Hybrid Wing Concept to Soon Be a Reality; Cuts Fuel Expenses by Half

January 28, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

It’s been months since the Hybrid Wing concept has been surfacing around different technology websites. No one till last week knew how much this technology can change the way aeroplanes fly and it also yields a remarkable increase in mileage of aircraft.

NASA has calculated that it could be 20 years before the new production method becomes commercially feasible, but the technology could begin to help improve conventional aircraft much sooner.

Known as the X-48C design, this technology uses new, cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, and a very efficient “ultra-high bypass ratio” engine that consumes significantly less fuel than other aircraft.


A engineering-cum-scientific team from NASA worked in collaboration with Pratt & Whitney and Boeing on the project that cost $300 million. The results included a manufacturing process that could cut the weight of an aircraft by 25%, which would greatly reduce the fuel it consumes.

Maintaining cabin pressure in the tube-like fuselage of a traditional airplane is simpler because of the shape, and it’s also something that engineers and designers have been working on for decades.

The fuselage of a wing-shaped design is boxier, and so maintaining cabin pressure presents a new set of problems that need to be dealt with.

The reason the new process will be able to help conventional aircraft years before is that this wing design has additional design difficulties that need to be overcome before they can really be used in a large scale.

The team is working on various methods for maintaining the cabin pressure. By 2015, they expect to have finished building a 30-foot-wide wing-shaped structure to show the feasibility of the design and manufacturing process.

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