• Joe Breitfeller

KLM & TU Delft to debut Flying-V model at Amsterdam-Schiphol During KLM Experience Days

A joint project between Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and KLM, the Flying-V concept could carry over 300 passengers and would be 20% more fuel efficient than an A-350.

Image Courtesy KLM/TU Delft

According to TU Delft, the Flying-V concept was originally introduced in a thesis by TU Berlin student Justus Benad. The idea places fuel, cargo and passenger compartments in the wings, thereby reducing fuel consumption by reducing inflow surface area. The goal is to provide the equivalent passenger capacity as an A350 with the same range at a 20% fuel savings. The aircraft would use today’s most fuel-efficient turbofans but could ultimately be reconfigured with developing electric or hybrid-electric technologies.

To celebrate their 100th anniversary, this October KLM will be holding “KLM Experience Days” at Amsterdam-Schiphol. A centerpiece of the celebration will be a flying scale model of the Flying-V, along with a full-size cabin mockup section which will be displayed from October 3rd-13th.


Since WWII the “flying-wing” concept has been proven feasible, but stability remains a major engineering challenge, especially at low speeds. If the concept team can overcome the engineering challenges, the aircraft would still have to pass muster with current regulations. For example, as part of the certification process the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all commercial aircraft can be evaluated in 90 seconds. With 150 passengers in each wing, how could this be accomplished, since it seems unlikely escape slides could be deployed in the center of the “V” where the engines are located. If the side exits on one of the wings were unusable, wouldn’t this create a major bottleneck at the front of the cabin as passengers tried to access the exits on the other wing? Naturally, all these things would be considered if the Flying-V ever makes it out of the concept phase.

Concept aircraft are like concept cars, really cool to look at but rarely built. That said, every revolutionary design starts out as a concept, so we’re excited that TU Delft/KLM are looking to the future with a design that could help reduce the carbon footprint of commercial aviation. The Flying-V concept also aims to improve the passenger experience with a total redesign of everything from seating to lavatories, and even the way meals are served onboard. One concept for foodservice being considered is the inclusion of a buffet. Whether the Flying-V is ever built, the noble goal of reducing emissions while enhancing customer experience is something everyone can cheer about.



Source: TU Delft/KLM


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