What if, due to the climate emergency, a definitive line on air travel didn’t need to be drawn immediately? Aside from the fact that it seems impossible in today’s world, aviation giants like countless startups are currently working on electric, greener, hydrogen-powered aircraft, running on fuels labeled “sustainable”, etc
In short, while no company will make A-to-B air travel completely neutral from an environmental perspective, solutions are being sought to make aviation a little greener. And finding them is urgent: According to Boeing, the number of planes crossing our skies is projected to increase by 82% by 2041.
Perhaps the strange hybrid triplane proposed by the British company Faradair will find its place in this busy world of activities that we want to make as polluting as possible.
Called Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA), the device was designed for short flights, seats nineteen, and is powered by a propeller, which in turn is powered by an electric motor and a small gas turbine. In addition, solar panels could supply the likewise unpressurized cabin with energy in order to reduce maintenance costs.
An important point for a company that wants to put hundreds of its devices in rotation over our cities and heads: The BEHA, which the three aircraft are supposed to offer better lift and which will tend to fly at low altitudes, is particularly quiet.
“Why don’t we use planes like buses?”asks Cloughley to a BBC journalist. “Primarily because of the operating costs of conventional aircraft. In addition, when many aircraft are used, there is a lot of noise. And of course we have entered an era where environmental sustainability is truly key to our future.”
“We therefore decided to propose an aircraft that is not only economical to use, i.e. efficient and inexpensive, but also quiet and durable.”the Brit announces as if his project had been born in the blink of an eye.
Faradair’s declared goal is as ambitious as his boss’s promises: The company finally wants to offer very cheap flights, a kind of replacement for intercity travel by train or road with short vacations in the BEHA chip.
A journey between London and Manchester would cost around £25 (around €30), which company boss Neil Cloughley estimates is cheaper than a train ticket.
Can we, should we, believe in such promises? Yes. If the Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft is still far from reaching the market and if the true global costs in CO2 its integration into our mode of transport must be examined very carefully, a small hope does not commit you to anything for the time being.