These are the airplanes of the future [Amazing Photo of the Day]

How many dotTechies are airplane enthusiasts? (I am not.) If you are, then you probably know about the evolution of airplanes, aka how airplanes have changed since they were first invented by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903. In particular I’m referring to design; what you see today is not necessarily what was around fifty years ago.

It is, of course, natural for airplanes to change their design as technological advances are made. Curious as to what the future holds for airplanes? The following are images of commercial airplanes of the future. (Take note I said “commercial” — these are not designs for military aircraft.) Some of the following are airplanes that are currently undergoing research and development while others are simply concepts. Check it out:











That last one looks more alien than human, if you ask me.

[via BBC]

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  • JonE

    [@jayesstee] Long time to answer this; I seem to stay behind the power curve these days. Anyway, your math works just fine for me.

  • jayesstee

    @JonE: Just watched the (long) YouTube Concorde Story. Great.
    Re: DH 108 Swallow. A quick search of the web produces both explanations of the accident, but I was on a small beach (with my parents) on the north shore of the Thames Estuary and I remember a loud bang, followed by at least three large items dropping in the water at some distance away. The next day, it was in the news (newspapers and radio, those days) and the details fitted what I had seen and heard. I talked about it at school the following week; it reached the Headmaster, who recommended that we contact the Police. My parents wouldn’t, as we had been some distance away and there were many (50+) other people there at the time.
    BTW I am a little over 31, if you do the math.

  • JonE

    @jayesstee: I thought the Swallow crashed into the Thames; not blew up over the Thames, but I wasn’t there so I can’t say one way or the other. I’m a stickler for accuracy, but sometimes facts like these get lost in the shuffle and sometimes get changed around. Regardless of over or in the the Thames it’s certain that Geoffery De Havilland Jr. did lose his life that day.

    And oh my; talk about dating ones self. That happened in the fall of 1946; I wasn’t born yet. I’m only 31.

  • jayesstee

    @JonE: No I haven’t seen this one. I have to log off now and see to other responsibilities, but I will watch it tomorrow.
    Thanks for the heads up! :=))

  • JonE

    @jayesstee: Thanks for pointing that out to me; you are absolutley correct. And I honestly knew that, but for some reason my old brain short circuited and I gave the Russians credit. And as we both know the Russians already have taken credit for it since they have always been the first to develop anything. And I hear what you are saying about France.

    There is also You Tube video about Concorde, there are probably many, but I’m betting you already knew this.

  • jayesstee

    @JMJ: Re Swallow Jet.
    I dont’t know of any other Brit. jet called Swallow, but the Messerschmitt Me 262 was called the “Schwalbe” which I understand is German for Swallow.
    The first Brit. (development) jet was the Gloster E.28/39 which led to the Gloster Meteor.

  • JMJ

    @JonE: You’re being modest about your chops, Sir.
    mechanic : crew chief = cherokee : F111F.
    Stolen = A girlfriend Navy EW (1980’s) arranged an “unofficial” visit for me flying from New Zealand to McM on the Ross Shelf. I co-op’ed the ’77 from ’85-to-’88 and then took it outright.

  • etim

    Actually, I’ve logged hundreds of flights in stable “flying wings”.
    But we just called ’em hang gliders.

  • JonE

    @JMJ: Yeah; Jack Northrop. Interesting story that Jack Northrop. And yes, Northrop did some flying wing design; including the B-2 Spirit, but I think that’s the only design that went into service. Douglas Aircraft, later McDonnell Douglas was spawned off of Northrop and of course Northrop bought Grumman and is now Northrop Grumman. I’ve always felt sorry for Northrop; like Hughs Aircraft, put a lot of their own money in research and our government has shown them disrespect just about every time. Most notablely the F-20 which Chuck Yeager stated was the best fighter he ever flew; despite that the government rejected all Northrop Grumman’s research. Seems like the government loves spending our money on research and buy’s the outcome of that research no matter how bad; my opinion.

    Yeah; a Guppy is quite a sight. Stolen visit; sounds intriguing. McMurdo as in South Pole?

    Yes, I was a mechanic, of sorts; Crew Chief for four years on the F-111A thru F. I was also on a base that experienced high volumes of transit aircraft, which on occasion they would ask our help when things got, let’s say, overcrowded; usually on the weekends; no one ever likes weekend duty, but it was always interesting.

    Never got an FFA license though. A 77 Cherokee 6/30; you own this aircraft?

  • sl0j0n

    Hello, all.
    @ “JonE”.
    According to wikipedia, “Hugo Junkers patented a wing-only air transport concept in 1910”.

    Yeah, its been around a long time.
    I’ve seen clips of early experimental [US] military flights.
    Some TV shows occasionally air them, usually on Discovery, History, Science or similar channels.
    When I was a kid, ‘flying wing’ variants were copied as the basis for plastic toy airplanes.
    Along with the A-12/M-21/SR-71 Blackbird series.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  • JMJ

    @jayesstee: Yes, it is an elegant looking plane. Sopwith Camel, Spitfire (Hurricane, well, almost IMO)… you do make them pretty!
    Wasn’t “Swallow” also the name of your first jet, flown about the same time as the ME-262(?) — the first operational jet flown by the Luftwaffe?

