Sure, we’ve seen Airbus throw some shitty ideas up against the wall to see if anything sticks. Like this ridiculous stacked passenger cabin design or this silly multi stage supersonic transport. Now they’ve upped the ante with this weird gas-electric powered aircraft that can also land and takeoff vertically.
While this particular patent application doesn’t seem especially extraordinary, its a slight departure from the typical passenger airline concepts scene coming from Airbus.
This new invention from the massive European aircraft manufacturer may not be very revolutionary but the technique used to mount and store the vertical lift rotor hubs and blades is quite clever. Four or more electric motors are to be installed inside aerodynamically optimized pylons that sit midway on the wings. Once the internal combustion engine provides enough thrust via the forward facing propellor to sustain horizontal flight, the pylon mounted blades are closed and sealed to eliminate unnecessary drag.
The internal combustion engine is also responsible for turning a generator that will power the electric motors and charge the batteries. Further details in the patent description indicate the possibility of multiple forward facing gas powered engines that could increase speed load and electrical charging capabilities.
While this quadcopter/drone airplane isn’t exactly the next jumbojet airliner, it does seem to line up with Airbus’ push toward developing a cargo drone in direct competition with Amazon. Airbus recently joined forces with Local Motors to crowdsource a cargo drone capable of vertical takeoff and landing in addition to traditional horizontal fixed-wing flight, all while carrying an 11-pound payload.