Illustrating a possible future airliner that might emerge from research under way in Europe, the cover of Aviation Week & Space Technology's
June 20 Paris air show special issue was created exclusively for us by Kaktus Digital
I first became aware of their work when I saw the stunning graphics and animations produced by Kaktus artist Henry Lam for the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Greener By Design
group. These included an RAeS-designed blended wing-body concept, the RS-001
, and a single-aisle airliner, the RS-002, both with open-rotor engines (see videos below).
Wanting to feature a potential product of Europe's Clean Sky aeronautics research program on the cover of our Paris 2011 issue, we approached Henry. We wanted to illustrate an advanced airliner that could conceivably emerge from the work on laminar-flow wings, open-rotor engines and other advanced technologies. And we wanted it to look as realistic as possible.
As a starting point, we provided Henry with graphics from several recent Airbus patents illustrating advanced airliner configurations, with features such as foward-swept wing, laminar-flow fuselage and noise-shielding tail. He took it from there, efortlessly incorporating any changes we requested (such as the tail shape) and producing the kind of high-end 3D image for which Kaktus is known.
Such an aircraft is feasible, but when it might emerge is far from clear. Airbus's decision to re-engine the A320 has pushed an all-new single-aisle airliner to 2025 or beyond. But, as the package of stories in our Paris issue makes clear, Clean Sky and other European programs are putting the technologies in place. And Henry's art brings the concept to life.Concept: Kaktus Digital
Our thanks to Henry for working with us to create a dramatic and exclusive cover for Paris 2011. To see some of the other great work by Kaktus, be sure to check out their online portfolio of 3D renderings and animations
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