if it can deliver on energy density hopes, will it deliver on power density and will it have acceptable lifetime storage costs, charging time turnaround? What about the cost per kWh of electricity for charging from future 100%-renewable 24/7/365 grid? More probable that using RFTS diesel fuel will be less costly per seat/payload weight-km even IF (very big) ever there is a suitable metal-air battery for high-power/long-range aircraft. There are and will be suitable batteries for low-power/short range aircraft, but such aircraft will largely be toys for the few who can afford them, and will not be a significant part of our total transportation system, won’t make any great contributions to efficiency.
Altitude Advantage: Makes much sense but the probable payload weight and bulk limits for long-endurance (solar-powered) vehicles will severely limit applications, better to go with hi-alt aircraft having more speed, more payload but with less endurance for most remote sensing apps, need to explore high-efficiency subsonic electrically-supercharged recip airliners and remote sensing platforms at altitudes of 20km.
THIS, ALONG WITH LAMINAR FLOW, ADVANCED RECIP ENGINES + PROP TECH, AND FULL-EXPLOITATION OF COMPOSITES, IS THE PATH TO THE AIRLINER OF THE FUTURE: VTOL 70-200 SEAT AIRCRAFT THAT WILL BE 10 X MORE FUEL-EFFICIENT THAN CURRENT US FLEET AVERAGE WITH ONLY 10% LOWER SPEED. AIRPLANES WILL REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL AS THE MOST TIME- AND ENERGY-EFFICIENT MODE OF LONG-RANGE TRANSPORT.

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