Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Airplane of the Future?

The future is a curious thing, who knows what people will wear, what kind of homes they will live in, what new gadgets they will use. It's a mystery only to be revealed as it becomes the present (deep enough for you?) However, Airbus is giving us a preview of what the future of air travel may look like.

The company revealed pictures and computer-generated video of what planes will look like in the year 2050--or at least what it predicts for the future The plane shows a long fuselage with duel fins on each side of the tail area, giving it a futuristic look. Airbus told reporters that it wants to do away with first- business- and coach-class, and instead offer zones for relaxation, activities and work.

The impressive images show uneeded seats at the rear of the plane collapsing, while the rest of the seats are moved to provide travelers more legroom (stretching out will be easier than ever) and the seats will morph to fit passengers' bodies (no more worrying about accommodating larger people or passengers getting angry about having to purchase a second seat if they do not meet a certain weight requirement). One of the most noteworthy features is that the aircraft will be built of "intelligent" materials that turn from solid to transparent on command, giving passengers a panoramic view of the sky. (I don't know about anyone else, but this would scare me just a little bit. I find comfort in the confines of the opaque cabin.)

As far as those "zones" are concerned, there are various ideas that Airbus proposed. The "vitalizing zone" is meant for relaxation, incorporating mood lighting, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments. The "tech zone" will offer corportate travelers a space to connect with their offices or clients via computers or other devices. The "interactive zone" will be in the center of the cabin and allow passengers to play a round of golf through a virtual projection. (I assume other sports or games could also be played. Round of tennis at 30,000 feet anyone?)

Of course, these are all just grand dreams envisioned by company engineers and whether we will see any of these features in future planes will depend greatly on both the quality of the technology and whether airlines will decide to purchase this impressive--and can we say slightly unrealistic--jet of the future.

For a better idea of Airbus' concept future plane, check out this video:

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