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Future Requirements and Concepts for Cabins of Blended Wing Body Configurations


Future Requirements and Concepts for Cabins of Blended Wing Body Configurations - a scenario-based approach
Author: Stephan Eelman Lehrstuhl für Luftfahrttechnik, TU München Boltzmannstr. 15, D-85747 Garching +49 (89) 289 159 56; +49 (89) 289 159 82 eelman@llt.mw.tum.de Co-authors: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Schmitt Lehrstuhl für Luftfahrttechnik, TU München Boltzmannstr. 15, D-85747 Garching +49 (89) 289 159 81; +49 (89) 289 159 82 schmitt@llt.mw.tum.de; dieter.schmitt@airbus.com Axel Becker DaimlerChrysler, Society and Technology Research Group Alt Moabit 96a, D-10559 Berlin +49 (30) 399 823 11; +49 (30) 399 821 08 axel.becker@daimlerchrysler.com Prof. Werner Granzeier industrial Design Studio Peutestra?e 53 A, D-20539 Hamburg +49 (04) 780 707 66, +49 (40) 780 707 67 w.granzeier@ids-hamburg.com Abstract With a scenario of a strong aviation business growth of around 4,7% p.a. in the next thirty years passenger volumes will multiply by a factor of at least two-and-a-half until the year 2020 [1] and almost quadruple ten years later. To cope with such a high demand requires new aircraft configurations to ensure and improve operational efficiency, productivity and customer value in a highly competitive market environment. A promising future aircraft configuration for this purpose is the blended wing body (BWB) with a reasonable chance to enter the market by 2030. The early stage of development of this configuration leaves many open questions, especially with regard to the aircraft’s cabin. As interface between the passenger, the airline and the manufacturer it will be in the future an even greater contributor to the competitiveness of an aircraft than it already is today. The following process addresses the importance of this primary aircraft system and develops key requirements and first concepts for future BWB cabins. The strong influence of unpredictable factors on the development of future concepts for BWB cabins implies the methodology of scenario techniques. The scenario process performed at TU München together with Airbus Deutschland GmbH, DaimlerChrysler Society and Technology Research Group (RIC/Y) and iDS, industrial Design Studio, comprises the development of three different scenarios, the implication of specific requirements and the realization of preliminary cabin concepts. To cover a broad range of potential evolutions, the three scenarios chosen evolved in a generous, innovative and a conservative development of future BWB cabins. On the basis of current cabin standards of the A380, new standards for the BWB cabin designs were quantitatively derived for each scenario as well as this was done qualitatively for a portfolio of essential new technologies, which are formulated as technology recommendations for the aircraft. According to these inputs, 2D cabin layouts and specific system solutions have been developed and sketched to visualize the concepts. In a final step, specific requirements have been evaluated in all scenarios to identify their compatibility in the respective future environments. Keywords Blended Wing Body, aircraft design, cabin development, cabin design 1

Introduction With a scenario of a strong growth of the aviation business in the next thirty years passenger volumes will multiply by a factor of almost four. Taking into account that capacity in the air and at major hub airports already is evolving as a limiting factor and that airline efficiencies will have to improve from nowadays levels, aircraft with higher productivity yields may play a major role in the future of the aviation system. This could lead to a concentration of large passenger flows through hub airports with little available capacity, demanding for larger and operational cheaper aircraft to address this market environment. The conventional aircraft configuration is reaching its optimum and even scaling effects with bigger airplanes do not provide the potential for leap improvements. Though claiming superior economics over current large airplanes, the introduction of the Megaliner A380 seems to be the upper limit of size for conventional airplanes and is a probable transition to a next generation of aircraft, which combine extremely low fuel burn with high capacity, high environmental compatibility, low operating costs and operational flexibility for airlines (figure 1).

