The Antares is an advanced visual representation of an airplane design based on the Amelia project Every dimension and most elements are different, but the spirit of the concepts remains.
For me, inspiration comes in many forms and one of them is when I’m reading magazines. Last summer, I read an article in Popular Science about the future of flight It featured a new regional jet design envisioned by a team from the California Polytechnic State University. This project, named ‘Amelia‘ was developed with NASA and it combines three aircraft designs that normally conflicts with each other. I really liked the idea and wanted to see how it would look if we used some DNA from the ‘C-Series’ DNA and come up with more advanced renderings.
The Antares looks like a normal aircraft, but it has a large wing that sits on top of the fuselage similarly to the Bombardier Q400 It would be equipped with two Pratt & Whitney Canada turbofan engines mounted on top and at the front of its oversized wing. In the 1970s, NASA modified a De Havilland C-8A Buffalo to see how it would perform with engines mounted in this position. This STOL prototype (Short Take-Off and Landing) named QSRA seemed to perform well. There’s even a YouTube video where you see it land on an aircraft carrier. (Check out also the Boeing YC-14) Mounting the engines on top and at the front of the wing could generate five to ten times more lift than on a conventional aircraft. It would also help reduce noise by 30 decibels or more and that is a major asset for the airline industry. Obviously one key challenge would be the pre-flight maintenance and accessibility of the power plant…
The Antares could land and take-off on very short runways (3 000 feet) This means, it could serve smaller and less accessible airports and tap into a new market, similar to what the Canadair Regional Jet did back in 1992. The increase in lift and performance could also mean, ultimately, a lower cost per seat for the airline industry and maybe, a smaller ticket price for passengers. If you’ve been following the development of the C-SERIES you know that it takes a lot of time and capital to develop a new plane. It also takes a lot of political and corporate support because the risks are really high, especially if you venture into new designs. In my opinion, a project like this should probably be developed in partnership with a large government such as the Chinese. China has the capital needed to finance ventures of this magnitude. They are interested in growing their aircraft industry and they have proven that they can authorize, deploy and support projects of this scope. Most important of all, there are over 170 cities in China with a population that exceeds one million people…
I would like to thank the Amelia team & Nasa for their incredible work & inspiration. Most important of all I would like to thank Robin Ritter who created the fantastic renderings of the Antares concept and who went the extra miles to verify some important structural elements. Robin is based in Stuttgart and he has worked in the past at Porsche and Eurocopter.
Note : The Antares concept was created on October 1 2013 and was first published in the Toronto Globe & Mail on January 7, 2014 (view the article)