  • jayesstee

    @JMJ: You are on!
    BTW there was a ‘flying wing’ in the forties, the de Haviland 108 “Swallow”. It blew up over the Thames killing the pilot Geoffery De Havilland jr. who happened to be the son of the owner and Chief Designer.
    By shear coincidence I believe that as a young nine year old, I may have witnessed (from a couple of miles away) the explosion and the falling of the debris of that fated plane.
    If you would like to see it flying, remembering that it was over 60 years ago, try
    Look at the end where you get a good look at the shape – quite a looker?

  • JMJ

    @jayesstee: Mea culpa. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, give me a heads up and dinner is on me.

  • jayesstee

    @JMJ: I only ever visited NY on business, long after Concorde. I did call you but you (said you) were unavailable. Next time, huh?

  • JMJ

    @jayesstee: Sooo, you really are old enough to vote, huh? :-) Seems to me, You + Concorde means you lived in NY and didn’t drop by for lunch, at least?

  • jayesstee

    @JonE: Sorry, but Concorde was developed by only Britain and France (or France and Britain, if you’re French). It paid my mortgage for a couple of years in the’60s.
    Russia had their own plane, theTupolev Tu-144. This looked similar, but had small front (canard) wings high up on the nose. It suffered two crashes, one during development and one while being delivered. This latter crash in May 1978 resulted in all passenger versions being permanently grounded. I believe NASA used one (or more) for supersonic research.
    To see it try:

  • JMJ

    @JonE: Going on memory alone, the ‘flying wing” dates back to, at least, the 1950’s and Jack(?) Northrop who designed and actually built experimental versions. It may have been conceived as early as the late 1940’s. Like today’s super-high-performance aircraft, the flying-wing’s design is so inherently unstable, it requires the aid of computers to fly. No human has the reflexes to do so alone. I have seen some CAD stuff for passenger versions, too. All concept/experimental.

    Yeah! I did see a Guppy take-off during a “stolen” visit to McMurdo. Reminded me of a backwards bumblebee, neither of which look like they can fly!

    Thanks for the insights from, I’m guessing, a mechanic(?)
    ’77 Cherokee 6/300

  • JonE

    I’ve had a passion for military aircraft long before I stepped foot on a military flightline, and worked on military aircraft for nearly two decades. I also have a passion for Big Trucks, but that’s another story.

    Anyone who has a passion for aircraft probably knows that all the pictures (notice I did not call them photos) above are Concepts; some of which are either already in practice today or slated to go into service in the next few years.

    The Flying Wing for example, second picture, has been a concept since; well, I don’t really know, for sure, but I’m guessing before the early nineties because that’s the first time I saw it. There are two aircraft in inventory today that roughly use this concept design; the F-117 Nighthawk (Stealth Bomber) which was heavily used in Desert Storm and the B-2 Spirit which had it’s maiden flight in 1989.

    Does anyone know what the Guppy is? The fourth picture intrigues me. It reminds me of the Guppy. And yes, it does look BIG, but hard to tell how big with no aspect. But, with all the windows it appears to be a passenger aircraft rather than a Cargo aircraft. What intrigues me the most is it’s wing span which is why it reminds me of a Guppy. That and what the heck is it using for propulsion? I can’t tell. Anyway, there are two versions of the Guppy; both essentially C-97J Turbo Stratocruiser or Stratofreighter which is essentially a Boeing 377. The first is what they now call the Pregnant Guppy and the current version is called the Super Guppy. I’ve seen both take off and land. If you’ve ever seen one it just doesn’t look like it can get off the ground with that great big body and those tiny little wings, but it does.

    The seventh picture down also appears to be a concept Cargo Plane except for all the windows, but then most cargo planes are modified civilian transport aircraft. But this looks strikingly like a cargo concept I saw years ago that is projected to be put into service in, around, or about 2015. It will be a joint military aircraft which means it will be used by more than one country. It’s projected designation will be KC-45 and bears a striking resemblance to seventh concept pictured.

    The next concept is a drone. jayesstee mentions the next one as looking like Concorde; except for some striking differences. Concorde was jointly developed by Russia, Britain, and France. The Concorde has four engines in square housings. The concept shown here bears U.S. markings and insignia, but only has three engines in circular (round) nacelles. But it appears to be a strange design for passenger transport; perhaps it has another purpose.

    Talk about a strange design; I’ve never seen a concept like the last one pictured. It appears to be unmanned. And I willing to bet that if anything looking like this every goes in service they will figure out a way to integrate the engines into the fuselage. Maybe not, just a guess.

    I have quite a few aircraft links; if you have a passion for aircraft, military or otherwise, let me know and I’ll provide some links.

    Does anyone know what a Wild Weasel is? I’m also a member of the Society of Wild Weasels.

  • JMJ

    @etim: Hilarious. Being in the passenger seat while you drive must be interesting. :-)

  • etim

    Yeah, that last one looks like it might even have a reverse gear.

  • jayesstee

    The ninth one looks like development on Concorde, nastalgia rule OK!

  • AFPhys

    The fourth one is a huge plane, something more than twice the size/ capacity of today’s jumbo jets.

    I don’t know much about the others, but quite a few of them are designed to be more fuel efficient by employing simple aerodynamic principles, to whit, longer wings, “lifting body” design, minimizing backside turbulence by smoothing airflow at the rear, etc.

    Some interesting pics.