As the foreseeable entry into service of this type of aircraft is some time into the future, derivation and assessment of requirements reflecting market demands is difficult. This is explicitly the fact for the cabin of the aircraft, as it embodies the direct interface between the operator, customer and manufacturer in a competition driven environment. The importance of an early view on different cabin development paths by derivation of basic cabin requirements in the young stages of BWB development can be underlined with the broad variety of different BWB designs currently developed at aircraft manufacturers, scientific institutes and universities. However, to maintain competitive advantage it is vital for new aircraft characterized by a long life and product cycle to be as attractive as possible over a maximum period of time. Therefore, the identification of robust cabin requirements becomes eminently essential as it determines the main portion of cabin development at the start of the aircraft program and will have major influence on the potential to adapt to modified customer requirements later on in the product life cycle. Approach and Aim The large number of unpredictable factors from various environments like the socio-economic, the air transport related, political or technological area has a great impact with considerable uncertainty on the design process. The geometric spacious room inside the BWB fuselage with unknown varieties for new cabin solutions describes a completely different type of product, for which a classical design approach is not convenient any more. This leaves even more uncertainties for the derivation of BWB cabin requirements. Therefore, scenario techniques are applied as proposed by [2] to work out a qualitative set of comprehensive future product environments which drive the development of the BWB cabin. The aim of the process has been to derive hard figures for key cabin parameters like seat pitch or number of galleys on the one hand and soft qualities regarding incorporated technology and process profiles on the other. With this approach, the aircraft manufacturer is capable of evaluating basic cabin design variants and options to be prepared for different customer 2

Figure 1: Airbus product line and BWB profile

Besides a number of aircraft configurations being investigated to comply with the strict requirements, the Blended Wing Body (BWB) is closest to a realization, being discussed by both large aircraft manufacturers. As a compromise between the aerodynamically high performing flying wing and the evolutionary optimized conventional airplane it offers significant advantages for operators, which is especially true for larger sized aircraft.

requirements and challenges coming from the operator. This is vital from a technological as well as marketing (offer to airlines) point of view. As a consequence, there have been made no restrictions regarding structural layout of the BWB, for example the concepts of single pressure, double hull or load supporting elements for the inner structure. The BWB aircraft is an Airbus designed configuration with the performance displayed in figure 1. The usable cabin area is geometrically given and constant (no scaling) for all scenarios. Figure 2 shows the significant difference with a conventional fuselage.

Figure 2: BWB Configuration [3]

Developed scenarios The analysis comprises the development of three different scenarios to cover a relevant range of potential evolutions. The following general assumptions accompany all scenarios, as they characterize the development of the air transport system until 2030, which justify the introduction of BWBs [4]. ? Global economic growth of over 3% p.a. on average ? Global strong growth of air traffic volume of over 4.7% p.a. on average ? Share of hub & spoke connections increases ? Long haul routes are predominantly served by very large aircraft ? Long routes are basically operated by full service carriers Parallel to these market conditions, the following factors have been discussed as premises throughout the entire process: ? Importance of flight time gains weight

IT-technology continues to propagate globally into society ? Anthropometric dimensions of human beings grow bigger ? Cabin safety improves ? Medical care evolves further The relevant scenarios, all of which have been treated equally, are presented hereunder. Scenario: “Chief Pax” This positive reference scenario describes an optimistic environment in which political and socio-cultural stability ensure a steady economic development with a steadily increasing living standard. Further cornerstones of this scenario are: ? Growing wealth in most of the global regions create passengers with a high demand for comfort and service. This is addressed by airlines with an enhanced supply of inflight values, covered by higher air fares. However, the relative value per price is increasing resulting in profit margins comparable to today’s. ? The variety of different nationalities traveling the air and the distinctive individuality of the passenger as a result of higher living standards turns religious and cultural identification on board into a key driver. ? Conventional aircraft classes are refined into more and smaller user groups to react on individual needs. Passenger convenience is realized by both personal assistance by the crew and onboard systems. ? Extensive advances in innovative technologies and processes permit a high constructional flexibility to quickly and efficiently change cabin layouts. ? Growing restrictions from environmental issues and certification are addressed by new technologies. ? Additionally, the awareness for health (e.g. thromboses issue) is increasing. ? BWB airplanes meet the expectations of airlines and passengers which lead to a high public perception. Scenario: “Slow Motions” As a projection of today’s trend to rationalization, this slowly developing scenario shows 3

