Airbus Looks to Nature for Design Inspiration to Create AlbatrossOne

Engineers at Airbus have unveiled a small remote-controlled aircraft demonstrator inspired by the flight of the albatross bird. Constructed from carbon-fiber and glass-fiber-reinforced polymers, the AlbatrosOne has “semi-aerostatic” flapping wings that can reduce drag and combat turbulence. The aircraft has just successfully completed its first “gate-to-gate” demonstration.

The AlbatrosOne

The albatross bird can lock its wings at the shoulder in order to navigate wind speeds while traveling long distances and facing wind gusts. The AlbatrosOne wing-tips are somewhat similar — even the aspect ratio of them matches that of the birds.

Inspired By Nature

The AlbatrosOne is one of many designs that Airbus has created inspired by animals — and no, technically, this does not include the heavy weight lifter Beluga, although the aesthetic similarity to the animal is rather uncanny.

Airbus Today

In April 2020, Airbus announced it was cutting aircraft production by a third due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The company’s profits for the quarter ending June 2020 showed a 55.52% decline compared to the previous year. About 15,000 positions could be reduced by summer 2021. Although Airbus has received government support, traffic air is not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 to 2025.

The Future of AlbatrossOne

Now that the AlbatrossOne proof-of-concept was achieved at a small scale, Airbus’s efforts are expected to continue toward a larger one. There are still several steps to demonstrate the availability of the product, but the company’s engineers are determined to alleviate wing loads and avoid tip stall for improved aircraft performance.

Anthropologist & User Experience Designer. I write about science and technology. Robot whisperer. VR enthusiast. Gamer. @yisela_at