Airbus Looks at See-Through Plane Design

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Talk about feeling like you're floating on air. Engineers at Airbus have come up with a design for the future that involves a passenger plane that could be made completely see-through.

It works like this: Once in flight, the captain would push a button that would send an electrical current through a futuristic high-tech ceramic skin. The skin would peel back revealing windows all around.

The result would be amazing views including the stars above and city lights below.

"Passengers in an airplane like this would experience flight in a completely new way," Axel Krein, 49, head of research and technology for the European aircraft manufacturer, tells Der Spiegel.

Yes, it sounds like science fiction and the "Concept Plane" is not actually being manufactured, yet.

But it's one of the ideas that developed when Airbus engineers were asked to let their imaginations run wild.

"What emerged were completely realistic visions of flight in the year 2050," Krien says. "Our people are grounded in reality, after all. And most of the necessary technology already exists."

Another idea for the "Concept Plane" is an outer skin that could repair itself in the case of a crack, using sensors that would trigger microscopic capsules containing a high-tech adhesive.

"The airplane almost becomes a living organism this way," Krein says.

The futuristic plane also features streamlined engines that would be embedded in the fuselage rather than attached to the wings.

Airbus photo
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