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little motivation to leap innovations, founded in a deeper society problem affecting airline strategies as well. ? Despite economic growth society is split into a small wealthy group and a large population stratum with a stagnating living standard. The gap between the (lower) middle and upper class widens which leads to social inequities and is especially a phenomenon of the triade (USA, Europe, Japan). ? Due to the strong competition airlines are as today under pressure to operate with low fares and high productivity, leaving small profit margins per seat sold. Passengers have not been able to organize themselves into a powerful entity expressing their needs towards the airlines, while dragging certification processes hinder operators to introduce new standards. The evolution is moving inert and slowly resulting in conventional cabin designs with few classes. ? The widespread application of technology has overtaken many procedures in daily life, leaving many people, especially older, overstrained. The development into a two class society results in a general decline of educational and intellectual standard. Still attracted by low ticket prices, this produces a significant higher number of passengers requiring support and assistance. The demand for help services is gaining weight, because the understanding of onboard processes and technologies is missing throughout broad parts of the flying society. ? The BWB convinces airlines, but only has moderate acceptance from the passenger. Scenario: “Flying Heavenly Peace Square” The metaphoric title aims at a specific Asian market development ascending up to 2030 which is taken as a major driver for this relevant scenario. ? Economic growth pushes the tiger states to a similar living standard as in the western world, leading to a long running boom in air traffic in and with this region. ? An over the years steady technological evolution leads to a high standard and is the basis for sophisticated technological solutions.

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Airlines face declining profit margins with a higher demand for in-flight convenience and can only react with highly operationally efficient cabin concepts and layouts. The need for a physical one class layout is one of the measures taken, evolving from a gradual transition on the Asian market towards fewer classes, which started with the advent of high passenger volumes on shorter hub routes to achieve throughput and efficiency. To minimize operational cost, extensive cabin modifications in the aircraft during idle periods or even turn-arounds are not wanted by operators to maintain a simple and cost-effective structure. To attract passengers, the cabin design, functionality and quality is emphasized along with the impression of the cabin’s appearance as a premium product. Because of substantial differences in culture, it is a priority to address special considerations to the development of an adequate traveling environment. Ticket price mix and marketing options for airlines are realized by seat-individual service concepts sold at travel agents, airlines or operators, in which both the technological facility standard and the in-flight comfort service can be booked. The awareness for health issues on long range flights increases throughout society.

BWB Cabin Standards The derivation of key requirements for cabin development from the specific scenario follows the methodology as described in the figure 3.

Figure 3: Derivation of BWB cabin standards

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Taking cabin standards displayed in figure 3 of the A380 as a reference, standards for the BWB cabin are tailored according to the requirements of the specific scenario. The main geometric standards are class ratios, seat pitch, seat width, aisle width, toilets/pax, trolleys/pax and stowage spaces. These are influenced on the one hand by the relevant characteristics of the different scenarios, but on the other hand by general premises having impact on all of the scenarios as well. These are the continuous growth of human being’s dimensions known as acceleration [5], enhanced in-flight safety and medical facilities. Acceleration for instance is causing an increase in body height of about 1,5 cm in 30 years, justifying a seat pitch gain of one inch as the operational life of aircraft is another 30 years from that point on. Thus, only one inch more pitch already results in a reduction of at least one row in the given BWB aircraft and thus has a direct impact on capacity and productivity. For every scenario a set of basic technologies is identified to establish a general level from which the different scenario implications develop. The mains can be summarized in the following list: ? Communication with broad band internet ? Wireless blue tooth like support of mobile equipment (phones, laptops, pagers, etc.) ? Online information system (passengers, cabin systems, stock data) for the crew ? Intelligent boarding / deboarding systems optimizing on-board processes Generation of 2D-Layouts With these new standards, the number of seats in the BWB cabin is calculated. The procedure is shown in figure 4.

Figure 4: generation of 2D-Layouts

Firstly, the seat areas within the BWB cabin are determined according to the given ratio of the absolute seat area and total cabin area of nowadays modern in service aircraft (figure 4), which is typically up to 55%. Subsequently, with the given fuselage and unaffected by the need to scale the aircraft for a dedicated number of passengers, aisles, galleys and other remaining surface areas are derived conformable to scenario needs. Also door positions, sizes and emergency evacuation paths are planned as part of the total cabin concept.
60% 50% 40% Economy Class 30% 20% 10% 0% A330-200 A330-300 A 340-200 A340-300 A340-500 A 340-600 Business Class First Class

Figure 5: absolute seat area as portion of total cabin area

Along with consequent and logical rationales, the following scenario specific standards for different cabin and operational concepts have been found: Scenario “Chief Pax”
Kabine BWB 2030 Class ratios in % Seat pitch Seat width Aisle width Toilets / Pax Trolleys / Pax (* - Stowage space / Pax - Hand luggage 1 / 10 1/2 25“x2“ 2 Standard 2000 (A380) FC 4 62“ 30“ BC 16 40“ 27,5“ min 500 mm 1 / 25 1/4 25“x1,5“ 2 1 / 45 1 / 10 1 Tray 1 1 / 10 1/2 25“x2“ 3 EC 80 32“ 25“ FC 5 64“ 32“ Standard 2030 (BWB) BC 12 42“ 30“ min 570 mm 1 / 21 1/4 25“x1,5“ 2 1 / 30 1 / 10 25“x1“ 1 Tray 1 Tray 1 EC1 EC2 83 35“ 27“ EC3

