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电动飞机、飞行出租车、超音速客机:细数本届巴黎航展新亮点

Phil Boucher 2019年06月26日

虽然最吸引观众眼球的仍然是波音和空客这对宿敌的竞争,但真正值得关注的,却是航展中体现的新技术。

Boom Supersonic公司的XB-1超音速客机离开机库的CG图。XB-1客机的身影也出现在了本周的巴黎航展上。图片来源:Nathan Leach-Proffer Nathan Leach-Proffer www.speed-photos.com

在上周开始的2019年巴黎航展上,虽然最吸引观众眼球的仍然是波音和空客这对宿敌的竞争,但真正值得关注的,却是航展中体现的新技术。

当前,航空业的碳排放量约占全球排放总量的2.5%。整个航空业已经做出承诺,到2050年,要将碳排放量在2005年的基础上削减一半。因此,在此次全球航空业最大的年度展会期间,不少工程机构展示的创新技术都紧扣环保主题,比如混合动力发动机、城市机动载具、无人飞行系统等等。

本次巴黎航展的组织者表示:“巴黎航展本质上是一场面向未来的展会,它在一定程度上也参与了塑造行业的未来。这就是为什么‘创新’是第53届巴黎航展的主题之一。”

当然,航空业的创新如此红火,环保肯定不是唯一的因素。据瑞银估计,到2040年,全球混合动力发动机的销售额将达到1780亿美元;到2030年,电动垂直起降系统(eVTOL)的市场规模将达2850亿美元。

因此,空客、波音、贝尔和巴西航空工业等主要航空制造商纷纷与英特尔、亚马逊、西门子等科技公司合作开展创新,其中不少厂商将创新重点放在混合动力发动机上,这种发动机可以在飞机起飞和爬升的过程中提供电力推动。如果工程师们能够破解混动推进的难题,那么航空公司就可以节省30%的燃油,机票价格也将进一步下降,同时也减少了对环境的破坏,这是一个人人乐见的局面。

劳斯莱斯公司的技术总监保罗·斯坦在巴黎对记者表示:“我们必须让航空业务实现增长,而且是可持续增长。”在本次巴黎航展期间,劳斯莱斯还宣布将收购西门子的电气航天部门。

瑞银的工业研究总监塞琳·福纳罗表示:“消费者很可能会要求该领域的发展提速,这一点会越来越多地被所有人意识到。”

在本次巴黎航展上,民航领域究竟出现了哪些“黑科技”?下面就来看看:

全球首架全电动客机“爱丽丝”

以色列参展的这架“爱丽丝”(Alice)客机号称是全世界第一架全电动的全尺寸客机。它能够以240节(每小时276英里)的巡航速度飞行650英里,同时保持零排放,因此它也有望成为全球最环保的民航客机。它的制造商Eviation Aircraft公司还表示,由于该客机采用了三台电力发动机和一块3500公斤的电池作为动力系统,它的运行成本将比传统飞机低70%。

The rivalry between Airbus and Boeing may have grabbed most attention at the 2019 Paris Air Show last week, but it was new technology that dominated behind the scenes.

Aviation currently accounts for around 2.5% of global carbon emissions and with the industry has pledged to halve its 2005-level footprint by 2050 through an offsetting program. Therefore engineering firms were keen to showcase a range of eco-friendly inventions such as hybrid engines, urban mobility vehicles, and autonomous flight systems at the annual event, the largest for the aerospace industry.

“The Paris Air Show is an exhibition essentially oriented towards the future, which it helps to shape. This is why innovation is one of the main themes of this 53rd edition,” said the Paris organizers.

It’s not just environmental considerations driving the research: UBS estimates sales of hybrid engines will be worth $178 billion by 2040, while the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) market will be a $285 billion business by 2030.

For these reasons, major players such as Airbus, Boeing, Bell, and Embraer are hooking up with tech firms such as Intel, Amazon, and Siemens to explore new possibilities, with much of the focus being directed at hybrid engines that provide an electric boost during take-off and climb. Should the engineers crack hybrid propulsion, then airlines can hope for a 30% fuel saving, making air travel cheaper and more eco-friendly for everyone.

