Future of air transport? The Flying-V just passed a huge milestone
Airplanes are amazing machines, but their design hasn’t changed radically since their inception by the Wright brothers back in the early 1900s.
That might be about to change with the ‘Flying-V’, a machine that has blended wings for better fuel efficiency, speed and cabin space. The project – which has been years in the making – just crossed a huge milestone; a long-range model has just flown in Germany, thereby proving that the Flying-V is more than just a concept.
The Flying-V was developed by Delft Technical College (TU Delft) in the Netherlands, with financial backing from KLM Airlines.
The Flying-V is a fuel-efficient, long-range airplane in which the seating, petrol tanks as well as luggage are built right into the wings. According to those behind the designs, that makes it 20 percent more fuel efficient than an Airbus A350 (largely regarded as one of the most fuel efficient airliners out there).
It's likewise about 15 percent much more aerodynamically reliable than traditional aircraft. At full scale, the Flying-V would seat 314 passengers in two classes.
This test flight proves that the design can indeed be built in full. "Among our concerns was that the aircraft might have some difficulty lifting-off, considering that previous calculations had actually shown that 'turning' could be a problem," said Roelof Vos, an assistant teacher of flight performance and propulsion at TU Delft, informed Flightglobal.com.
"The team enhanced the scaled flight version to avoid the problem. However you need to fly to understand that for sure."
Vos claimed the design had "somewhat of a rough touchdown," however the team will certainly use the flight data to construct an aerodynamic version of the scaled design.
Dutch Airlines KLM are betting big on the Flying V, saying that they are dedicated to improving sustainability across their entire operation.
KLM said that it will be developing a major mockup of what it thinks the inside of the plane will look like. That will be unveiled next month in October, as part of its 100-year-anniversary.
Esquire now has a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.