Airbus believes that it can make flying faster and dramatically more fuel efficient by having planes travel in a triangle formation like geese.
As Charles Champion, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus, explains, “You actually use the wake of the aircraft in front of you to burn less fuel. Actually we did that with the A400M, our military aircraft, and the pilot told me that when you’re behind the aircraft you save maybe 10% to 15% more fuel.”
In other words, get ready for some white knuckles.
How close will the planes fly to each other?
Champion says that “you’re not wing-to-wing flying together but it’s more like birds, [we’re] talking about maybe one nautical mile separation.”
Considering that a 747 can travel at speeds of 570 miles an hour, one nautical mile isn’t a lot of breathing room.
In fact, you might want to pop a Xanax before viewing this.