“We’ve got to make aviation grow and be sustainable,” Rolls-Royce CTO Paul Stein told reporters in Paris, where the British engineering giant announced its takeover of Siemens’ electric aerospace division.

“The consumer is probably going to demand an acceleration in this space,” added Celine Fornaro, head of industrials research at UBS. “It’s starting to be more present in everyone’s conscience.”

Here is a brief sampling of the key civilian technology displayed at the Paris Air Show:

The Eviation Alice, an electric plane

Billed as the world’s first full-sized, all-electric aircraft, the Israeli-made Alice is designed to fly up to 650 miles at a cruising speed of 240 knots (276 mph) while producing zero emissions, potentially making it the world’s most eco-friendly city-hopper. Eviation Aircraft also claims it will have 70% fewer running costs than conventional jets, thanks to a propulsion system that relies on three electric motors and a 3,500kg battery.

在巴黎航展上展出的以色列Eviation公司的“爱丽丝”客机。图片来源:Photo by Jean-Marie Liot for Eviation Aircraft

“这架飞机并不是遥不可及的未来。它已经在那儿了,做好了准备。”Eviation公司的首席执行官欧默·巴约伊在巴黎对记者表示,如果一切顺利,“爱丽丝”将于今年下半年在美国亚利桑那州试飞,2020年提交美国联邦航空管理局(FAA)认证,2021年在美国启动生产,2022年开始交付使用,届时单机售价预计在400万美元左右。美国的支线航空公司海角航空(Cape Air)已经签订了购买92架该型客机的合同。

联合技术公司的混动客机——“804项目”

电力发动机和油电混动发动机在汽车行业已经不是什么新鲜事物了。现在,联合技术公司想通过它的“804项目”,将它从地上移植到天上。该项目的目标是要在现有的飞机上加装新的电池技术,以及一套2兆瓦功率的油电混动推进系统。

“This aircraft is not some future maybe. It is there, ready and waiting,” Eviation CEO, Omer Bar-Yohay, told reporters in Paris, before explaining that the aircraft will be test flighted in Arizona later this year. If all goes well, the Alice will be submitted for Federal Aviation Administration certification in 2020, with manufacturing beginning in the U.S. by 2021. Deliveries of the $4 million eco-plane are scheduled to start in 2022, with U.S. regional airline Cape Air already signed up to buy 92 models.

United Technologies’ Project 804, a hybrid-electric add-on

The auto industry has made electric and hybrid-electric transport a reality on the ground. Now, United Technologies wants to take it to the skies, through “Project 804,” which adds new battery technology and a 2-megawatt hybrid-electric propulsion system to an existing aircraft.

“804项目”混动推进系统图解。图片来源:Photo courtesy of United Technologies

联合技术公司的技术总监保罗·埃雷蒙科在巴黎接受CNBC采访时表示:“假设我我们乘坐的是一架支线涡轮螺旋桨客机,我们的目标是,在飞机在起飞和爬升过程中,有一半的能源由电力提供,另一半由飞机引擎提供。”联合技术公司认为,如果这项技术成功应用,飞机的每小时燃油成本将下降30%,并将显著降低碳排放。联合技术公司的目标是在2022年前造出一架技术验证机。

“飞行出租车”空客Vahana

空客将它的创新项目Vahana称作“电动、自动驾驶、垂直起降客机”。这个描述实在拗口。因此外界干脆形象地将其称为“飞行出租车”。

“We’re basically taking a commuter regional turboprop airplane and we’re making it such that during take-off and climb, about half the energy is supplied electrically and about half of the supply is maintained by the engine,” United Technologies Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko told CNBC in Paris. If successful, UT believes Project 804 will reduce fuel costs on a typical one-hour flight by 30% and significantly lower carbon emissions. The firm aims to have a demonstration aircraft flying by 2022.

The Airbus Vahan, a flying taxi

Airbus describes its skunkworks Project Vahana as an “electric, self-piloted vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) passenger aircraft.” To everyone else, however, it will always be known as a “flying taxi”.

