British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills addresses an audience at the Airbus office in Filton, South Gloucestershire, England.
Airbus wants you to “live the panorama in which you are flying.” (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills/Flickr)

The evolution of commercial flight may soon take another great leap, if Airbus has anything to say about it. Reports indicate that the aircraft manufacturer expects by 2050 to produce a transparent plane fueled almost entirely by passenger body heat. The company also plans to meld the first-class seating system into a classless air utopia, albeit one that won’t come cheap.

Champion the future of air travel

Charles Champion, the head of engineering for Airbus, told the Telegraph that the company’s invisible concept plane will consist of a see-through fuselage, no first class section and a power plant fueled by body heat. The plane will be separated into two zones, the first being the SmartTech area where ergonomic comfort will be unprecedented for an array of passenger shapes and sizes. The other will be the Vitalizing/Relaxing Zone, where intelligent seats will sense the specific physical needs of passengers.

Avian sensation

Airbus passengers will enjoy some of the sensation of avian flight as they jet through the air, surrounded by a transparent biopolymer membrane. Like a bird suspended only by air currents, the SmartTech seats cradle passengers in ergonomic bliss.

But what will perhaps be most revolutionary about the Airbus invisible jet is the power source.

“The heat of your body can be used to power the aircraft,” said Champion.

It is unclear at this time whether body heat will power a sub-system like the lights or the engines of the transparent plane. If it is the latter, passengers will no doubt have to eat their fair share of airplane fare or risk falling to earth like Icarus.

Holiday from average flight

Airbus based its concept designs on a survey conducted via its corporate website. According to the survey findings:

“A third of the people that took part in our global Passenger 2050 survey of 10,000 people said that they want the flight itself to feel like a holiday experience and to be able to access all the technological advances which fill their daily lives during the flight.”

The Airbus Concept Cabin is the key engine through which the manufacturer will achieve this unique experience. The transparent biopolymer will allegedly be plant-based, according to Champion.

The plane that wasn’t there


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