A remarkable new aerospace design by Oscar Viñals is what he calls the “greenest aircraft imaginable.” The design, called the Sky Whale, has a 88-meter (289 ft) wingspan and room for 755 passengers. It looks like a fusion between a plane and an airship, and is a full three stories tall.
The design makes use of the most modern materials, such as ceramics and carbon fiber composites, and is designed to reduce drag and energy expenditure as much as possible. An average flight from New York to San Francisco burns fuel equivalent to 2 to 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person, about the same footprint as six weeks of normal activity. This makes reducing the environmental impact of flying among the highest priority for those looking to lessen their carbon footprint. The Sky Whale may fit the ticket.
Everything in this plane has been redesigned from the ground up. The Sky Whale features a double fuselage, covered with small solar cells which contribute energy to the hybrid-electric engines and further lessen the environmental impact. It uses fiber-optic cabling and has self-repairing skin, though the designer hasn’t explained how the latter would work.
Engines on the craft have the ability to tilt 45 degrees, allowing them to point straight downwards and allow takeoff on a much shorter runway. This would open up entirely new airports to international travel and leisure trips.
Active sensors cover the plane’s structure, which uses an active air flow control system to minimize fuel use and make the plane eight times quieter than current standards. The huge plane has a blended wing body, meaning the fuselage itself is shaped like an airfoil.
The plane is designed with future battery capacity in mind, which will allow a unique hybrid turbo-electric propulsion system. In the unlikely event of an accident, the wings are designed to break off the plane, increasing safety for the passengers.
The Sky Whale isn’t the only futuristic airplane design which blows the mind. In 2011, Airbus showed off a transparent plane concept which it thinks can be built by 2050.