Boeing unveils refreshed jet concept with ultra-thin wings

January 09, 2019 09:13
Boeing shows a new iteration of an airplane wing system at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics during an event in San Diego on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Boeing has unveiled a speedier and higher-flying version of a concept plane that promises to sharply reduce fuel use thanks to its elongated ultra-light wings.

The so-called Transonic Truss-Braced Wing aircraft boasts a 170-foot wingspan that sits atop the fuselage and is braced from underneath by a truss in a design reminiscent of biplanes from the early years of aviation, Reuters reports.

Boeing and US space agency NASA have been studying the concept plane for nearly a decade as part of the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research program, according to the report.

Boeing unveiled a reconfigured model or prototype and artist’s rendering at an aerospace conference in San Diego on Tuesday.

The company said it tweaked the plane’s designs with an optimized truss and a modified wing sweep that allow it to fly at speeds of Mach .8, or about 600 miles (965 km) per hour, slightly faster than previous designs but on par with current passenger jetliners.

According to Boeing, the jet ideally would reduce fuel burn by 60 percent compared to an aircraft in 2005.

The plane maker said it did not have final data to compare the fuel savings to present-day aircraft.

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