View Full Version : The next 100 years of flight (With concepts like folding wings)

01 January 2004, 09:26 PM
"Now, 100 years on, passengers can fly non-stop halfway around the world for a few hundred dollars. To celebrate a century of flight, New Scientist's Paul Marks spoke to two people deeply involved in shaping the future of flight in the 21st Century.

Today, Terry Weisshaar, manager of DARPA's morphing aircraft structures programme at the Pentagon explains how telescoping and folding wings will help future planes to tailor their wing shape and size for each part of a mission.

Some of the morphing work has been inspired by the study of birds, bringing the story full circle back to 1903. The all-important control demonstrated by the Wright brothers' Flyer came not just from the first wind tunnel-tested aerofoils and rudder, but also from wing warping - a technology inspired by the Wrights' observations of the way turkey vultures soared over the Miami river, near their Ohio home.

Yesterday, Pam Drew, head of engineering and IT at Boeing's Phantom Works research and development lab, revealed that personal aeroplanes for all are on the drawing board.
>>Link<< (


01 January 2004, 09:34 PM
In the future it will be possible for aircrafts to morph the shape of their wings in a much more advanced way than mechanical morphing. Through electrical discharges a wing could shorten and tighten, giving it greater speed and the ability to dive or rise at greaters speed. The body of the aircraft could also change shape through the same way in order to become more aerodynamical when needed.

01 January 2004, 04:58 AM
Cool link. Talking about the future of flight, has anyone seen this?

01 January 2004, 06:02 AM
wow, that's cool. THis and the race to put a personal ship into low earth orbit and return make me thing the next 10 years will be very exciting for personal travel


iDio is Me
01 January 2004, 06:22 AM
Morphing planes? Cool... Possible but, no one knows quite how...

Planes that you lay down and sleep in and that put you to sleep - BEttER!!

01 January 2004, 05:20 PM
God, how I wish it would happen... but the realities of stupid drivers, bad liability law judgements (in the U.S. at least), government bureaucracy, environmentalism and terrorism (and the various combinations of the last three) do not bode well for the onset of flying cars, IMO. As follows:

1. Do you want that idiot weaving over three lanes on I-15 doing the same in 3 dimensions over your house?

2. Just one crash, just one, and the lawyers will feast. When a car stalls, it just stops, now try that in midair, over your house. And you thought car insurance was expensive...

3. With 1 and 2, imagine the insane government regulation of the industry, and the consequent elimination of innovation (look at the utterly stagnant rail industry in the US, and the FDA's effect on drug costs.) And pilot's licensing for everybody?

4. Greenies are already quite willing to strangulate human activity over what it "might" do (global warming); do you really think they won't have cows over personal aircraft in the stratosphere, even if they are zero-emissions?

5. Do you want to clear security every time you head out for a flight? In the meantime, the already-common phrase "car bomb" will take on a whole new meaning.

Building the things is less than 1% of the problems facing flying cars. :cry: :cry: :cry:

01 January 2004, 06:41 PM
Really neat concept, I'd be willing to bet there's a prototype already testing somewhere in Nevada;)

Here's Boeing's Phantom Works homepage for anyone interested, some interesting things on there as well-

>Boeing Phantom Works< (

01 January 2004, 07:56 PM
I'm pretty sceptical when it comes to these futurustic designs... I still feel we were promised "flying cars in the year 2000" as kids - and where are they today? ;)

Anyway, look at the commercial airliners from the 1960's: They looked more or less exactly like the current offerings from Boeing and Airbus. So I'd be really pleased if they could come up with something a little more "futuristic". After all, this is the 21st century! :shrug:

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 03:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.