Under a new cooperative agreement to work together on making aviation more sustainable, KLM will be contributing towards Delft University of Technology’s (TU Delft) research into an innovative flight concept known as the “Flying-V”, which integrates the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings, creating a spectacular v-shape.
The aircraft was originally conceptualized as a potential aircraft design for the future, but can be compared to today’s Airbus A350. 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.
Furthermore, the Flying-V will carry the same number of passengers—314 in the standard configuration—and the same volume of cargo, 160 m3. The Flying-V will be smaller than the A350, giving it less aerodynamic resistance.
The aircraft’s improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight will mean it uses 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350.
The Flying-V is smaller than the A350 and has less inflow surface area compared to the available amount of volume. The result is less resistance. That means the Flying-V needs less fuel for the same distance. Project leader at TU Delft, Dr. Roelof Vos
A flying scale model and a full-size section of the interior of the Flying-V will be officially presented at the KLM Experience Days at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in October on the occasion of KLM’s 100th anniversary.
The Flying-V also provides researchers a unique opportunity to improve passenger experience in aircraft, from the seating layout in the wings, to the design of the seats and bathrooms. Everything has to be as lightweight as possible in order to maximise the efficiency gain the new aircraft shape provides. Passenger comfort is also taken into account.
The Flying-V is propelled by the most fuel-efficient turbofan engines that currently exist. In its present design it still flies on kerosene, but it can be adapted to make use of innovations in the propulsion system—by using electrically-boosted turbofans for example.
We are incredibly pleased to be able to cooperate with our trusted partner KLM on our combined mission to make aviation more sustainable. Radically new and highly energy-efficient aircraft designs such as the Flying-V are important in this respect, as are new forms of propulsion. Our ultimate aim is one of emission free flight. Our cooperation with KLM offers a tremendous opportunity to bring about real change.—Henri Werij, dean of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft