Yes, we can fly in the future. Flat beds, standing chairs and V-shaped surfaces

Air New Zealand wants to offer “capsules” with six flat beds that passengers can book for four-hour naps during the cruise. It is one of the few airlines that operates on the longest routes in the world. For example, a flight from Chicago or New York to Auckland can take more than 17 hours. The carrier estimates that 8-10 percent will benefit from this offer. passengers. How much it will cost has not yet been disclosed.

The Wall Street Journal recalls that for years, airlines have been looking for ways to make ultra-long flights more manageable. Singapore Airlines has completely abandoned economy class on some routes from Singapore to the US. Australia’s Qantas on the London to Perth route allocated more than half of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner cabin space to business and premium class seats.

More seats in the cab means less legroom

For airlines, a more natural business move is the opposite action – ie making the seats in the passenger compartment thicker. This allows you to sell more tickets for the same flight and reduce travel costs, including jet fuel, per passenger.

The American “Forbes” calculated in 2020 that 40 years ago the width of the seats on the plane was 18.5 inches (47 cm) on average and now 17-17.5 inches (less than 45 cm). The distance between the rows of seats is also reduced. Economy class seat pitch ranges from 29″ to 33″ (73-83 cm) for leading airlines. Air Asia has the shortest economy class seat pitch of 29″. Forty years ago, seat spacing ranged from 31 to 35 inches. inches (78-88 cm)”, we read.

An example is the low-cost airline Ryanair, which ordered Boeing 737-8200 aircraft. When picking up the first of 200 such machines in 2021, the carrier emphasized that new aircraft will take up 4 percent. more passengers and fuel consumption drops by 16%. per seat. There are 197 seats on board, compared to 189 in the current fleet. In the new B737-8200 configuration, the row spacing is 28-28.5 inches (71-72 cm). In the currently operated Boeing 737-800 that is 30 inches, that is 4-5 cm more.

The rest of the article below the video

Also see: Bad habit of passengers on the plane

Trip while standing

An aircraft equipment fair – Aircraft Interior Expo is held in Hamburg every year. In 2018, the Italian company Aviointeriors presented the Skyrider 2.0 armchairs, forcing a semi-standing position. They were shown in yellow and navy blue colours, clearly associated with Ryanair. They would be used on short trips. The designers didn’t consider folding tables, much less the onboard entertainment system (we won’t find it on low-cost airlines). The manufacturer argued that its solution will increase the number of seats on the plane by 20 percent.

In the same year, Airbus and Zodiac unveiled a vision for special modules that could be placed under the decks of A330 passenger jets flying on transcontinental routes. These modules can serve as conference rooms, flat-bed cabins, and even play areas or doctor’s offices.

Bunk beds in the plane

Four years later, the prototype of the Chaise Longue, ie double-deck economy class seats for longer journeys, caused a sensation at the Hamburg stock exchange. The author of the idea is Alejandro Núñez Vicente. Rather than arranging the armchairs row by row, he proposed a “cascade” arrangement, which would make room for stretching the legs.

V-shaped face

At the same time, a vision is created for alternative aircraft shapes. One of the best-known examples is the Flying-V project of KLM and TU Delft. Instead of the classic “pipe” with wings, it takes a revolutionary “V” shape in civil aviation. The wingspan would be similar to that of the Airbus A350.

Flying-V is a project of a highly energy-efficient long-haul aircraft. The aircraft’s design integrates the passenger cabin, cargo hold and fuel tanks into the wings to create a spectacular V-shape. The improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight allow it to consume 20% percent. less fuel than the Airbus A350, today’s most advanced aircraft, according to the project website.

How will we fly in the future?

The aviation industry representatives themselves seem to cool most enthusiasts’ enthusiasm for such groundbreaking solutions. Although Ryanair already announced the possibility to introduce standing room (and a paid toilet) in 2010, none of these ideas have been implemented to date.

The way airplanes look today is the result of compromises and concessions: between what you can make and cost, maintenance and the possibility of later reconfiguration – says Cesar Pereira, Embraer’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa on money. pl.

– In our segment, ie regional jets, short and medium distances, you don’t need a folding bed or bunk beds. I don’t expect this kind of innovation to enter our market. Long-distance connections, each lasting several hours, are different — he adds.

According to him, the field for innovative solutions and changes lies elsewhere. – These are new materials; greener, lighter and makes it possible to make the seats “slender” and thus reduce the mutual distance on the deck, without taking up the legroom of the passengers. Another challenge is to provide luggage space on board and to change the shape and capacity of the storage compartments. Today we undoubtedly take more luggage on board than in the past,” says Pereira.

The Airbus representative, in turn, believes that the aircraft will retain its traditional shape for a long time to come.

I don’t believe I will see a 350 seater “V” shaped airplane for years to come until I retire. We are working on such visionary projects with universities, but I think the coming decades are the future of the aircraft we see today – Wouter van Wersch, vice president of Airbus, responsible for the European market, said in an interview with money. pl .

The technology is changing significantly – but the one that is “inside”, as it were under the skin of the aircraft and not visible to the naked eye. We’re constantly working on improving aerodynamics, it’s a continuous process – he adds.

Representatives of the aviation industry pay attention to another aspect: certification. Everything on board the aircraft – from the “Lifejacket under your seat” sticker to the seat – must comply with international regulations and civil aviation standards.

When it comes to new ideas for aircraft seats, the issue of emergency evacuation is relevant. Whether it’s a small plane with 80 passengers on board or the largest passenger plane in the world, each of them must be evacuated within 90 seconds, with half the exits available. The video below shows the simulated evacuation of 873 passengers from an Airbus A380 as part of the certification process from the beginning of the 21st century:

Also see: A380. Test of the evacuation of 873 passengers

Leave a Comment