Purely electric aircraft are still in their relative infancy. They're closer than you think. Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are partnering on a hybrid electric aircraft prototype, the E-Fan X, that will prove the mixture of conventional and electric engines will work. The demonstrator will modify a BAe 146 by replacing one of its gas turbine engines with a 2MW electric motor, followed by a second if everything goes smoothly. It's currently slated to fly sometime in 2020.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Wednesday it will provide ¥220 billion ($1.94 billion) to its struggling aircraft subsidiary to bolster its capital and help its long-delayed development of a regional passenger jet. Mitsubishi Heavy said it will increase the capital of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. by ¥170 billion and also cancel ¥50 billion of the total debt owed by the subsidiary, as the aircraft company continued to have a negative net worth at the end of fiscal 2017. With the financial support, Mitsubishi Aircraft aims to speed up the development of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first commercial passenger jet developed in Japan, as delivery -- initially scheduled for 2013 -- has been delayed five times due to design modifications. The subsidiary aims to deliver the first MRJ jet to All Nippon Airways Co. by the end of 2020. The development costs for the MRJ have risen fourfold from the initial estimate to ¥600 billion, and could also balloon to ¥800 billion, according to company sources.
The flying car remains among those technologies that has always remained about ten years away. Or maybe just a year, if you believe the CEO of Airbus. "One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground," said Tom Enders, the chief executive of aerospace company Airbus, best known for making jet airliners. Enders was speaking at the DLD tech conference in Munich on Monday, where he teased that his company foresees having a working prototype for an autonomous flying car by the end of 2017. "We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously," he said, according to a report from Reuters.
LONDON – The world needs to produce 43,000 new aircraft over the next two decades to meet booming demand, Boeing's CEO forecast here on Sunday. Dennis Muilenberg, chief executive of the U.S. aerospace giant, revealed the outlook upgrade to reporters in London before the sector's Farnborough Air Show starting Monday. "We continue to see the aerospace market grow very strongly," said Muilenberg. "We see $8.1-trillion marketplace in the next10n years" for commercial, defense and services, he added. "We further increased our estimates in the next 20 years. "We expect the world to need roughly 43,000 new commercial airplanes.
As clean as electric aircraft can be, there's still one kind of pollution they still produce: noise. Even that might go away before long, though. MIT researchers have successfully flown an ionic wind-powered aircraft that doesn't use any moving parts. The 16-foot wide machine stays aloft by charging wires with a high enough voltage (40,000V) that they strip negatively-charged electrons from air molecules, which are promptly attracted to negative electrodes at the back of the aircraft. The collisions from that newly-formed ionic wind create the thrust needed to keep the vehicle airborne.