A new era for commercial jet services, one that could change the way we see and do business, has started.
With a few big changes, such as the launch of an all-electric aircraft that could take off and land vertically and the development of more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, a whole new class of planes will come into being.
The new era has begun, says Mike Pritchard, CEO of New York-based aircraft and transport startup FlightAware.
“It will bring with it an entirely new class, not just aircraft carriers and aircraft, but everything from commercial vehicles and even some new technologies,” he said.
“What we’re seeing with commercial jet, is that this new class is going to have a new engine, a completely new engine that we have never seen before, so there’s going to be a whole slew of new technologies that are going to come into play, and a whole lot of new business models.”
What are the challenges of the new era?
FlightAware’s latest aircraft, the 737 MAX, is the world’s first jet that is entirely powered by electricity, and the first one to use the fuel-cell technology.
It is the first passenger aircraft that is fully powered by electric propulsion.
The plane’s cabin is made from carbon fiber and carbon fiber composites, and it features a new wing design, more efficient wing blades and a new composite tail.
The aircraft is designed to be able to land vertically, with a maximum speed of Mach 2.6 and a maximum takeoff weight of 9,000lbs.
FlightAnware, the company that owns the 737MAX, says it will be the first airline to be completely powered by the energy-generating technology.
“Our first jet will be a plane that is powered entirely by electricity,” said Pritcher.
“We are not building any fuel cell technology, we are building a fuel cell powered aircraft.”
Pritchard said the company has already received interest from more than 70,000 customers and that it expects to have at least one new customer in the coming months.
Pritcher said the new jet is designed specifically to be fully-electric and is powered by an electric motor.
Its designers have also incorporated new aerodynamics into the plane’s design.
Aircraft engines are usually designed with a fuel-flow shape that is controlled by an external power source, and when the power is applied, the engine will produce the same amount of energy as when the engine was started.
In the 737, Pritborough said that a large part of the engine’s efficiency comes from using the power generated by the electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine.
He said that the engine has been designed to last a few years in a vacuum, which means that it will have a lifetime of about 100,000 hours, which is much longer than most planes.
“The plane is designed so that it can be put into a vacuum and have an electric engine in it,” he explained.
That power, along with the jet’s design, have made the plane much more energy efficient than its predecessors.
With a larger fuel tank, more power and greater fuel efficiency, FlightAwear says it is now able to fly the plane for as little as three hours without needing to refuel.
If it has to refuel, FlightAnware says it can take off vertically and land in less than 10 minutes.
The new jet will likely have a shorter flight range than the 737 and, in its current form, could be used to carry passengers for longer.
FlightAnaware’s new aircraft could also have a range of more than 3,000 miles, Pregart said.
“You have a jet that’s going up to Mach 2, but you have a bigger fuel tank and a bigger payload that can go a bit further,” he added.
“That will make it more viable for airlines to fly these aircraft and allow them to get a lot more flights in, which in turn, could allow airlines to charge more to customers.”
Pregart, who was also CEO of JetBlue and United Airlines, said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to lead FlightAaware.
“I think what I’ve been able to bring to the table with this company, and also what I think the world has come to accept as a reality is that airlines need to have access to more aircraft and this is what we’re going to do, and this has a lot of benefits,” he concluded.
This story was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated to reflect the introduction of electric flight.
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