After a difficult year in aviation – the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX after two fatal crashes, the collapse of US airline computer systems, the announcement of the end of the superjumbo Airbus A380 – we needed good news for the flight advertising. He arrived in the form of a revolutionary future airplane.
At the beginning of June, CNN envisioned the story of the innovative design of the plane called Flying-V, funded by Amsterdam-based KLM. This is an airplane with an impressive new form, summarized by its eponymous letter. According to the early reports, Flying-V will coincide with the capacity of the current large-scale jet planes, such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, but there is a twist. Two paths descend on two separate hulls, which make up the wings themselves. (This means that half of the window seats will be starved everywhere in the double doors of the window through the little air.)
The idea of a V-shaped plane is not entirely new, but KLM has shown a new interest in making this geometry a vanguard in the commercial flight. Remarkably, Flying-V promises greater fuel economy by using the "synergy" between the wings and body of the plane.
Boing Boing and Travel + Leisure to Maxim stores keep this story, citing and recycling CNN's impressive illustrations of the concept airplane – as if it is already connected to a bridge and ready for passengers. Ready for flight.
But there's one curious thing about Flying V. All of this noise around a futuristic plane really has everything related to Anthropocene, our current turning point in geological history, inflection, defined by the devastating human impact.
The stories of the Flying-V were consistently shaped around a desire for sustainability on commercial flights. Each article highlights the way the new aircraft promises up to 20% more fuel economy, and numerous tracks have too high global carbon dioxide emissions, celebrating the new design. The implication of all these reports is that air transport, as we know, destroys the environment. This is evidenced by the interruption of bird migration paths and overflows in terms of carbon emissions in the atmosphere and the insatiable consumption of fossil fuels. Front page news for Flying-V, but recognize that air travel is excessively wasteful and reaches a crisis point. Yet, in these stories, the commercial flight is taken for granted, something to continue unabated.
The media coverage of Flying-V appears to be fixed on an alternative that exists even when it is alleged to be related to a sustainable flight form in "20 to 30 years. "All of this really focuses on how we feel about the commercial flight – and the environment – right now. To jump over a few decades into the future, as if it were basically the same, is a sign of bad faith: as if it admits that no progress will be achieved and we will continue to deal with our fates. As such, the story of this imaginary plane is also about our inability to conceptualize Antropocene as a real problem that we can engage in in the near future through more pragmatic steps and less vivid. It is not just a quick technological solution or a slight adaptation to the existing situation. Rather, the anthropocentre requires people on a large scale to react radically through a complete rearrangement of the way our species understands ourselves and interacts with the planet and its countless other inhabitants.
The media coverage of Flying-V appears to be fixed on an alternative .
Given the realities of commercial airplanes these days – the stubborn rivalry of double Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 workers; the trembling of the still grounded 737 MAX (not accidentally sold and promised for greater fuel efficiency); the end of jumbo jets – we have reason to be seriously skeptical about any venture that would significantly change the shape of commercial jets. Commercial air transport, as we know it, is too rigid and is becoming deeper and deeper into a pure monotype: a twin-engine jet, small to medium in size, geared towards global productivity. Expenditure and re-qualification time are unbearable factors for any serious rethinking of the flight.
And talking about costs: Flying-V's small font explains that this is not a "new plane" at all – at least not yet – but rather a big company (KLM) funding research and design for the idea on a new aircraft. Funding is key and why some environmental thinkers prefer the name Capitalocene for our present age: it places a point on the fantasy of huge amounts of capital accumulated by multinational conglomerates or powerful sole proprietors. capital that can then be directed in the right way, as if for magical and precise solutions to the problems borne by modernity.
Of course, capital does not work that way, as if it could jump into the future or burst your fingers and do something at once (building a wall, inventing a new plane, providing Wi-Fi to everyone, go to Mars ). No, capital spreads but spreads unevenly; he exploits a lot of people as he raises very few people. Capital builds on itself, but not for another purpose. Capital does not care about sustainability, but it's growing up as long as it can. Or else, while air travel deals with true origin and destinations, capital must not move anywhere to develop. Perhaps he does not need a world at all.
Finally, we need to talk about the name: Flying-V . As a reference to Gibson's "Flying-V" electric guitar, it makes the whole business similar to glam fun. The name illustrates Lenny Kravitz, or perhaps Eddie Van Halen, at an epic show in the past. It's like all this is just a scandalous rock concert, a mass spectacle we can wake up tomorrow morning, hang out and say how great it is. And in a way it was.
As a short part of the quasi-news that spreads online for a day or two, the Flying-V story becomes part of Antropocene otherwise. This is proof of the strange endless deviation of the Internet, the lazy and ruthless expansion of chains and devices, nodes and wires, screens and buttons, satellites and cell towers: the whole infrastructure and apparatus that directs us to this place and time while we this is the horror of a horizon that all these things will become obsolete, the internet – a fading memory of the past of seeming abundance. Where we cataloged all our hopes and fears, where we even kept our planes on the future, planes that showed that we learned and corrected our behavior to live more sensibly in the world. It turned out, however, that we are only accelerating the end of the world as we know it, insisting that everything will remain the same – even when we thought we were planning a better sailing way of life.
New America and
State University of Arizona
explores new technologies, public policy and society.