Airbus shows off plane of the future - and it's transparent

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Those of us who have problems with glass elevators could be grounded for good, if Airbus's new concept plane becomes a reality.

An almost entirely transparent fuselage is just one of the features of the plane it hopes we'll all be using by 2050.

And goodness only knows what a ticket'll cost. Rather than the standard division between just-bearable and jam-packed, the Concept Cabin, says Airbus, will have a series of different areas.

Passengers will be able to join an interactive conference, enjoy a game of virtual golf, read the kids back home a bedtime story or recharge in a 'vitalising seat' with vitamin and antioxidant enriched air, mood lighting, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments.

The  lightweight framework is based on the bone structure of a bird,providing greater strength where needed. An intelligent cabin wall membrane controls air temperature and can become transparent to give passengers open panoramic views.

An integrated 'neural network' enables bespoke features such as morphing seats which change to your body shape, and virtual pop up projections let passengers engage in holographic gaming or even use virtual changing rooms to try on new clothes. And there's a 'smart tech zone' for those who'd rather work.

And Airbus also wants to tout its green credentials. The company claims that more than 90 percent of its annual research and development investment - currently over €2 billion - has environmental benefits for current and future aircraft.

For example, the concept cabin will be 100 percent recyclable, says the company. It will use self-cleaning materials made from sustainable plant fibres which reduce waste and maintenance, and will even harvest passenger body heat to power cabin features.

"Our research shows that passengers of 2050 will expect a seamless travel experience while also caring for the environment. The Airbus Concept Cabin is designed with that in mind, and shows that the journey can be as much a voyage of discovery as the destination," says Charles Champion, Airbus executive vice president of engineering.

"Whichever flight experience is chosen, the passenger of 2050 will step out of the Airbus Concept Cabin feeling revitalised and enriched."