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Of all the birds of prey, the bald eagle reigns supreme. This large, powerfully built bird has long, broad wings that contribute to faster flight. Eagles, like albatrosses, are soaring birds—this means they can provide engineers with a lot of insight into dealing with wind gusts, and more. 

 

Airbus’ “Bird of Prey” conceptual airliner is inspired by the eagle. The theoretical design is a hybrid-electric, turbo-propeller aircraft for regional air transportation, which mimics the eagle’s wing and tail structure, and features individually controlled feathers that provide active flight control.

 

Although Bird of Prey is not intended to represent an actual aircraft, it does provide insight into what a future regional aircraft could look like based on technologies that currently form the basis of Airbus research. This includes hybrid-electric propulsion, active control systems and advanced composite structures.

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