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Next Big Move Forward In Aviation?  
User currently offlineA380900 From France, joined Dec 2003, 1112 posts, RR: 1
Posted (10 years 3 days ago) and read 2701 times:

Do you guys know of any technology which, if improved, could radically change aviation? I'm getting bored at the slow pace at which things are going! Comparing the A380 to the 747 says a lot for instance about the slow pace of evolution.

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1610 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 days ago) and read 2663 times:

Technological developements are very expensive and the certification standards are very high. Safety is the number 1 consideration and proving that a new technology is better and at least as safe as the technology it is replacing is not easy or inexpensive.

There are some interesting things going, but they are not really "sexy" things which the average consumer cares about. Airbus has a higher pressure hydraulic system going into the 380 I think, which is supposed to reduce weight. Boeing is working on bleedless technology.

But the things we see are few and far between. I think engines will get somewhat quieter and a bit more efficient in the future. There will be some incremental aero improvements and the avionics will get better. I think bio-fuels will come in the next few years too.

But if you are looking at headline-making things coming from Boeing or Airbus don't hold your breath. The wild pace of developement took place in the 50's and 60's with the ever increasing size of the jetliners. The 80's saw glass and twin technologies emerge and the 90s was the era of FBW.

To be sure, innovation is still there and there will be new things coming along. But the costs of certification are staggering. Improvements, IMHO, will be small and incremental and not leaps and bounds.

I hope I am proven wrong! I like cool new stuff as much as anyone!



smrtrthnu
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17044 posts, RR: 67
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2624 times:

Suborbitals and scramjets. Hopefully before I kick the bucket.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2525 times:

The next really big advance will be TCAS-5 which will use time travel to place you back to a point where a collision became likely.

I just hope I get to retire before all that backsliding starts happening.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineAirplay From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2502 times:

The safety and operational capabilities of modern aircraft have been increasing at quite a quick pace. The changes however are not immediatley obvious to passengers.

For the most part, airliners are about as big, and fast as they are going to get. Efficiency, safety and operational capabilities are the goal for most designers right now. Again, not too "sexy" in the eyes of passengers but quite exciting behind the scenes.

Some of the major developments are in the area of communications and ATC. Automation in these areas are being addressed in modern airplanes.


User currently offlineWannabe From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 677 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2213 times:

Unfortunately, most of the funding that fueled the technological leaps in aviation from the late 1940's until the 1970's came from Cold War expenditures. For instance, the 707 was an offshoot of the B-47. Since all of the manufacturers back then had Defense Department contracts, they allowed the government to fund the research and then flowed that knowledge over into their commercial operations. Could we build a transonic airliner? Probably yes. Would the flying public be willing to pay for the R&D and development costs in their ticket prices? Most probably not.

I agree with you that, besides # of seats and creature comforts, there has been no revolutionary development in commercial aviation since the late 1950's. At the same time, I do not see any demand (supported by the willingess to pay) in the flying public for the next evolution. The current military direction is towards miniaturization, stealth and remotely piloted vehicles, not something the flying public would see as a plus. So the 7E7 and the A380 are about as adventurous as we will see for a while.


User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3150 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2196 times:

What about navigation? You have GPS, WAAS, LAAS, and RVSM all becoming the standards. Also, the technology is becoming more affordable. We're now seeing Cessna 182s with glass cockpits.


DMI
User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8154 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2122 times:

How about ATC transmissions with no line of sight worries?


If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 day ago) and read 2065 times:

Aviation is largely about propulsion. The speed is already up there, so I agree with Starlionblue that we're gonna have to go into the lower reaches of space to really make breakthroughs there. Efficiency, well... things can happen there but I can't really see any major breakthroughs. I'd like to see alternative fuels. But the fact remains that fossile fuels have an exceptionally high energy/weight ratio.

The large immediately possible improvements are IMO in the air transport system as a whole. Free flight and more efficient airspace utilization. Cheaper aircraft and cheaper air travel.

Regards,
Fred



I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User currently offlineArniepie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (10 years 23 hours ago) and read 2060 times:

Next big move or change.
IMHO it will be the use of other ,more available,fossil fuels to replace the now widely used kerosene-types.(just a wild idea)



[edit post]
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (10 years 15 hours ago) and read 2027 times:

When considering the 4 step business cycle, I'd say the airline industry is leading the maturing stage in aviation. We've had our introduction and our growth period. Usually, after the maturing stage there is the decline, which usually means competition for the current product. In this case competition could be more privatization or a more widely available product or just plain easier to use, or ANYTHING.

I think were gonna keep maturing for about another decade or so. The industry likes this, weilding the market as they are, so they can concentrate on making more capital for their own uses I suppose. Afterwards, then they can decide on technological investment jumps. I guess we are waiting for them, the big guns, to use it all up and look for other ideas...

I am certain that even asking this question puts us in the minority bin, a lot of people like the way things are because it hasn't changed -- it has been maturing -- evolution is slow in the end.

Big moves take lifetimes; personally, I'm making it mine.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 977 posts, RR: 51
Reply 11, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1959 times:

Do you guys know of any technology which, if improved, could radically change aviation? I'm getting bored at the slow pace at which things are going!

Aircraft "evolve" in product cycles of about 10-15 years with only marginal improvements made to the line along the way. So yes, progress is slow for us enthusiast, but when you think about it, man went from Wright Flyer to 747, Apollo 11, and Concorde in only 60 years! Then 30 years later, we have twin engined aircraft with more capability than the first 747s..

Compare that to the evolution of seafaring and aviation is developing really bitchin fast....


User currently offlineLtbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13116 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1947 times:

The more extensive use of composite materials, such as in the proposed Boeing 7E7, is probably the next big move foreward in Aviation. This has been supported by the more extensive use of composite materials in military aircraft, so there is a transfer of technology there. I agree one big move in the distant future would be the use on non-petrolium fuels. The proposals for transonic/near space operating passanger aircraft to allow very short time flights for trans oceaniac flights could be the next big move as well. Low level supersonic flights (i.e.: Concorde) even over the oceans won't be in the near future again as the transonic concepts avoids most of the major issues that limited and eventually doomed the Concorde.

User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 12 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1865 times:

My crystal ball says the sonic boom might be eliminated, use of alternative fuels will be the norm, even more in-flight entertainment, cabins as quiet as a church, and nearly fully automated ATC. I guess all this within 50 years.

Oh, and Embry-Riddle might start its own airline with a fleet of C-172s and Piper Seminoles Big grin


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17044 posts, RR: 67
Reply 14, posted (9 years 12 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1857 times:

Seeing as SpaceShipOne is a suborbital (Go Branson!), we might see suborbitals sooner than I expected. Sure, it'll be expensive in the beginning, but so is everything.

Maybe a tandem setup like SS1, with carrier plane dropping the actual spaceplane. This would fix the need for noise abatement AND the need for dual propulsion. Turbofan on the carrier, scramjet/rocket on the spaceplane.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
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