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‘Evolution’ may play a role in growing airplane size

As science and commerce evolve, it makes sense that the way airplanes are designed should evolve as well. A scientist from Duke University recently looked at the principles behind the way that planes have been shifting over the years.

According to this professor, Adrian Bejan, the same basic evolutionary process observed in biology can be seen at work in plane design, albeit in a much more condensed timeframe. The key concept seems to be "flow," or the idea of increasing how far either a living organism or a plane can travel as it develops.

It might seem like a stretch, but Bejan says that the sizes of commercial aircraft have been growing, which offers a parallel to the way beings grow through their descendants in evolution.

"Larger animals have longer lifespans and travel farther distances, just as passenger airplanes have been designed to do," he said. "For example, the ratio of the engine to aircraft size is analogous to the ratio of a large animal's total body size to its heart, lungs and muscles."

We can arguably see this trend in some of the major airlines out there. In the second quarter of this year, JetBlue raised its capacity by 6 percent. Perhaps the principles governing how the planes grow in size also hold to the way they are expanding to other much-interested markets

But this doesn't mean that bigger is better as a matter of course when it comes to airplane service, and the more personal help you can get from airplane charter services might also reflect a kind of evolution even though it isn't the same kind of size as the major mega-airliners.