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Brief Published: 22 Aug 2019

Airbus Looks to Nature for its New Eco Design Concept


Airbus has joined the race to design the eco plane of the future by looking to nature for cues in efficient design, unveiling an aircraft concept that takes inspiration from the streamlined contour of birds.

The Bird of Prey hybrid electric plane design features wing and tail structures with individually controlled feather-like tips devised to minimise drag. Meanwhile, the wing root (where the wing meets the body of the plane) is smoothly arched to imitate the aerodynamics of an eagle or falcon.

The plane would seat 80 passengers and would be able to travel for 1,500 miles in one trip, all the while burning 30-40% less fuel than today's airliners thanks to its efficient design. Although not in the pipeline to be physically built, the concept represents how passenger jets could harness biomimicry to both improve the aesthetics and sustainability of air travel.

Senior Airbus manager Martin Aston said: "One of the priorities for the entire industry is how to make aviation [...] cleaner, greener and quieter than ever before. We know from our work on the A350 XWB passenger jet that through biomimicry, nature has some of the best lessons we can learn about design."

This innovative design follows bold thinking around what the future of travel will look like, as covered in Reimagining the Flight of the Future. See also KLM Designs V-Shaped Eco Planes and Elastic Airlines.

For more on how Airbus is reshaping conventional thinking around airline design, read The Reimagined the Airplane Cargo Hold and Airbus Develops 'Swappable Modules' Jet Concept.