Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blended Wing Body Aircraft- Carriers of the future

As the battle between the aviation giants for global markets rages on, Boeing and the NASA are quietly working on the next generation of civil transport- the Blended Wing Body ( BWB )design.
This radical aerodynamic concept had been in the offing for many decades, since the time of Jack Northrop   ( Northrop Grumman`s founder and inventor of the flying wing design) but has gathered serious interest due to its massive technical and economic gains compared to conventional aircraft design.
The most significant feature in the BWB is  that all the components- fuselage,wings , engines and other control surfaces are integrated into a single aerodynamic surface, as shown in the figure below ( Courtesy: Virginia Tech, US)
Why the BWB is making heads turn:- 

1. Simple Economics :    Higher Fuel Efficiency = Lesser money spent (as much as 32 % ) for long distance flights, which will be the hallmark of the BWB aircraft.

2. Lesser number of engines :   You don`t have to be an Aviation freak to understand this :-).For generating the same force, Airbus`s hunk.. the huge A380 needs FOUR engines, while our BWB babe takes it cool on only THREE.
3.The "Save Mother Earth" junta : The BWB generates lesser noise , due to the favorable positioning of the engines and its interaction with the airframe. Further, lower emissions due to the lesser fuel it drinks up.

4. Carry more passengers : This thing lifts more passengers . Boeing has anticipated designs that can carry upto 1000 passengers ( Though this concept remains only on paper now ).As of now, its working on a toned down version taking 450-500 passengers.

5. It looks Beautiful !  : Man... One look at the BWB X48-B concept aircraft reminds me of the wandering albatross... huge wingspan.. wide wings .. To me,it doesn`t in anyway bring in the "fear factor" a potential US Air Force bomber would have.Nothing they could do about that, though :-) .

Boeing X-48B UAV in flight
The Albatross-Find any similarity?:-)

So the big deal is...

As with all high-profile Aero projects in the US, The military will be the first beneficiary of this , with flight testing of the Boeing X48-B unmanned BWB aircraft in progress.

Civilian versions will be probably be reality in a couple of decades, if some pressing issues in the BWB are sorted out. More on that in my next post.....

For more inquisitive people, I have cut a lot of  technical mumbo-jumbo in this post,so forgive me for having left the finer details. Having a look at the following white paper by the Virginia Tech University would throw some light.


Please Post your comments on your opinion.. I`l be glad to reply.


Anonymous said...

Hey it s good...... write it in a simpler language whr everyone can understand...... writing is an artform, u must involve the readers, not make them loose interest halfway...
Trust me I myself subscribe to more than 15 blogs and read them daily... start from basic stuff like airbus, boeing, A380, 747, etc.... don't put all u r tech knowledge into it, I know,U know, but wat about others? -NG

Arvind T.M. said...

@NG, Thanks for your feedback ! Thing is I just had an impression that delving too much into the basics would be a cliche` .. too many websites and wikipedia have intro content on that.. but your point is right in a way. I`l keep in mind :-)

Anonymous said...

The article on BWB was thoroughly interesting. It offered me insights into evolving technologies in civil air transport.
Thanks for not making it too technical...I went through the weblinks you've given and if your page too had been technical like that, I don't know if I could've sustained my interest.
I liked the easy, chatty and simple manner in which the information was presented by you.
Keep them rolling in ,you air freak.

Anonymous said...

This aircraft reminds me of the one that comes in Angels and Demons book, the one that does Mach 15... -Nishant

Arvind T.M. said...

Thank you.:-) Thats the whole point.. making things too technical wont help anyone. There are more interesting posts comin up.... keep subsrcibed!

Arvind T.M. said...

@nishant- yeah :-). Its Boeing X33 there. but in reality its just an experimental aircraft with its test objectives complete and the project is being wound up. Its unmanned .. How many G`s can a human possibly take on a Mach 15 flight? Thats something to think of...

Anonymous said...

@Arvind:they will come up with something. Making a craft to do mach 15 might be easy, just strap on some solid boosters or reusable rocket engines it will do mach 15, but as u say the human body has to withstand the enormous G's

Anonymous said...

They should start with a 737/A320 sized design, since it's naturally wider, it would have twin aisle, but wouldn't be wider than a A380/747-800 and wouldn't be a double decker, anyhow, a 200pax sized airliner with 30% lower fuel burn and longer range would open up many direct long range routes. Perhaps 250 pax, but not more than that at first.
Mach 15... Ain't going to happen for at least 30 years, rocket engines are too expensive, and flying at Mach 15 heats the wings too much, even at very high altitudes. Notice that today there's not a single supersonic transport aircraft in service, first we need to break the sonic barrier (for transport purposes) to then think about higher speeds.

Anonymous said...

To the previous poster, we already broke the sound barrier decades ago with Concorde! The only reason the gorgeous bird isn't still in service is due to the bad rep it gained from the Paris accident (which wasn't its fault, FOD can bring down any aircraft) and the fact it was expensive to run because of the fuel burn needed to maintain supersonic flight.

Anonymous said...

Hi aero freak,

I like your simple style of writing.The way u compare

Boeing X-48B UAV and the Albatross are quite interesting:)


dany said...

hey... um doinn a PROJECT ON plasma stealth technology......... please upload something on that

Anonymous said...

I am really thankful to the holder of this web page who has shared this enormous post at
at this time.
Feel free to surf my page ; over here

Anonymous said...

It's very easy to find out any topic on web as compared to books, as I found this paragraph at this website.
Also visit my weblog ... mortgage broker ottawa

Anonymous said...

Hello, everything is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that's really excellent, keep up writing.
Also visit my web blog :: happy thanksgiving pics

Anonymous said...

Hello, I wish for to subscribe for this webpage to obtain newest updates, thus where can i do it please help out.
Also see my page: Homepage

Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally something about insect.
Also visit my web-site ; his Response

Post a Comment