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New fuel-efficient aircraft design squeezes passenger cabin into V-shaped wings


Agence France-Presse

 /  Sat, June 8, 2019  /  10:05 am

Aerospace engineers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have come up with an innovative new concept that integrates the passenger cabin, cargo hold and fuel tank into V-shaped wings. 

The result is a sleek, futuristic-looking aircraft that uses 20 percent less fuel than the Airbus 350. 

Originally dreamed up by Delft University of Technology student Justus Benad in his thesis project at Airbus Hamburg, the concept upends the traditional bird-like design -- long fuselage, wings on either side -- and instead makes the wings the aircraft's chief storage space. 

The new design also provides a unique opportunity to rethink the passenger experience, said Peter Vink, a professor of applied ergonomics and design. 

On-board buffets 

"The new shape of the aircraft means we have exciting opportunities to design the interior, making flying more comfortable for passengers. For instance, as part of the Flying-V research, we're looking into new options to having a rest or taking meals on a plane. Offering food from a buffet is one of the options we're sinking our teeth in." 

The plane is propelled by turbofan engines which are set atop the crux of the V. 

Read also: Seven little known airplane features

At 65 meters, the aircraft's wing span was designed to be the same as that of the A350, enabling it to be used at existing infrastructure such as airports, gates, runways, and hangars, without difficulty.  

As a smaller version of the A350, the Flying-V has less inflow surface area, resulting in less resistance. It would also require less fuel for a trip of the same distance. 

Global aviation is responsible for 2.5 percent of total carbon emissions, a figure that is set to increase with the continuing rise of air travel. Last fall, the Dutch aviation sector proposed a plan aimed at decreasing their CO2 emissions by 35 percent by the end of 2030. 

A flying prototype will be presented at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in October as part of KLM's 100th anniversary.

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