Singapore Airshow is currently taking place in Asia, and some companies withdraw their participation at the last minute, and surely attendee figures are taking a hit too. Airbus unveiled a plane prototype that the airspace company’s future lab has been working on several years that would be more fuel-efficient and (perhaps) spacious.
“Initially, many dismissed the MAVERIC project as merely a ‘hobby,’ or, in other words, a project Airbus wouldn’t learn very much from,” explains Adrien Bérard, MAVERIC Project Co-Leader. “So we had to prove them wrong by showing that we could deliver a very sound basis for future aircraft configuration.”
And the ten-person MAVERIC project team, part of the Flight Lab team within Airbus UpNext in Toulouse, did just that. In less than three years, the MAVERIC concept went from a simple sketch to a 3D computer-generated model to an aircraft demonstrator. In June 2019, the remote-controlled demonstrator took to the skies for the first time.
For Airbus, the demonstrator’s potential to deliver real environmental performance benefits is of significant interest: approximately 20% less fuel burn compared to current single-aisle models with the same engine. The spacious configuration also opens up the design space, enabling the possible integration of various other types of propulsion systems. In addition, noise is expected to be significantly reduced thanks to a “shielded” engine that is mounted above the central body.
And, if commercialised, a MAVERIC-inspired aircraft could significantly improve the passenger experience. A blended wing body design provides an exceptionally comfortable cabin layout, enabling passengers to benefit from additional legroom and larger aisles for more personal comfort.
“At Airbus, we understand society expects more from us in terms of improving the environmental performance of our aircraft,” explains Adrien. “MAVERIC’s blended wing body configuration is a potential game-changer in this respect, and we’re keen to push the technology to the limit.” And don’t forget to check 10 Modern Flying Cars.