Twitter | @WandrMe

Flying-V Plane Design Named After A Guitar Could Be The Future Of Air Travel

At this point in the history of mankind, you kind of think that certain designs have reached a point where they can't be made any better. They've been refined to their utmost; they've peaked.

I definitely thought that about airplanes. I figured I'd never fly in anything other than your basic large tube between two wings configuration. That's what makes this design so incredible.

As strange as it looks, the Flying-V might just be the future of air travel.

Facebook | TU Delft

It's definitely a radical departure from traditional airplanes, replacing the wings with two fuselages that flare back from the nose, creating, well, a flying V. It's a promising design, too.

The Flying-V is the brainchild of Jusus Benad, who developed it as his thesis project while a student at the Technical University of Berlin.

Twitter | @WandrMe

No word on what he was listening to at the time he came up with the idea, but as the Daily Mail reported, the Flying-V takes its name from the Gibson guitar made famous by the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix.

It's now under development at Delft University, and it's showing enough promise that Dutch airline KLM is investing in it.

YouTube | AE TUDelft

There are a few good reasons why so many experts are excited about the Flying-V. For one thing, it's expected to be a much more fuel-efficient design, using up to 20% less fuel than the Airbus 350-900, which is one of the most fuel-efficient in its class.

"The Flying-V is smaller than the A350 and has less inflow surface area compared to the available amount of volume," said project leader Roelof Vos. "The result is less resistance. That means the Flying-V needs less fuel for the same distance."

That is a huge deal.

YouTube | AE TUDelft

"Aviation is contributing about 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, and the industry is still growing, so we really need to look at more sustainable airplanes," Vos told CNN. "We cannot simply electrify the whole fleet, as electrified airplanes become way too heavy and you can't fly people across the Atlantic on electric airplanes — not now, not in 30 years."

The Flying-V would not only be more efficient than the Airbus 350, it would also replace it without a hitch.

Facebook | TU Delft

It's not as long as the A350, but it has the same wingspan and can carry an equivalent number of passengers and the same amount of cargo. So, absolutely no gates or runways or hangars would have to change in any way if the Flying-V were to replace the A350 tomorrow.

Now, up to this point, the Flying-V has largely been conceptual.

Benad conducted some flights with remote-controlled scale models, and there have been some preliminary wind tunnel tests, but a larger test flight isn't expected until October 2019 at the earliest.

But it seems that the aviation world is more than ready for something like the Flying-V to come along.

Twitter | @WandrMe

"We've been flying these tube and wing airplanes for decades now, but it seems like the configuration is reaching a plateau in terms of energy efficiency," Vos said. "The new configuration that we propose realizes some synergy between the fuselage and the wing. The fuselage actively contributes to the lift of the airplane, and creates less aerodynamic drag."

And the development team is looking at a number of ways to change the flying experience for passengers.

"The new shape of the aircraft mean we have exciting opportunities to design the interior, making flying more comfortable for passengers," said Delft professor Peter Vink. "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."

You have to admit, this would all make flying very different!

h/t CNN

Filed Under: