Dutch airline KLM has revealed the stunning ‘Flying-V’ airplane design that burns 20 per cent less fuel than conventional aircraft and can carry more than 300 passengers inside the wings. The radical new plane design would put the passenger cabins in the wings of the plane along with the cargo and fuel tanks as well for better fuel efficiency.
The concept craft, developed by researchers at Delft Technology University in the Netherlands, flares diagonally backwards from it nose to create the striking V-shape.
It is named after the iconic Gibson Flying-V electric guitar used by a number of legendary players – from Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix, to Brian May and Keith Richards.
A pair of turbofan jet engines will be mounted at its rear and the design would drastically reduce both the carbon footprint of air travel and the expenditure on fuel.
Its total width is 215ft (65m) and its length will be slightly shorter, at 180 ft (55m).
Its size makes it a comparable rival to the traditional Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 and it would be able to use existing gates, hangars and runways.
The aircraft’s futuristic v-shaped design will integrate the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings, the Dutch flag carrier said in a news release.
“Its improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight will mean it uses 20 per cent less fuel than the Airbus A350, today’s most advanced aircraft,” the airline wrote.
“Although the plane is not as long as the A350, it does have the same wingspan. This will enable the Flying-V to use existing infrastructure at airports, such as gates and runways, without difficulty and the aircraft will also fit into the same hangar as the A350.”
The “Flying-V” was conceived by Justus Benad, then a student at the Technical University of Berlin, and is expected to enter service between 2040 and 2050, according to CNN.
The proposed KLM craft will carry the same number of passengers, 314, as the A350.
The “Flying-V” will be smaller than the A350, giving it less drag in the air, KLM said.
Everything in the aircraft has to also be as light as possible to maximize the efficiency gain the new shape provides, it said.
“The Flying-V has less inflow surface area compared to the available amount of volume,” said Dr. Roelof Vos , project leader at TU Delft.
“The result is less resistance. That means the Flying-V needs less fuel for the same distance.”
The “Flying-V” is propelled by the most fuel-efficient turbofan engines that currently exist, KLM wrote.
The present design flies on kerosene, but can be adapted to make use of innovations in propulsion technology by using electrically-boosted turbofans, for example.
“Radically new and highly energy-efficient aircraft designs such as the Flying-V are important in this respect, as are new forms of propulsion,” Professor Henri Werij, dean of the faculty of aerospace engineering at TU Delft, said.
“Our ultimate aim is one of emission free flight.”
No plans for building the concept craft have yet been announced, but KLM said it would unveil a scale model and full-size section of the plane’s interior at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in October.