Airbus's bird of prey gives wings to the usage of Biomimicry in aerospace design

by Ashini K Ekanayake

In recent weeks, Airbus has revealed an avian concept for their commonly recognized Airbus, named the “Bird of Prey”. This was meant to explore the future of the design of aircraft by utilizing biomimicry.

Airbus’s vision on how biomimicry can affect aerospace design

Airbus’s vision on how biomimicry can affect aerospace design

This design was inspired by the efficient means of a bird’s flight due to the design of their wings, as seen by the feather-like tips of the concept’s wings and tail. These tips aid in reducing the drag on the aircraft, while also aiding in better control of the aircraft. Inspired by the aerodynamic arch of a large bird of prey such as an eagle or falcon, the concept also possesses a smooth wing root, where the wing of the plane is smoothly joined to the fuselage. This concept is based on realistic ideas, and is meant to provide insight into the future of aviation design if designers leaned more into biomimicry, where aspects of an object’s design is inspired by nature

Martin Aston, a senior manager at Airbus, stated that the Bird of Prey concept is meant to inspire younger generations of designers and cause them to consider aerospace design as a future career. He also mentions how one of the main concerns of the industry is ensuring the sustainability of the aircraft’s design. This can be done by making the flight cleaner, quieter, and more environmentally friendly. “From our initial work on the A350 XWB passenger jet which utilizes biomimicry, we confirmed the belief that nature has some of the best lessons we can learn about design”, he quips. 

This concept was revealed at the Royal International Air Tattoo air show in Gloucestershire, England. The Bird of Prey concept design is a hybrid-electric, turbo-propeller aircraft which is intended for regional air transportation. The plane has a seating capacity of up to 80 passengers and has a range of 1,500 kilometers. Due to the presence of the hybrid-electric propulsion system, the Bird of Prey concept is able to burn 30-50 percent less fuel than modern airliners. This is able to provide the optimal low-speed performance while remaining environmentally friendly. This concept will power propellers which are made of carbon fibre, making it quieter than modern aircraft as well.

A separate design studio, Layer, has also developed a smart seating concept earlier this year when envisioning the future of air travel, and will be used in the Airbus’ economy class. This concept will allow passengers to control and monitor the conditions of their seat using their phones.

By combining all these technological advancements and innovations, this will truly showcase the potential of aerospace design, and how the future of aircraft will develop.