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Stefan Mileschin 10th September 2012 07:59

Airbus imagines 'smarter skies' by 2050
Airbus has been crafting its plane of the future for some time now, and while earlier visualizations focus on see-through aircraft with shapeshifting seats, the aviation company's latest ideas have the environment -- and passengers' precious time -- in mind. Airbus just unveiled its "Smarter Skies" conceptualization of what air travel will look like in 2050, and all signs point to shorter flights and less energy consumption. For one, the aircraft manufacturer imagines an assisted takeoff, dubbed "eco-climb" mode, where smaller, lighter airplanes would depart from shorter runways and reach cruising altitude faster. Once in the air, planes could pinpoint the most direct route and travel en masse -- a la a flock of birds -- along "express skyways" to reduce emissions and arrive at their destinations sooner. (That idea's totally gonna fly, right?) And when it comes time to land, aircraft could descend into airports with engines running in idle, allowing for reduced noise and emissions. Take a look at all five concepts in action in the video below the break.

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