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The Future of Flight: Innovative Ideas That Will Become More Mainstream

Monday, August 8, 2022
Categories : Market Trends
Traveling by airplane was rare in the early years of aviation. The flying experience was considered an uncomfortable adventure only the wealthy could afford. However, as technology improved, aviation evolved. Bi-planes turned into modern airliners. Innovations like the jet engine made it possible to power larger aircrafts at higher altitudes. Passenger numbers rose and by the end of the 20th century we were able to fly just about anywhere in the world.

Today, technology is still a driving force behind innovations that make aviation safer and more efficient. While these innovative ideas are essential for the future of flight, the past is an indication these innovations will soon become standards in the industry. In this article, we highlight some of the latest trends driving innovation in the aviation industry that we expect will become the new norm in the future. 

Electric Propulsion Engines in Hybrid-Electric Aircrafts
According to Aerospace Manufacturing and Design, "Hybrid electric propulsion technologies can save fuel and optimize engine performance, helping the aviation industry reach its commitment of net-zero CO2 emissions from flight by 2050."  Experts believe hybrid-electric aircrafts are expected to become a part of fare-paying passenger service by 2032. This means OEMs will soon need to decide whether to invest in new aircraft with conventional propulsion systems or take the leap to bring new electric technology to market.  

In a recent blog post, we looked more in-depth some of the companies on the forefront of these trends and the impact this might have on the global supply chain over the next decade.

Frst allelectric selfflying air taxi in the US
Wisk Aero, a leading autonomous advanced air mobility (AAM) company, is utilizing autonomous technology to develop the first all-electric, self-flying air taxi in the U.S.

High-Temperature Applications and Thermo-Electric Energy
High-temperature applications are a viable move towards greater sustainability in aviation. For jet engine manufacturers, hotter is better. The higher the temperature in the combustion chamber, the more efficient the engine and the less fuel the aircraft consumes.  To hit sustainability goals, OEMs are now beginning looking at ways to increase engine efficiency in the form of lighter materials and significantly higher temperatures. This means electrical components and sensors must be capable of withstanding even more extreme temperatures for longer periods of time. 

In a recent blog post, we looked more in-depth some of the companies on the forefront of these trends and the impact this might have on the global supply chain over the next decade.

Fuel-Efficient Wing Designs
A couple of years ago, a team of engineers at NASA began testing a new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces. The new approach to wing construction could afford greater flexibility in the design and manufacturing of future aircraft.  And as manufacturers and airlines focus more and more on efficiency improvements, there is now a shift away from the traditional fixed wing design. Future aircrafts could have a blended wing body design that could generate up to 20% fuel savings. A blended wing design combines the wing and the fuselage into a single unit, so the entire aircraft provides the lift for the flight. Additionally, there are developments of a ‘Flying-V’ design that’s projected to reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared to the most advanced aircraft flying today.

Flying v aircraft
Delft University of Technology are working with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to develop an aircraft fit for the future. The plane, dubbed the ‘Flying-V’, completely revolutionizes aircraft shape, incorporating wings, fuselage and cabins all into one. 

Futuristic Cabin Concepts
The aviation industry is growing at a rapid rate with air travel becoming more accessible. In fact, recent estimates suggest that demand for air transport will increase by an average of 4.3% per annum over the next 20 years. To accommodate more passengers, innovative cabin concepts like double-decker economy seats could become the standard as they promise more space for riders while increasing passenger capacity. In fact the “double-decker” cabin layout recently made a splash  at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), an industry trade show in Hamburg, Germany. The design concept, officially called the Chaise Longue Economy Seat, would see coach-class fliers seated in two levels connected by ladder-like steps, the upper level taking space created by removing the overhead storage bins (carry-ons would go in a bin underneath the higher seats).

Prepare for the Future With a Partner That Can Meet Your Supply Chain Needs

Although innovation and technology are essential in the future of flight, the complexity and demand for sophisticated systems could have potential supply chain disruptions. This means OEMs need to actively protect the inventory of the components that go into building an aircraft.

When thousands of hermetically sealed components are needed for a single aircraft, finding the right partner to support your supply chain needs can help OEMs develop cost-effective electric aviation strategies and introduce greater flexibility around their cost base. 

Our Insider’s Guide to Purchasing Hermetic Connectors will tell you everything you need to know. In this whitepaper, we look more in-depth at what to consider when procuring and purchasing hermetically sealed connectors for extreme aerospace applications.

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