The next generation of single-aisle aircraft has a lot to learn from MAVERIC, Airbus’ latest aircraft demonstrator. The game-changing “blended wing body” design could generate up to 20% fuel savings and significantly improve the passenger experience thanks to its exceptionally spacious cabin layout.
The conventional tube-and-wing configuration with wing-mounted engines: it is the iconic aircraft shape that has captured the imagination of aviation enthusiasts for decades. But someday soon, passengers may find themselves travelling in an aircraft that looks nothing like the ones seen on today’s runways.
So what if that future aircraft looked like a giant flying wing?
This is the concept behind MAVERIC, an aircraft demonstrator unveiled at Singapore Air Show 2020. The innovative design — known as a “blended wing body”—is a complete departure from traditional aircraft architecture thanks to a wide cabin layout that completely breaks the mould of conventional single-aisle aircraft. In fact, the design is so radical, some engineers did not believe in its potential at first.
At Airbus, we understand society expects more from us in terms of improving the environmental performance of our aircraft. MAVERIC’s blended wing body configuration is a potential game-changer in this respect, and we’re keen to push the technology to the limit.
"Initially, many dismissed the MAVERIC project as merely a ‘hobby,’ or, in other words, a project Airbus wouldn’t learn very much from," explains Adrien Bérard, MAVERIC Project Co-Leader. "So we had to prove them wrong by showing that we could deliver a very sound basis for future aircraft configuration."
And the ten-person MAVERIC project team, part of the Flight Lab team within Airbus UpNext in Toulouse, did just that. In less than three years, the MAVERIC concept went from a simple sketch to a 3D computer-generated model to an aircraft demonstrator. In June 2019, the remote-controlled demonstrator took to the skies for the first time.
Airbus has revealed MAVERIC (Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls) its "blended wing body" scale model technological demonstrator. At 2 metres long and 3,2 metres wide, with a surface area of about 2,25m², MAVERIC features a disruptive aircraft design, that has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared to current single-aisle aircraft. The "blended wing body" configuration also opens up new possibilities for propulsion systems type and integration, as well as a versatile cabin for a totally new on-board passenger experience. Launched in 2017, MAVERIC first took to the skies in June 2019. Since then the flight-test campaign has been on-going and will continue until the end of Q2 2020.