Aerospace: a growing industry meeting its environmental responsibilities

Airbus’ Global Marker Forecast for 2016-2035 states that air traffic doubles every 15 years. That equates to a requirement for more than 34,000 of their new aircraft by 2035. Most of that demand comes from the Asia-Pacific region.

Visitors from emerging economies now represent a 46% share of international arrivals (up from 38% in 2000). The World Tourism Organisation forecasts that global tourism arrivals will reach 1.6 billion by 2020 up from the current 1.14 billion today. India alone is planning 20 new airports by 2040.

This level of growth is leading to innovations across the industry with lighter planes with longer ranges that use less fuel, have lower emissions and provide a better passenger experience. I am proud that Dassault Systèmes is partnering on so many projects at all levels of the industry to invent the future of aerospace

No one can say with certainty what planes of the future will look like. However, most people agree that they will be better for the environment. With this aim Airbus is working on an electric plane the E-Fan. The company hopes that the E-Fan 2.0 – the first fully electric aeroplane to be certified, will go into production in 2017. E-Fan is a two-seater plane that can fly for 75 minutes before a re-charge is needed. From this small short range design, the company will learn how to scale up to develop passenger aircraft of the future. Another electric plane – E-Thrust is a hybrid design that uses jet fuel to re-charge its batteries at altitude.

Future electric and hybrid designs will have to be certified to carry passengers but in time they will reach that requirement and be a common sight at our airports. An important key to certification is 3D simulation because the more accurately new technologies and concepts can be simulated, the faster they can be introduced into the real world.

Learnt from nature, formation flying offers many advantages to the aerospace industry. Researchers at Stanford University found that if planes were allowed to fly in formation they could reduce fuel use by 12%, even with up to five miles separating each plane. This is because when planes fly their wings create vortices that can be exploited by planes flying above them. This provides extra lift that helps reduces fuel consumption.

Among other innovations, additive manufacture, is helping to reduce weight while battery technology is constantly progressing to provide more power from smaller lighter units.  Meanwhile, all the complex systems that comprise a finished plane can be hosted and accurately simulated on a cloud based unified platform that provides secure access to data and intellectual property from ideation, to specification and manufacture.

One of the most inspiring examples of innovation in aerospace is Solar Impulse 2.

Using only the sun for power and being able to fly through the night on batteries charged during the day Solar Impulse 2 circumnavigated the world in 2016 covering 35,000 miles. I am proud to say that this amazing feat was underpinned by my company’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform. This is also instrumental in the success of many and varied advances within the aerospace industry that will see clean and green flight becoming the norm over coming decades.

Going to the Paris Air Show? See demonstrations highlighting new ways to conceptualize your product and manufacturing strategy. Visit us in Booth E172 Hall 2B.

Stephen Chadwick

Managing Director at Dassault Systèmes
Stephen Chadwick is Dassault Systèmes' Managing Director for Northern Europe.