Six German students given the opportunity to come up with innovative new ideas for small electric airplanes have taken creative transportation technology to a whole new level.
The challenge, which came from Airbus, was to conceptualize an eco-friendly, quiet, two-seater electrical plane that was easy to operate on short runways and near large cities. The students participating in the project were not expected to consider usual Airbus specifications or Airbus parts that would normally be part of a new airplane design.
Quite literally, the sky was the limit!
A Magic Carpet Ride
Bruno Saint Jaimes, Airbus head of creative design and concepts, believes that the Magic Carpet Project has more importance than many people realize. In fact, he believes that the best ideas from the project can be used by Airbus as it works towards “more electric aviation” in the future.
But it also has an important role in terms of transportation in general. This has been an opportunity for design students to think out of the box.
“Electricity has the potential to change the future of flying vehicles,” he says.
Traditionally, as Saint Jaimes point outs, most transportation design students believe that their skills are only applicable to the automotive industry. So the Magic Carpet contest was conceived to show this isn’t true. Innovative ideas are also vital to expand the aerospace industry. By involving next generation designers, Airbus could show that aircraft aren’t simply machines and that the potential for design is immense.
“And we can have fun at Airbus,” he says.
The project, which took place at Pforzheim’s Hochschule University over a five-month period of time mid-2016, resulted in six amazingly different electric aviation designs:
- Glider A hang-glider type aircraft that uses electric propulsion to start up, take off, climb and cruise. It is controlled by shifting weight and features a propeller that can be folded away when gliding. The Airbus parts can also be disassembled to transport and store the plane.
- Stingshot Designed with a double fuselage, the innovative Stingshot has a distinctly futuristic appearance. It also has two separate cockpits, one for an instructor and the other for a trainee pilot.
- Lightweight aircraft Ultra lightweight, with wheels integrated with the tips of the wings, this electric plane has twin engines. Also futuristic-looking, it features a big cockpit that is sphere shaped, providing a magnificent panoramic view in flight.
- Boxwing The unique design of this low-weight electric aircraft makes it stable and agile. It also optimizes positioning of the battery pack used to power the aircraft.
- Asymmetrical aircraft Another Airbus electric two-seater, this asymmetrically designed plane has pusher fans that are powered by electric motors that are mounted at the rear of the plane. The design provides a high degree of propeller integration, effectively reducing the risk of propeller-type accidents for those using the aircraft.
- Flux Sleek and ultra-modern in design, the Flux featured electric fans that are integrated with the aircraft, rather than protruding from it’s exterior.
The Role of Airbus in the Project
All six students participating in the project worked closely with people from Airbus who reviewed their progress and gave advice relating to engineering and technical requirements. This enabled them to integrate suitable Airbus parts and Airbus services with their very different, innovative designs.
According to Saint Jaimes, the project was such a huge success the company is hoping to expand the Magic Carpet Project to many more design schools in Europe and in the USA.
Of course, the Magic Carpet planes are simply models, so you’re not going to find the Airbus parts used to build them. But if you’re looking Airbus parts, components, and Airbus services for aircraft currently in service, Prime Industries can help you. Contact us to check our current inventory, or to see whether we can find items for you that aren’t currently in stock.