Table 1: 2D- Layout dimensions “Chief Pax"

The high living standard and individuality combined with powerful communities of interest in this scenario enforces the influence of passengers as a stakeholder in the airline business. Airlines have to react on this demand with a personalized offer to defined passenger groups like families, older people, youths or different business passenger clienteles. This is reflected by airlines with the creation of additional segments within the classical classes, especially in the economy class. As can be seen in the diagram, the class layout has been adjusted to meet different demands, which are related to ticket price and offered service. 5

With aisle widths orientating at conventional dimensions, cabin layout has to be designed attractively to achieve a high perception from the passenger. An unconventional approach of a bended main broad aisle (2m) assures a quick boarding and deboarding in the critical entrance areas. The known approach of a threedivided cabin of main classes with first in the front is maintained. High service levels are addressed with additional facilities in the lower deck compartments with crew rest rooms, fitness children and a social meeting point (with bar). Assistance for the passenger is obtained in the front and the middle information desk to explore the full range of service supply during flight (i). Two additional service points (s) in the economy classes underline the higher quality traveling level.

Figure 8: 3D impression of lower deck facilities

Scenario “Slow Motions”
Kabine BWB 2030 Class ratios in % Seat pitch Seat width Aisle width Toilets / Pax 1 / 10 1/2 25“x2“ 2 Standard 2000 (A380) FC 4 62“ 30“ BC 16 40“ 27,5“ min 500 mm 1 / 25 1/4 25“x1,5“ 2 1 / 45 1 / 10 1 Tray 1 EC 80 32“ 25“ FC 4 65“ 32“ 1m 1 / 10 1/2 25“x2“ 3 Standard 2030 (BWB) BC 16 42“ 29“ 0,95m 1 / 25 1/4 25“x1,5“ 2 EC 80 33“ 26“ 0,9 / 0,6m 1 / 45 1 / 10 1 Tray 1

L L L L L L L L L L

G

G

L L L L

Trolleys / Pax (* - Stowage space / Pax - Hand luggage

i

G

L

G G

i
Lift

L L

S

L L

SL
L

Table 2: 2D- Layout dimensions “Slow Motions"

L L L L

G

G

L L L L

Figure 6: 2D layout with emergency exits, 730 pax

Emergency exits are provided all around the cabin area with wing and aft exits according to FAR 25.807 of type B dimensions (75 passengers per minute), two type A doors per side in the front (110 passengers per minute) and the main entrance with a new standard type 0 door (double Type A with 200 passengers per minute). The design ends up with 730 passengers in a standard layout. Some artist impressions of the cabin are elaborated hereunder.

Figure 7: 3D impression of main aisle

The development into two classes divides society and thus the treatment of passengers during flight as well. With declining profit margins, the inert evolution of new and innovative cabin ideas the low paying traveler leads to a conventional standard class system. The lack of airline demand for conversion of cabin elements in or during aircraft operation entail limited flexibility for cabin elements. Major cabin reconfigurations can only be realized at C or larger maintenance checks during aircraft overhaul. The scenario is characterized by the strong differentiation between standards of high revenue first and business and low revenue economy class, which is for example obvious with the number of galleys and toilets per passenger. Service as well as supplied technology levels is significantly down-graded in economy class, focusing on efficiency and productivity for the airline. However, the larger share of older, immobile (wheelchairs) and more weightily passengers demands larger aisles. The service concept ensures a convenient and quick operation through an automatic trolley distribution system with elevators which are integrated in the emergency stairs leading to the roof. The highly cost-efficient systems for simple operation limit the comfort of the passenger. On the 6

other hand, first and business class have an optimized traveling environment and high-end service standards. Sophisticated comfort levels with on-seat climate, individual ergonomic adjustable seats, sound and light surround the high yield passenger which generates the major part of the airlines’ revenues. The location of crew rest compartments as well as the accommodation of trolleys in galleys at the lower deck realizes more productive seat area at the main deck.