在巴黎航展上展出的空客Vahana。图片来源:Airbus

2018年1月,拥有8个引擎的Vahana在美国完成首飞。2019年5月,Vahana证实了它的倾转式机翼可以在垂直起飞后过渡到向前飞行状态。据估算,Vahana的航程约为31英里,可以以100节(每小时115英里)的速度巡航。空客表示,Vahana的速度是一般汽车的4倍。而且由于它是全电动的,它也比一般飞机更环保。

对于一些容易紧张的乘客,Vahana可能不是他们的菜——这架飞机上只有一个座位,而且完全自动驾驶,所以不会有飞行员在那拉操纵杆,也不会有空姐给你发飞机餐。它依靠一套极为先进的自动避障系统,躲避航线上可能出现的飞鸟、无人机或其他障碍物。不过遗憾的是,Vahana并不会投入量产。目前,空客正在Vahana的技术基础上研发第二架电动飞机“城市空客”(City Airbus),因而Vahana只是一架纯粹的技术验证机。

Boom Supersonic的两款超音速客机

在此次巴黎航展上,总部位于美国科罗拉多州的Boom Supersonic公司展示了其在超音速客机技术上的重要突破。该公司计划打造一款双座超音速客机XB-1,并且在XB-1的基础上,打造出一款可量产的超音速客机Overture。在使用了复合材料和新的引擎技术后,Boom Supersonic公司相信,Overture将成为史上最快、最清洁、最便宜的超音速客机——当然它的环保性可能会差强人意。

The 8-engined Vahana first flew in the U.S. in January 2018, and in May 2019 proved it’s tandem tilt-wing can ably transition from vertical take-off to forward flight. With an estimated range of 31 miles and cruise speed is 100 knots (115mph), Airbus estimates the Vahana is up to four times faster than traveling by car. Being all-electric, it’s also far more environmentally-friendly.

The Vahana might not appeal to nervous fliers: It’s a single-seater and entirely self-piloted, so there’s no pilot pulling a joystick or flight attendant bringing food—or booze. Instead, it relies on a series of highly-sophisticated detect-and-avoid systems to sidestep any birds, drones, or other flight hazards that happen to cross its path. You needn’t lose any sleep though: Airbus—which is also developing a second electric flier called the CityAirbus—doesn’t plan to put the Vahana into production; it is purely an experimental vehicle that Airbus is using to develop its technology.

Boom Supersonic’s XB-1 and Overture, super-fast jets

Colorado-based Boom Supersonic (Boom) used Paris to showcase the engineering milestones in the creation of its two-seat supersonic jet, the XB-1, a plane it hopes will lay the foundations for the creation of a supersonic passenger jet called Overture. Thanks to the use of composite materials and new engine technology, Boom believes the Overture will be the fastest, cleanest and cheapest supersonic passenger aircraft in history—although that’s not to say it’s going to be exactly eco-friendly.

Boom Supersonic公司Overture客机的CG效果图。图片来源:Photo courtesy of Boom Supersonic

Boom Supersonic公司的首席执行官布莱克·肖尔在巴黎对记者表示:“今天,我们有了实现更快速的空中旅行的先进技术,我们的团队最近几年也在不懈努力,打造自协和号(Concorde)以来的第一架民用超音速飞机。”

Boom Supersonic公司已经与日本航空公司建立了战略合作关系,双方计划在2019年12月生产出XB-1样机,并在2020年开展超音速试飞。据美国联邦航空局称,Boom Supersonic公司是目前四家寻求在美国进行超音速客机认证的商用航空公司之一。为了鼓励超音速客机的发展,美国联邦航空局正在修改测试规则,以允许进行超音速飞行。美国联邦航空局代理局长丹·埃尔韦尔于上周一在巴黎表示,该局正在努力“让民用超音速客机回归,同时确保它对环境的影响得到理解和妥善处理”。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

“Today, we have the advanced technology to realize faster air travel, and our teams have been working tirelessly over the past few years to build the first civil supersonic plane since Concorde,” Blake Scholl, CEO of Boom told reporters in Paris.

Boom—which has a strategic partnership with Japan Airlines (JAL)—aims to roll out the XB-1 in December 2019, with supersonic flight planned for 2020. According to the FAA, it is one of four commercial firms seeking to certify supersonic passenger jets in the U.S. To encourage the development of the aircraft, the FAA is altering testing rules to allow for supersonic flight. The agency is working to “enable the return of civil supersonic travel while ensuring the environmental impacts are understood and properly addressed,” Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said in Paris on last Monday.

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