Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cambridge University unveiled their revolutionary concept developed under the Silent Aircraft Initiative on November 6, 2006, revealing the SAX-40 blended wing body design seen here. The aircraft has no flaps or slats, a major source of airframe noise when landing, and engines mounted on top of the fuselage to screen much of their noise from the ground. The ultra-high bypass engines have variable size jet nozzles to allow slower jet propulsion during take-off and climb for low noise and optimised for maximum efficiency during cruise. The concept is aimed at the generation after next aircraft that could be in service around 2030.
Though conceived in response to a UK Government research project designed to reduce aircraft noise, the resulting blended wing-body concept is also more fuel-efficient than conventional aircraft. The proof-of-concept model illustrated has been designated SAX-40.