Highlights

  • Animated video of a futuristic flying hotel recently went viral
  • Luxurious plane proposed to be nuclear-powered, piloted by AI
  • Aerodynamics, weight, power source, maintenance highlighted as hurdles

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5 problems with viral 'flying hotel' design: nuclear-powered giant plane impossible to make?

An animated video showing what a mammoth Sky Cruise might look in real life has gone viral, attracting excitement and scepticism in equal measure.

A mammoth plane, a luxurious aerial cruise, powered by futuristic technology which allow it to stay airborne for years. An animated video showing what such a Sky Cruise might look in real life has gone viral, sparking the imaginations of people across the globe.

The viral video is presented as an advertisement of a plane which already exists. It was created by Hashim Al-Ghaili based on a concept by Tony Holmsten.

The Sky Cruise envisioned by Al-Ghaili can carry up to 5,000 people. It will be nuclear-powered, and piloted by artificial intelligence. It will feature luxuries like gyms, swimming pools, and theatres.

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Viewing decks all over the plane will provide unparalleled sights. Maintenance and servicing will be done while the plane is airborne. It will also have turbulent weather prediction and avoidance technologies.

However, the idea has elicited scepticism and excitement in equal measure. Many comments on the video include claims that the design completely ignores laws of physics, and would be virtually impossible in real life.

Some believe that the wings shown in the animation are too small to create enough lift to get the plane airborne. The aircraft's massive weight would also be a hurdle. The luxuries and special features meant to make the plane stand out will only make it heavier.

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The second issue is aerodynamics. External features like the elevators would suffer severe wind resistance. The towers connecting the Sky Cruise to other planes would face the same problem.

The third hurdle is power. Nuclear fusion is not commercially viable yet, let alone advanced enough to be put on an aeroplane.

Another major problem would be maintenance. Commercial planes currently undergo checks at multiple stages. While 'light' checks for fluid levels etc are done every couple of days, 'heavy' checks with parts and panels being opened are done every couple of years. Since Sky Cruise is meant to stay airborne for many years, maintenance would be a huge challenge.

Finally, putting the plane back on land would be a big task. Special wheels would need to be engineered to be able to withstand the punishment. Special runways would also have to be built.

However, keep in mind that this is all speculation, not a formal project involving engineers and other experts. The Sky Cruise is just a liberal imagining of the future, meant to make us wonder what we might see in the years to come.

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