Amazing New Technology in Aircraft Construction

Planes in and off themselves are amazing feats of technology, but today I saw a couple of different articles about some of the new technology going into the planes at Boeing and Airbus.

The new technology that Boeing is supporting is a new super-light metal that is also super strong.  Just look at the video below and tell me it is not awesome.

This metal is so light it can balance on top of a dandelion.

Posted by The Boeing Store on Friday, September 4, 2015

 

Airbus is continuing to innovate off of their A350 XWB in building their new A330neo.  They are utilizing materials technology from the innovative A350 XWB along with titanium to build lighter and stronger wing boxes and engine pylons.

It is pretty incredible all of the advancements that continue to be made in aviation.  What will be really fun to see is what the next majorly disruptive technology will be.  What do you think we may see in the near future? distant future?

Airbus A350: MinutePhysics Shows How it’s Made in 5 Minutes

If you are not familiar with MinutePhysics then I highly suggest you set aside an hour or two to enjoy some simplified science at its finest.  He does a great job of taking incredibly complex things and simplifying them for those people who want to be a little more educated, but not Sheldon from The Big Band Theory.

In this edition, Henry Reich takes a look at the brand spanking new Airbus A350 which had its first delivery today.  While five minutes is not near enough time to show everything I think he does a pretty fantastic job of describing the overall process.  Personally I am just incredibly jealous of the tours that he got.  I think most of us Avgeeks would give body parts to get the access he did.

Until that day comes enjoy the physics lesson.  The second video was released by Airbus and shows more of the tours themselves.

 

 

kitd.html5loader(“flash_kplayer_10fa2cbb345s”,”http://api.kewego.com/video/getHTML5Thumbnail/?playerKey=2dc869296ecb&sig=10fa2cbb345s”);

How Can Bionics Research Improve Aircraft Design?

When I was younger I was sure I would become an engineer just like my grandpa and my older brother.  I loved science and math, and did quite well which seemed like a perfect fit.  However, it just wasn’t meant to be, and the more stories I read like this one from Airbus just reaffirms to me that I made a wise choice in leaving the engineering to other people.

The article itself is about how Airbus has created a company wide network for their bionic projects to ensure that repetitive work isn’t being done and that the greatest minds are working together to create the best results.  Good for them.

The really cool part of the article is when they talk about some of the incredible technology they have already developed.  One project is working to copy the structure of a lily to make stronger support structures for aircraft parts.  I don’t think most of us look to plants for inspiration on building aircraft parts, but maybe that is why we aren’t engineers.

The other huge technology that is making news not only in the aviation industry but in all kinds of industries is the use of 3-D printing to save weight and reduce costs in manufacturing.  This technology makes it possible to manufacture parts in ways that simply were not possible in the past.  We truly are in an exciting period for aircraft design and manufacturing.

All of these technologies are really starting to come together and complement each other in the development of safer and more efficient aircraft.  As sad as it is to see aircraft like the 747 start to fall in favor, it is pretty exciting to think about what the future may hold.  In reality, most of us probably have no idea what the not to distant future may hold when it comes to new aircraft development.

Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas Competition Inspiring Young Minds

Fly your ideasThis is not the first time that I have written about the Fly Your Ideas competition put on by Airbus, but I feel that it bears repeating as many times as they put forward such an inspiring competition.

We live in a world where innovation is happening at all times, and some of the greatest innovators are young people.  With any luck, one of these ideas may be the next disruptive technology in aviation.

In Round 1, during which teams submit their ideas, Airbus will continue accepting registrations until 1 December.

You can take a look at previous entries in some of my previous posts, including a winner or two.  Suffice it to say that I am a huge supporter of any innovation, especially ones that are inspired by young minds that will carry us into the future.

Fly Your Ideas Competition Finalists

Airbus Changing the Future of Aviation

Full contest information can be found at: www.airbus-fyi.com

Here are images of the finalists from the last competition:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

American Airlines’ New IFE is an Avgeek’s Paradise

I have loved the new livery from day one, but this was my first chance to actually fly in it on this brand new A321S.

I have loved the new livery from day one, but this was my first chance to actually fly in it on this brand new A321S.

There are lots of great sites out there that talk about passenger experience way better than I ever will.  Sites like AirlineReporter, NYCAviation, and APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) will all provide much more in-depth and extensive analysis than I will because they get on amazing planes and experience those amazing trips, and most of my flying is done on a C-130 that is 40+ years old.  Definitely no flight attendants on there.

With that being said I just had to share the most amazing In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) I have ever seen.  I had to drop off a plane for testing purposes (more on that later in the week), and so we had to fly back home commercial.  I got to fly on my favorite airline (American) coming home, and this experience just deepened my love.

The great trip started with using TSA PreCheck for the first time.  It reminded me of what it was like to go through security before TSA, long long ago.  It was smooth and fast.  Don’t worry I still am not a fan of TSA.

The real joy started when I got to the gate and saw that we would be on a brand spanking new Airbus A321S that had the new American livery.  I know it has been out forever, and that a ton of the planes have it, but like I said I don’t fly commercial often, and this was my first time.  You never forget your first.

Final approach into DFW looks pretty cool digitally as it is actually flown.

Final approach into DFW looks pretty cool digitally as it is actually flown.

The experience got even better when I got on the plane and saw what was on every seat-back in the plane.  I honestly don’t know the name of the system, who provides it, or any of the system specs even after looking through American’s site to try to find it, but I can tell you that it was awesome.

Everything was handled on the touch screen to include turning on the overhead light, and even ordering your drinks and such which could be used on other flights, though it wasn’t on ours.  There were tons of entertainment options to include music, movies, and TV shows with several different packages to choose from depending on what you are looking for.  I’ll be honest, I’m a cheap skate so I didn’t buy any of it, but there was a free feature that kept me thoroughly entertained when I wasn’t enjoying the company next to me.

For as long as I can remember flying commercial I have always loved watching the digital portrayal of where my flight was headed.  Even though the numbers really don’t change much in cruise I still love to see the altitude, airspeed, time to destination, and other aspects of the flight.  I know all of you amazing Avgeeks get it.

While even a rudimentary map can keep me occupied for hours, this thing is a moving map on steroids.  There were about ten different views that you could switch between including a cockpit view that was accentuated by a heads up display with the associated flight parameters displayed.  You also have the ability to zoom in and out, rotate the map, and tilt the map in any number of ways to get the view you are looking for.  It did take a minute to figure out how to do all of those things, but it was really similar to a lot of tablets.

The plane always looks huge no matter how tight you zoom, but at an airport this big it is fun to watch it taxi.

The plane always looks huge no matter how tight you zoom, but at an airport this big it is fun to watch it taxi.

As you can see from a couple of the pictures that I took it can make for a pretty entertaining experience, especially in the terminal area around the airport.  It was really fun watching a virtual simulation of our approach as it was actually happening.  Even with the slight delay it was a lot of fun.  My friend (a pilot) did point out that we landed a little long based on the moving map, but on those giant runways it really doesn’t matter much.  It was also fun to switch to the overhead view and watch as we taxied to the terminal, though it wasn’t totally precise and it looked like we were taxiing in between taxiways at times.

I know this is far from your typical passenger experience article, but if you love planes and other avgeek stuff as much as I do I really hope that you get a chance to see this system.  I really can’t convey how cool it was through words or pictures.  You really need to get your hands on it and have some fun.  If you have gotten the chance to see it I would love to hear what you thought about it in the comments below.