After nearly 30 years of offering customers the ultimate long-haul flying experience, Virgin Atlantic and its founder Sir Richard Branson are once again breaking barriers by announcing a world first in aircraft innovation: flapology.
The British airline has announced that its engineering team have been secretly working on the design and production of the world’s first-ever aircraft with flappable wings, inspired by Sir Richard Branson’s childhood dream of flying.
The advert features the latter talking about this new exciting project, FlapEnergy, on which the company’s engineers have been working for five years. Jake Maymudes, Chief Engineer at the Aviation Design & Engineering Department, reveals that Sir Branson’s suggestion, that initially seemed “an impossible challenge”, was due to his obsession with birds. “Their grace, power, and efficiency captured his imagination at a very young age”, says Maymudes. Sir Branson reveals where his inspiration came from. “From dreams I used to have as a child, where I was sure that I could just flap my arms and fly. And over the years I’ve thought that maybe we could use the movement of wings to actually generate energy inside the plane.” Maymudes also says that he and his team have been asked to harness the motion and power of a bird in flight to create “a faster, cleaner, more self-sustaining airline”, adding “So, in typical Virgin fashion, we just went ahead and invented it.” He also gives some technical details about how the new plane, Dreambird 1417, works: “the motion of the wings generates enough power to meet every electric need onboard, from the cockpit, to that little device that heats the coffee”.
The advert ends with Maymudes saying that, “somewhere, Orville and Wilbur Wright are smiling.” and with the Dreambird 1417 into the sky, flapping its wings.