Influence of Technology Trends on Future Aircraft Architecture
Author(s)Cameron, Bruce Gregory; Crawley, Edward F; Kellari, Demetrios
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In the last 30 years, aircraft performance has experienced diminishing returns in terms of efficiency, on the order of 1% reduction in fuel consumption annually since 2010. Meanwhile, according to projections by Airbus and Boeing, air passenger traffic is expected to increase 3.5-4.6% per annum. International Civil Aviation Organization has recommended that overall energy efficiency be improved by 2% annually. The rate of increase in demand and decrease in fuel consumption raises the question of how this goal can be met. In this paper, engine technology advances are identified as the most significant contributing trend to aircraft performance. These trends are extrapolated in order to analyze the conditions that could lead to a potential break in the dominant aircraft architecture. A hybrid analytical/empirical model for aircraft optimization is used to predict the effects of these technological trends on aircraft design. Four technology scenarios are used to analyze the expected performance increase and expected year of break in architecture, for existing airframes and unconstrained airframe geometry. It is found that for existing airframes performance is expected to increase by 6-38% relative to the 737MAX and A320neo within the next 10- 14 years and 17-40% for an unconstrained airframe within the next 20-30 years.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society; System Design and Management Program
Journal of Aircraft
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Kellari, Demetrios, et al. “Influence of Technology Trends on Future Aircraft Architecture.” Journal of Aircraft, vol. 54, no. 6, Nov. 2017, pp. 2213–27.