Airbus’ Star Wars-like plane catches eyes at Singapore show, but it has more than just looks

FE Online
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Unveiling its sleek, falcon-like jet on Tuesday, Airbus SE stole the Singapore Air Show. Not because it is fitted with rear-mounted twin engines, nor because of the blended-wing body, but because it looks like it came straight out of the Star Wars movies. The two-metre dummy model displayed the jet which is designed to reduce fuel consumption, according to reports.  Named Maveric, the jet was test flown by Airbus in June 2019 in France. The test flights are scheduled to continue until the second quarter of 2020, reports have quoted the planemaker as saying. Airbus needs these demonstrators to evaluate its potential as viable and safe feature projects, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus Jean-Brice Dumont was quoted to have said. He further said that these technologies and breakthroughs are imperative to meet the environmental challenge that faces the world today.

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Amidst the climate crisis, plane makers and airlines are exploring ways to reduce fuel burn and cut carbon emissions, experimenting with new designs. Among several possible solutions, Airbus' move to blend the wings with the main body of the plane, known as the fuselage, is one. This would reduce the drag, meaning it would reduce the potential force which would oppose the aerodynamic force and make it easier for the plane to fly due to less friction. As a result, the fuel consumption of the plane would be lesser.

Maveric can potentially cut the consumption of fuel by as much as 20% as compared to the current plane. Moreover, according to Airbus, the design of Maveric also opens up the possibilities of different cabin designs and propulsion systems in the aircraft.

Meanwhile, in an interview at the show on Tuesday, Boeing's Marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth said that it would take the airplane manufacturer several quarters before its 737 Max fleet can take off. He added that they are not going to overstress the system.

He was further quoted as saying that the manufacturer is first focusing on ensuring that the 400 planes with customers and the 300 others in factories are fit for take-off first before they look at restarting the production.