Scenario “Flying Heavenly Peace Square”
Kabine BWB 2030 Class ratios in % Seat pitch Seat width Aisle width Toilets / Pax Trolleys / Pax (* - Stowage space / Pax - Hand luggage 1 / 10 1/2 25“x2“ 2 Standard 2000 (A380) FC 4 62“ 30“ BC 16 40“ 27,5“ min 500 mm 1 / 25 1/4 25“x1,5“ 2 1 / 45 1 / 10 1 Tray 1 1 / 32 1/6 1 Tray 2 EC 80 32“ 25“ Standard 2030 (BWB) Standard config. 100 36“ 27“ 1,0 / 0,6m 1 / 42 1/8 1 Tray 2 High density config. 100 34“ 27“

Table 3: 2D- Layout dimensions “Flying Heavenly Peace Square”

Figure 9: 2D layout with emergency exits, 808 pax

The design ends up with 808 passengers in a standard layout. Some views of the cabin are sketched hereunder.

The proposed single class layout has been worked out along with the demand for high profitability. Two versions are presented by the manufacturer to the airline: A standard configuration with larger seat pitch (36”, 768 passengers) and a high density configuration with reduced 34” pitch and 871 passengers to comply with the greater traffic volume on inner Asian routes. As the most innovative scenario, a passenger container system is developed to achieve short turn-arounds (higher frequency) and high operational efficiency. The dashed line shows the contours of a container, which is boarded in the airport area, transported to the aircraft and loaded from the tail into it. The inner service area (dotted line) with galleys and toilets are built-in elements with a high degree of automation. Intelligent robot trolleys assist the crew with cabin operations, for instance, and take over major parts of the food and beverage service. More toilets, vending machines and trolley transport systems are installed in the lower deck. A highly sophisticated virtual reality head sets environment is adjusting to the demands of the individual passenger and succeeds to shorten the subjective flight time.

Figure 10: 3D sketch of emergency stairs

Figure 12: 2D layout with emergency exits

Figure 11: 3D sketch lower deck crew rest and lavatory

In case of emergency, in contradiction to current certification rules, wing emergency exits are blasted away after intelligent hazard detec7

tion systems decided the safest way of evacuation. If necessary, the big tail doors are opened to quickly leave the plane. Some views of the cabin are sketched hereunder.

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Figure 13: 3D sketch of tail container loading

Wireless communication technologies inside the cabin (passenger on-board system) Lobbying for enhanced certification rules Alternative and decentralized on-board high power generation (e.g. fuel cells) for a more electrical aircraft configuration Easy cleaning materials (similar to lotus flower effect) Recycling of operating supply items (water, oil, etc.) Computer aided direct view video system (passenger control during take-off and landing, monitor surveillance by crew) Intuitive emergency procedures Intelligent escape slides

Figure 14: 3D sketch of container interior design

Evaluation of requirements The different scenarios developed a range of specific requirements towards the cabin layout as well as primary cabin systems. To evaluate the robustness of these, they have been incorporated in all the three scenarios and controlled for their fit. The main results of identified robust layout requirements as well as primary technologies, which have not been discussed extensively here, are listed below: ? Increase in seat pitch despite the fact that adjustments are a matter of airlines ? Broader aisles are required which will define cabin layouts significantly ? Development of enhanced boarding and seat allocation systems with intelligent passenger flow control ? Utilization of the lower deck area: a major success driver, dependent on how strict regulations towards passengers are in the future

Conclusions With the help of scenario methodologies a consistent and structured approach towards the derivation of cabin requirements has been found, adopted and validated through three scenario specific independent cabin concepts. The compliance with economic, socio-cultural and technologic objectives has been a premise throughout the process, leading to different cabin layouts and models driving future designs. In a final step, robust requirements have been formulated by qualitatively evaluating the scenario fit evolving from the respective future environments. With the proposed methodology, strategic recommendations for the aircraft manufacturer are presented which can be adopted for other BWB configurations as well. References [1] Airbus Global Market Forecast, 2002 [2] Andreas Strohmayer, Dieter Schmitt: Scenario Based Aircraft Design Evaluation, ICAS Congress 2000, Harrogate [3] Pre-design from Airbus Deutschland GmbH for the VELA (Very Efficient Large Aircraft) 5th Framework Program, 3rd call [4] Andreas Strohmayer, Axel Becker: Unkonventionelle Flugzeugkonfigurationen 2030+, LT-TB 01/04, Technische Universit?t München, 2001 [5] Bauch, Anna; Schmitt, Dieter; Kasch, Dieter: "Anthropometrische 3DVisualisierung in der Flugzeugkabine", DGLR Jahrestagung 2001, Hamburg 8


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