Innovation Readiness: Past and Current Drivers in Aeronautical Engineering 2011-01-2501
This paper proposes a rearview on aeronautical innovation, addresses some 2000-2010 new products, and suggests elements of future vision, serving passengers aspirations.
Over 100 years, aeronautics brilliantly domesticated flight: feasibility, safety, efficiency, international travel, traffic volume and noise, allowing airlines to run a business, really connecting real people. Despite some maturations, new developments should extend the notion of passenger service. So far, turbofans became silent and widebodies opened ‘air-bus’ travel for widespread business, tourism or education. Today airports symbolize cities and vitalize regional economies.
2000-2010 saw the full double-decker, the new eco-friendly freighter and electronic ticketing. In technology, new winglets and neo classical engines soon will save short-range blockfuel. In systems and maintenance, integrated modular avionics and onboard data systems give new flexibility, incl by data links to ground. In cabins, silence and adaptation to passenger preferences become a must.
Innovation Readiness. As designers young generations grasp new modes of knowledge, entertainment and social networking, we shall adapt our methods. As passengers travel to more cities on all continents, we shall learn and answer their varied tastes. As information flows, and cooperation is across world and time zones, we shall learn to challenge and innovate together.
Innovation is technology but is also rethinking the product and its functions, making it mundane to use. It is also readiness to serve passengers by richer design methods and readiness to manage contingencies.
Last two decades changed the design and operation paradigm… again, which always changed anyway. This brought a world of possibilities, with global market forecasts still doubling every 15 years. The experienced aircraft manufacturer, used to design, certification, new technologies, cooperation, customer dialogue and constructive debate, is a brains net of doers, likely to stay well positioned to offer best on-board service to future passengers. There should be bright steves, and jobs, in an engineering of passion, in aeronautics.