There hasn’t been significant innovation in the core design of the airliner for about six decades. However, that might change with US-based SE Aeronautics’ game-changing jumbo jet concept. The SE200 aims to reduce carbon emissions by a significant margin, and its success might change the airliners industry for good. “In very basic terms, aviation has been almost stagnant in its development of sustainable alternatives when comparing past aircraft to modern-day aircraft. It is time for a change, and SE Aeronautics is going to be that change.”, said the Chief Executive Officer, Tyler Mattews.
The SE200 Tri-Wing Jumbo Jet hasn’t been the first to emphasize the sustainability quotient. In 2020, the 314 passenger Delft Flying V was introduced to achieve fuel efficiency for a long-range aircraft. The design included having the passenger seating, fuel tanks, and baggage hold are built into the wings. Similarly, Joe Doucet’s Zer0 concept plane was also launched last year. Dubbed as the “Tesla of the Skies”, the concept plane runs off electricity rather than jet fuel while favoring efficiency over speed. The aircraft uses electric batteries, but electric generators could be installed onboard. Mr. Mattews also expresses his ambition to add this feature to their fleet, “The overall design of the SE Aircraft will be the absolute best suited for alternative fuel and propulsion systems. Yes, when batteries become efficient and small enough to power our aircraft we will definitely consider making the change.” With the introduction of radical designs like these, the aviation industry is pivoting greener technologies and methods.
For the SE200, the company is taking a unique approach to every aspect of wide-body aircraft design and performance, altering the engine position and adding a third wing and a double tail fin. Unlike traditional airliners, the SE200 will store the fuel on a bladder atop the fuselage – this makes the wings lighter, thus giving the plane an aerodynamic advantage. The third wing also provides more lift, which shortens the SE200 takeoff and landing range, multiplying the number of small airports it can work with.
The prototype would have an integrated monocoque structure fundamentally breaking with convention: aircraft manufacturers typically bolt together large sections called “barrels” to optimize production. Combined with composite materials, the integrated monocoque would also contribute to the plane’s durability and maintenance. SE Aeronautics also says the airplane will have a 50-year service life. The prototype will also have dual rear engines featuring 64,000 lbs of combined thrust, but “the jewel in the crown is [SE Aeronautic’s] ability to get that fuel consumption rate down by 70 percent,” said Mr. Mathews.
The Tri-Wing jumbo Jet can carry 264 passengers, travel roughly 10,500 miles (16,900 km), and features a top speed of 690.5 mph (Mach 0.90), which is greater than other jets of the same class. The SE200 has also developed a new “once-through” air feed ventilation system that never recirculates air in the cabin, dramatically reducing the risk of exposure from other infected passengers. This, coupled with their new “tilting” seat design, creates a comfortable experience that economy passengers have yet to experience.
According to Mr. Mattews, SE Aeronautics aims to release its prototype in the air in 3 years. The success of the SE200 would be a definite game-changer for the aviation industry as it opens newer horizons to decrease not only CO2 emissions but also attain overall efficiency.