When we picture transportation of the future, we tend to think “sleek.” A Spanish designer has gone in the opposite direction with his vision for an environmentally friendly, futuristic “whale plane” that looks like a cruise ship in the sky.
Oscar Viñals, from Barcelona, envisioned the “AWWA Sky Whale” concept plane as a mixture of today’s current designs and future concepts that don’t yet exist–essentially a design that could work in the near-term.
The plane is like an Airbus A380 on steroids–on three levels, it would fit 755 travelers–and would be powered with micro solar panels and four large hybrid electric engines that can rotate to ease takeoff and landing. The plane would reduce noise, pollutants, and fuel burned during what is currently one of the least green modes of getting to a destination, Viñals writes on the design site Behance.
Viñals imagines the Sky Whale concept would have other futuristic components, including a self-healing skin with adaptable opacity, active wings that reduce turbulence, and innovative ceramic and fiber composite materials. He even has a plan for the plane to break apart on an emergency landing so to try to limit the damage.
Much of this leans towards the “not-quite-there-yet” side of technology, but judging by the reaction to his designs, there is definitely some hunger for innovation in how we fly. One part of the design that seems unnecessary? Virtual reality windows. Why would anyone want to watch an imagined reality when the view out any old regular airplane window is so awe-inspiring.