The future of airline flight paths: V-shaped “flocks” of aircraft in formation

Here’s an incredible video showing how flight paths might be arranged in the future. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the UK proposes that aircraft enroute to their destinations fly as if they were a flock of birds in a V-shaped formation to reduce drag and improve lift.

The organization states flying in such a pattern could save airlines 12% on their fuel costs, as well as reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses by 25%. They continue:

a close-up of a texta close-up of a textIt’s conceptionally appealing and an efficient formation, but current ATC system constraints could never handle such a pattern. If we eventually move to GPS and satellite-based technology, this indeed could become a reality. As far as the aircraft shown in the video, I’d much prefer Airbus’ forward-looking aircraft design with greater outward visibility as shown in the video below the following.

I hope I’m still around when such a flying format becomes reality. The aviation geek in me would fully sprout and I’d love to be in the third or fourth spot in such a pattern for the photo opportunities.

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