Researchers at NASA have developed a flying wing aircraft that may pave the way to much more affordable airfares. The new X-48C uses 50% less fuel than standard planes and is based on the X-48B Blended Wing Body Aircraft, which flew 92 NASA Dryden flights between ‘07 and ‘10. The new aircraft is a fuel-efficient, low-noise hybrid wing design.
The method behind the efficiency is the ultra-high bypass ratio engine, which the team says could use half the amount of fuel as a conventional aircraft. It also reduces the weight by 25% with a flatter structure, which is light enough to be practical but does pose a few challenges in the building process.
Don’t hold off on any vacations in the hope of grabbing one of these flights just yet, however, as it could take up to 10 years for the technology to be implemented into commercial planes.
Current developments are scheduled to be completed by 2015, which includes a 30-foot-wide, two-level pressurized structure that will enhance the manufacturing process. If all goes well, it could make traveling a much more pleasant and affordable experience.
Image credit: Boeing/Robert Ferguson