Recently, Airbus unveiled a bird-like concept of a hybrid electric aircraft. It shows that biomimicry can also be used in aviation: the plane is like a bird in the sky.
Birds are known for their efficient mechanics. That was the source of inspiration for the concept of the Bird of Prey airplane from Airbus. The aircraft had the wing and tail structure of a bird with feathery tips at the ends of the wings. These help to control the plane and at the same time it minimizes the drag.
Just like birds, the Bird of Prey has a smooth wing root"
Just like birds, the Bird of Prey has a smooth wing root – the point where the wings and the fuselage converge – that can mimic the same graceful and aerodynamic arch of an eagle. And also, the tail was given a feathered look with the pattern of the Union Jack. A nice contrast with the orange body of the plane and the blue, white and golden wings. Although the concept is not meant to represent a real plane, it is based on realistic ideas. It gives an insight into what aviation might look like in the future.
"Our Bird of Prey is designed to be an inspiration to young people and create a 'wow' factor that will help them consider an exciting career in the crucially important aerospace sector," said Martin Aston, senior manager at Airbus.
One of the most important aspects of the concept is showing how to make aviation more sustainable. The Bird of Prey concept design is a hybrid electric turbo-propeller intended for regional air transport that is cleaner, greener and quieter than ever before. The aircraft can accommodate up to 80 passengers and has a range of 1500 kilometres.
"This concept aircraft is based on the structure of a bird and may well be the future of aviation"
Because of the hybrid electric propulsion system, the Bird of Prey would use about 30 to 50 percent less fuel than the planes we know nowadays. This leads to optimal performance at low speeds, but also to a reduction in the emission of harmful substances into the environment. In addition, the propellers made of carbon fibre produce less noise than the current aircraft.
We think it would be a great idea to actually bring this plane on the market!