THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME

The general concensus today in the civil aviation industry is that between now and the year 2000 there will be no major design changes in the world's commercial aircraft. The reasons for this are largely economic. The cost of new aircraft continues to escalate, and the cost of fuel is still rising as available world supplies diminish. Research into advanced materials alone is already producing structures which combine enormously increased strength with significant reductions in weight. Fuel research is introducing synthetic fossil fuels, liquid hydrogen and nuclear power as potential power alternatives. Advanced wing configuration is another area of research that has shown models capable of combining enormous lift for heavy payloads with short-take-off-and-landing (STOL). Current research is now looking at the possibilities of using composite materials for the manufacturer of aircraft structural parts. Other research includes the use of synthetic kerosene, obtained from coal and shale, which could be mixed directly with petroleum-based fuels, giving an end-product whose properties would be similar to those of today's jet fuel. New aircraft, particularly those operating on the subsonic and transonic ranges, may benefit from current developments in using aerodynamics and entirely new concepts in the use of wing structures. The U.S. Space Shuttle is one vehicle that represents a radical departure from the norm. It can be considered the first offspring of the marriage between aerodynamics and space technology.

  • Corporate Authors:

    United Nations

    Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization
    Paris,   France 
  • Publication Date: 1978-4

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 26-32
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00178254
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: United Nations
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 19 1978 12:00AM