By Cheryl Lindsay
History was in the making at the 2011 Paris Air Show. From June 20-26 over 2000 exhibitors were in attendance at the Air Show, showing off the latest in aerospace technology, including many companies from close to home. Highlights at this year’s event included the Solar Impulse and Boeing’s ZHEST (Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation) passenger airplane.
With the wing span of an Airbus A340 (63.40m) yet weighing only as much as a car (1600 kg), the Solar Impulse is a breakthrough in the realm of solar powered flight, setting three world records from its historic flight July of last year – airborne for an amazing 26 hrs:10 min:19 sec
The Solar Impulse has now completed its initial phase and a second prototype is being created to further test the possibilities of this incredible technology.
The ZEHST may be a bit further off in the future, or about 40 years further off, but with this project now under way there is a distinct focus of today’s top aerospace engineers. The plan for the ZEHST is to run on mainly hydrogen with a three tier propulsion system, reach heights of 100 000 feet and reduce 10-12 hour flights, to only 2 hours! The hypersonic jet is expected to be making commercial flights by 2050, which in my opinion couldn’t come quick enough!
RIC Centre Advisory Board Member and Past Chair, Bill Matthews – Marketing VP of Magellan Aerospace, says “Magellan Corp. was one of many Ontario companies who participated in the 49th Paris Air Show in June. News releases during the show focused on increased world-wide market demand for commercial aircraft over the remainder of this decade.”
Clearly there was a theme at the Air Show this year and it can be concluded that clean and sustainable energy is the future of aerospace.
Cheryl Lindsay is an undergrad student at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. She is currently enrolled in the CCIT program pursuing a specialist in Digital Enterprise Management. Cheryl is a student intern with the RIC Centre acting as Assisting Communications Officer.