End of airliner evolution?

From:         imacduff@aol.com (IMacduff)
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Date:         08 Oct 96 13:00:10 
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I would like to hear others views on where advances in aeronautics will
take us and how far away is the end.  I find it curious that the basic
design of airliners hasn't changed that much ( nothing revolutionary
anyway) since the 707.  How efficient can you make jet engines?  Do higher
speeds (supersonic) come free or will they always require compromise (ie
fuel efficiency, safety, approach speeds)?  Are there any revolutionary
aerodynamic designs still untried in the wind tunnels or computer
simulations?

I believe that fifty years from now we will be flying airliners very
similar to todays, with only minor enhancements.  They will still be
almost entirely subsonic and have very similar overall performance.  I am
criticized for this by day-dreamers who believe Mr. Ingenuity always has
another trick up his sleeve, and hypersonic travel will be commonplace in
the future.  However, airliners of today are a mature technology, with
most major advances to take place on the flightdeck and not in the actual
airframe.  Even technology on the flightdeck will mature and stabalize
soon.  After all, once you can pinpoint your position in real time
anywhere in the world to within a few feet and carry a topographic map of
the entire world on CD ROM (not far away), where do you go from there?

Ian

imacduff@aol.com