Travel | October 16, 2020 1:16 pm

You Could Soon Be Sitting in the Wing of a Flying-V

This uniquely shaped aircraft just completed a successful maiden flight

A composite of the new Flying-V aircraft
A composite of the new Flying-V aircraft.
Edwin Wallet / KLM / TU Delft

You read the title right — KLM and the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands just conducted a test flight of a futuristic new plane that puts the passengers into the wings.

A three-meter-wide scale model of the Flying-V was recently taking flight at an airbase in Germany, where a takeoff, various test maneuvers and landing were successfully completed.

The V design of the plane places the cabin, cargo hold and fuel tanks in the wings; the odd shape will hopefully cut fuel consumption by 20 percent.

The aircraft isn’t quite ready for actual passengers, however. As a TU Delft press release notes, “The team had a challenging week in which they had to change the centre of gravity of the aircraft and fix the antenna to improve telemetry. The flight has now also confirmed that the current design still shows too much ‘Dutch roll’, causing a slightly rough landing.”

Up next: More tests, and providing the Flying-V with sustainable propulsion, “taking into account that the design seems highly suitable to carry liquid hydrogen instead of kerosene,” as TU Delft suggests. And then a full-scale test model will follow.

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