By Jordi Lippe-McGraw. Photos: Getty.
While there have certainly been advances in technology in terms of reducing drag, improving GPS capabilities, and even reducing jet lag, airplane design hasn't fundamentally changed since the Wright brothers first used a combustion engine on an aircraft in 1903. But, a group of elementary school kids in Chula Vista, California may now be leading the charge when it comes to innovation, as they came up with some clever ideas about the future of flight.
Six sixth-graders recently won a contest held by UTC Aerospace Systems Aerostructures for their airplane designs after learning about flight basics like lift, drag, and aerodynamics. The students were then given free rein to create the airplane they think would best improve the future of air travel. The result?
One student’s design, called “Take Flight 2020,” is a war plane with a “vertical stabilizer,” six gold engines, two missiles, and leather seats. Another, called “Lightening 365,” is a double-decker plane that can hold up to 50 passengers and two pilots, has eight engines for safety, and a VIP section complete with a "mini pool." The “Oracle” plane features a glass roof (imagine the view!) and four engines, is made with “lightweight material to be as efficient as possible,” and can hold 127 passengers.
Sure, these creations may seem a bit outlandish, but they're not so far off when compared to some recent Airbus concepts. The airplane manufacturer has submitted a number of creative seating configuration patents including one where passengers are stacked on top of each other and another featuring a bicycle seat inspired arrangement. Zodiac Seats France, a competitor in the race for the craziest set-up, also filed a patent for what can only be described as the hexagon from hell, where you would face fellow passengers in a honeycomb pattern.
And that glass roof design that seems so impossible? Well, Windspeed Technologies previously unveiled concept designs for the SkyDeck, a pair of seats housed on a swivel-deck under a glass dome on top of the plane that allows a 360-degree view of the skies.
Perhaps an in-flight miniature pool isn’t out of the realm of possibility after all.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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