Let’s face it. Most people don’t think about the type of plane they’re getting on when they fly. The most important fact to most travelers is window versus aisle. But, for a select few of us crazies, innovation in air travel is insanely interesting. Like two car enthusiasts comparing a 67 Shelby to a Dodge Charger from the same year, airline geeks (yup, I’m a card-carrying member)trade war stories about inaugural flights on new plane types. Mine was the inaugural 787 flight from Boston to Tokyo last year.
That’s why I took a keen interest in this recent blog post discussing some of Boeing’s latest patents. The post discusses three new patents awarded to Boeing:
A patent for anchoring the engines to the fuselage as opposed to the wings.
The reasoning behind the design would be to reduce noise on takeoff and landing.
The second patent discussed is one for removable battery packs. The theory here is that airline employees would swap out the battery packs when a plane pulls up to the gate. This would significantly reduce the amount of charging time needed in a plane that relied significantly on electric power for lower emissions. This one seems like it’s a long ways away, but interesting nonetheless.
Finally, a patent for a plane configuration that could carry shipping containers in the fuselage.
This reminds me of the Dreamlifter, the super Frankenstein plane Boeing built to transport pieces of the 787 from overseas to their factories in the US.
All ideas that seem to be narrow possibilities in the foreseeable future. Then again, so was the 787 20 years ago. Only time will tell…