Aeroplanes of the future: Aircraft concepts from NASA/DLR

With the advent of the climate crisis, sustainability issues and new areas of application, the aerospace industry is facing major challenges. For some years now the NASA/DLR Design Challenge has been prompting students to design and build novel aircraft concepts based on a specific theme. In the 2018/2019 challenge, participants were asked to develop aircraft configurations capable of achieving acceptable cruising speeds while also being able to take off from, and land on, very short runways. The competition hopes to generate fresh ideas for small, eco-efficient aircraft capable of connecting remote areas of the globe with large metropolitan destinations. Participants were also asked to create designs that incorporated technologies from a wide range of disciplines, such as concepts that enable aircraft to be quickly converted from passenger planes into cargo planes. The winning design, created at the University of Stuttgart, was the HyBird Aircraft Concept, a shoulder wing plane with a large propeller attached to the tip of each wing and to each end of the aircraft’s V-tail.

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