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B797 carrying 1000 pax flies in from parallel universe

October 4, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The dust is still settling after a massive footy weekend, but that doesn’t make today April Fool’s Day – which is why YouTube footage of an enormous Boeing 797 BWB, twice the size of an A380, taking off and cruising with 1000 passengers aboard caused surprise.

The giant Boeing Stingray BWB (Blended Wing Body) plane can be seen taking off, taxiing and cruising at altitude in the 75-second clip.

It’s well worth watching, though the site behind it is Chinese, which limits your understanding unless you can speak and read that language.

Is it real? There are some anomalies. Observe 16 seconds into the clip (and in the image below) – isn’t that a Lauda insignia on the front of the plane? It is. The Austrian airline founded by former Formula One world motor racing champion Niki Lauda ceased operations in 2013, which arouses suspicions. Why would a “Boeing 797” be sporting that insignia? Did it fly in from a parallel universe?

Not quite. The footage is a computer-graphics mock-up, based on research by Boeing and NASA on a Blended Wing Body (BWB) that was tested recently at NASA Langley Research Centre in Virginia, in model form.

What’s known is that Boeing and NASA researchers are using a 6%-scale, four-metre-wingspan BWB model “to validate testing methodology, as well as map airflow over the airplane using lasers and smoke with a technique known as particle imagery velocimetry (PIV)”, according to the Boeing website.

Boeing is readying the BWB for the next step in maturing the concept – a manned demonstrator.

Boeing sees potential for a BWB-type aircraft to be developed in the next 10 years as a subsonic transport, “possibly beginning with military transport variants for airlift and aerial refuelling”, says John Dorris III, Mobility senior manager, Phantom Works Fixed Wing Assembly for Boeing.

Dorris carries one of the most impressive titles we’ve struck in years!

In the meantime, to learn more about the Boeing program, see here. And finally, here’s something similar that NASA has worked on at its Langley Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia.

Written by Peter Needham

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