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電動飛機、飛行出租車、超音速客機:細數本屆巴黎航展新亮點

Phil Boucher 2019年06月26日

雖然最吸引觀眾眼球的仍然是波音和空客這對宿敵的競爭,但真正值得關注的,卻是航展中體現的新技術。

Boom Supersonic公司的XB-1超音速客機離開機庫的CG圖。XB-1客機的身影也出現在了本周的巴黎航展上。圖片來源:Nathan Leach-Proffer Nathan Leach-Proffer www.speed-photos.com

在上周開始的2019年巴黎航展上,雖然最吸引觀眾眼球的仍然是波音和空客這對宿敵的競爭,但真正值得關注的,卻是航展中體現的新技術。

當前,航空業的碳排放量約占全球排放總量的2.5%。整個航空業已經做出承諾,到2050年,要將碳排放量在2005年的基礎上削減一半。因此,在此次全球航空業最大的年度展會期間,不少工程機構展示的創新技術都緊扣環保主題,比如混合動力發動機、城市機動載具、無人飛行系統等等。

本次巴黎航展的組織者表示:“巴黎航展本質上是一場面向未來的展會,它在一定程度上也參與了塑造行業的未來。這就是為什么‘創新’是第53屆巴黎航展的主題之一。”

當然,航空業的創新如此紅火,環保肯定不是唯一的因素。據瑞銀估計,到2040年,全球混合動力發動機的銷售額將達到1780億美元;到2030年,電動垂直起降系統(eVTOL)的市場規模將達2850億美元。

因此,空客、波音、貝爾和巴西航空工業等主要航空制造商紛紛與英特爾、亞馬遜、西門子等科技公司合作開展創新,其中不少廠商將創新重點放在混合動力發動機上,這種發動機可以在飛機起飛和爬升的過程中提供電力推動。如果工程師們能夠破解混動推進的難題,那么航空公司就可以節省30%的燃油,機票價格也將進一步下降,同時也減少了對環境的破壞,這是一個人人樂見的局面。

勞斯萊斯公司的技術總監保羅·斯坦在巴黎對記者表示:“我們必須讓航空業務實現增長,而且是可持續增長。”在本次巴黎航展期間,勞斯萊斯還宣布將收購西門子的電氣航天部門。

瑞銀的工業研究總監塞琳·福納羅表示:“消費者很可能會要求該領域的發展提速,這一點會越來越多地被所有人意識到。”

在本次巴黎航展上,民航領域究竟出現了哪些“黑科技”?下面就來看看:

全球首架全電動客機“愛麗絲”

以色列參展的這架“愛麗絲”(Alice)客機號稱是全世界第一架全電動的全尺寸客機。它能夠以240節(每小時276英里)的巡航速度飛行650英里,同時保持零排放,因此它也有望成為全球最環保的民航客機。它的制造商Eviation Aircraft公司還表示,由于該客機采用了三臺電力發動機和一塊3500公斤的電池作為動力系統,它的運行成本將比傳統飛機低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“愛麗絲”客機。圖片來源:Photo by Jean-Marie Liot for Eviation Aircraft

“這架飛機并不是遙不可及的未來。它已經在那兒了,做好了準備。”Eviation公司的首席執行官歐默·巴約伊在巴黎對記者表示,如果一切順利,“愛麗絲”將于今年下半年在美國亞利桑那州試飛,2020年提交美國聯邦航空管理局(FAA)認證,2021年在美國啟動生產,2022年開始交付使用,屆時單機售價預計在400萬美元左右。美國的支線航空公司海角航空(Cape Air)已經簽訂了購買92架該型客機的合同。

聯合技術公司的混動客機——“804項目”

電力發動機和油電混動發動機在汽車行業已經不是什么新鮮事物了。現在,聯合技術公司想通過它的“804項目”,將它從地上移植到天上。該項目的目標是要在現有的飛機上加裝新的電池技術,以及一套2兆瓦功率的油電混動推進系統。

“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項目”混動推進系統圖解。圖片來源:Photo courtesy of United Technologies

聯合技術公司的技術總監保羅·埃雷蒙科在巴黎接受CNBC采訪時表示:“假設我我們乘坐的是一架支線渦輪螺旋槳客機,我們的目標是,在飛機在起飛和爬升過程中,有一半的能源由電力提供,另一半由飛機引擎提供。”聯合技術公司認為,如果這項技術成功應用,飛機的每小時燃油成本將下降30%,并將顯著降低碳排放。聯合技術公司的目標是在2022年前造出一架技術驗證機。

“飛行出租車”空客Vahana

空客將它的創新項目Vahana稱作“電動、自動駕駛、垂直起降客機”。這個描述實在拗口。因此外界干脆形象地將其稱為“飛行出租車”。

“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。圖片來源:Airbus

2018年1月,擁有8個引擎的Vahana在美國完成首飛。2019年5月,Vahana證實了它的傾轉式機翼可以在垂直起飛后過渡到向前飛行狀態。據估算,Vahana的航程約為31英里,可以以100節(每小時115英里)的速度巡航。空客表示,Vahana的速度是一般汽車的4倍。而且由于它是全電動的,它也比一般飛機更環保。

對于一些容易緊張的乘客,Vahana可能不是他們的菜——這架飛機上只有一個座位,而且完全自動駕駛,所以不會有飛行員在那拉操縱桿,也不會有空姐給你發飛機餐。它依靠一套極為先進的自動避障系統,躲避航線上可能出現的飛鳥、無人機或其他障礙物。不過遺憾的是,Vahana并不會投入量產。目前,空客正在Vahana的技術基礎上研發第二架電動飛機“城市空客”(City Airbus),因而Vahana只是一架純粹的技術驗證機。

Boom Supersonic的兩款超音速客機

在此次巴黎航展上,總部位于美國科羅拉多州的Boom Supersonic公司展示了其在超音速客機技術上的重要突破。該公司計劃打造一款雙座超音速客機XB-1,并且在XB-1的基礎上,打造出一款可量產的超音速客機Overture。在使用了復合材料和新的引擎技術后,Boom Supersonic公司相信,Overture將成為史上最快、最清潔、最便宜的超音速客機——當然它的環保性可能會差強人意。

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客機的CG效果圖。圖片來源:Photo courtesy of Boom Supersonic

Boom Supersonic公司的首席執行官布萊克·肖爾在巴黎對記者表示:“今天,我們有了實現更快速的空中旅行的先進技術,我們的團隊最近幾年也在不懈努力,打造自協和號(Concorde)以來的第一架民用超音速飛機。”

Boom Supersonic公司已經與日本航空公司建立了戰略合作關系,雙方計劃在2019年12月生產出XB-1樣機,并在2020年開展超音速試飛。據美國聯邦航空局稱,Boom Supersonic公司是目前四家尋求在美國進行超音速客機認證的商用航空公司之一。為了鼓勵超音速客機的發展,美國聯邦航空局正在修改測試規則,以允許進行超音速飛行。美國聯邦航空局代理局長丹·埃爾韋爾于上周一在巴黎表示,該局正在努力“讓民用超音速客機回歸,同時確保它對環境的影響得到理解和妥善處理”。(財富中文網)

譯者:樸成奎

“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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