A joint project by Boeing and the National Aeronautics and Space Agency will build a full-scale prototype of a single-aisle airliner they hope will be a big step toward carbon-neutral aviation by the 2050s. The hope is that planes based on the prototype could be in service in the 2030s.
The project, financed in part by NASA and in part by Boeing and other companies, will build the plane using a wing-design radically different from today's 737s and A320s, whose market it is aimed at. The wing rides above the fuselage, and is to be braced by struts—almost a throwback to earlier days of aviation.
The so-called Transonic Truss-Braced Wing design uses extra-long, thin wings stabilized by diagonal struts and higher aspect ratios. The design is more sustainable than a traditional aircraft because the wing creates less drag for the plane; this means the aircraft will burn less fuel, according to NASA.
NASA will contribute facilities and expertise to the project, along with about $425 million; another $350 million will come from Boeing and partners