The European aircraft manufacturing giant is bringing Nav Canada on board its fello’fly program to further its ambition to prove it is both technically and economically viable to group long-haul, wide-body airliners into pairs so that the lift generated by the lead aircraft is ‘retrieved’ by the following aircraft. The concept is referred to as ‘wake energy retrieval’, and fuel savings of up to 10 percent are expected in addition to the resulting emission reduction.
The concept is not new; Canada geese discovered long ago that flying off-centre and behind a lead bird saves energy. This manifests itself in the vee-formations of migrating geese we see overhead.
Airbus has already partnered with European airlines SAS and French carrier Frenchbee, as well as with air navigation service providers DSNA of France and NATS of the United Kingdom. The partnership with Nav Canada will allow the concept to be tested on long-haul transatlantic flights. Airbus is providing A350 aircraft during testing phases.
Watch for a deeper dive into this project in the July-August edition of Canadian Aviator.