Efficient, electric guitar-inspired jet takes to the skies

The project, which is backed by the Dutch airline KLM, will burn 20% less fuel and will have the same passengers capacity as a current Airbus A350

What if a V-shaped jet that burns 20% less fuel than conventional aircraft could take the skies and make commercial long-distance travel more sustainable?

That could soon happen after the first test flight of the prototype ‘Flying V’ aircraft, named after Gibson’s famous electric guitar.

The V-shaped jet is developed at Delft Technology University in the Netherlands and backed by the Dutch airline KLM, with various other business partners also involved in the project, including Airbus.

Image: TU Delft

The aircraft’s design integrates the passenger cabin, the cargo area and the fuel tanks in the wings, creating a V-shape.

The cabin was developed to hold 314 passenger seats in both legs of the V as well as in the connecting centre body.

Computer calculations have predicted that the aircraft’s aerodynamic shape and reduced weight could reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared to today’s most advanced jet.

The lightweight construction of the interior will also support the energy efficiency of the project – the seats used in the new design are four kilograms lighter than the typical seats that are currently used on long haul flights.

Image: TU Delft

The next step for the project, which aims to enable long-distance commercial travel, is to provide the Flying-V with sustainable propulsion, taking into account that the design seems highly suitable to carry liquid hydrogen instead of kerosene.

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