KLM reveals details of plans for a new v-shaped aircraft

KLM has revealed details of an innovative flight concept known as the "Flying-V," a v-shaped aircraft where passengers sit inside the wings.

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The Flying-V aircraft offers an innovative and more sustainable way of flying. Image by KLM / TU Delft

Researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) are developing a new v-shaped aircraft aimed at reducing carbon emissions. It's difficult to compare it to anything on the market now because the design is so radical. Nothing of its kind exists but in terms of size, it's close to the Airbus A350 and even fits in the same hangar, meaning it's compatible with present gate and runway layouts at airports. It's not as long as the A350 and it uses 20% less fuel than conventional aircraft thanks to its aerodynamic and lighter design.

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The aircraft has been designed to compatible with current airport gates and runways. Image by KLM / TU Delft

The plane is named after the Gibson Flying-V electric guitar, used by musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards. The design integrates the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings, creating an unusual V-shape. The Flying-V project is being funded by KLM and a scale model is expected to take to the skies in October at Amsterdam Schipol Airport, although the aircraft probably won't be available for commercial service for another 20 to 30 years.

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The Flying-V will use 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350. Image by KLM / TU Delft

"We are incredibly pleased to be able to cooperate with our trusted partner KLM on our combined mission to make aviation more sustainable," said Henri Werij, dean of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft. "Radically new and highly energy-efficient aircraft designs such as the Flying-V are important in this respect, as are new forms of propulsion."

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The passenger and cargo cabins will be located in the wings. Image by KLM / TU Delft

"Our ultimate aim is one of emission-free flight," he added. "Our cooperation with KLM offers a tremendous opportunity to bring about real change."