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What Solar Powered Planes Could Look Like in Fifteen Years

Progress-Eagle-designWe all fantasize about what things could look like in the future. Take The Jetsons, for example, zipping around in their flying cars.

It’s something we all like to wonder about, sure, but we doubt any of us give it as much thought as Oscar Viñals.

Viñals is a designer based in Barcelona, and wait till you see the concepts he’s come up with for what flight will look like in the year 2030!

His design looks like the President’s plane, Air Force One; as if it were designed by a science-fiction writer. It sports three decks, can hold up to 800 passengers and is about 75 times quieter to conventional aircrafts, according to SciTechAlert.com. But what’s really amazing is that the suitably named AWWA-QG Progress Eagle is capable of generating power to meet its own requirements. How you might ask? Well, by using a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels instead of fossil fuels.

According to Viñals, the design uses six hydrogen fuel engines working in tandem to handle the power of take-off, cruising, and landing. The solar panels on the wings have been incorporated to replace electric power that the plane uses while in flight. Viñals insists that the aircraft itself will produce no carbon whatsoever. Check out this video of the Progress Eagle concept in-flight simulations.

Viñals also included lightweight materials in his design, like aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber and ceramics, all to reduce the power needed for flight. And, despite its massive 96 meter wingspan(!), the wings can be partially folded so that the aircraft can be easily maneuvered once it’s at an airport. Once the plane lands, any excess energy stored in the batteries can be recovered with the help of special trucks that would have electrical storage mechanisms built in.

“The Progress Eagle is based in the technology beyond 2030 with ideas from quantum mechanics,” says Viñals. So, it’s still a theoretical plane for now. However, we can find these technologies in today in the most advanced laboratories around the world (universities, private companies, government installations) and in the theories of the best scientific minds. For these reasons, the innovations that the Progress Eagle is built upon could be available in fifteen years’ time!

This is another great story for aerospace innovators and any lovers of things that can fly. We’ve already mentioned the record setting Solar Impulse 2, which is right now making its solar powered flight around the world—without any fuel whatsoever! Cape Canaveral may also be seeing some more traffic in the coming year thanks to the increased interest in space exploration these days.

Aerospace engineering and innovation is definitely the field of dreamers these days and Oscar Viñals’ designs are proof of that. Fifteen years is not that far away, and if we have the power and imagination to build something like the Progress Eagle, it will definitely be worth the wait!

photo credit: What Would Aircraft in 2030 Be Like via Blogspot.com

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