Is this the future of air travel? Barcelona-based designer Oscar Viñals’ concept aircraft, the Sky Whale, was unveiled earlier this month. The massive plane has been compared to a flying luxury liner, but is packed with green technology.
The Sky Whale would be built with next-generation ceramics and fiber composites, and would also feature a hybrid turbo-electric propulsion system in its “active wings” that would make it more fuel efficient. According to Viñals, the design is optimized to reduce aircraft drag, reduce weight, and reduce emissions, along with generating less noise. He writes:
“Compared to the typical wing used today, the active wings will be longer from tip to tip, with an active air flow control system — eccentric turbine inside the wing near to the fuselage — which could redirect the laminar air flow and turbulences and at the same time produce electric energy for the hybrid engines (four oversized electric-fuel engines). Projected advances in battery technology enable a unique, hybrid turbo-electric propulsion system.”
The wings would also separate from the fuselage during a crash to improve safety. On the inside, the three-story plane could hold 755 passengers, with each level offering amenities for different flight classes. First-class passengers would have sky views on the upper deck (of course), but all three levels would feature windows with built-in virtual reality screens.