The Netherland’s KLM Dutch Airlines recently developed what it calls the ‘Flying-V’ airplane design that puts passenger seats inside the plane’s wings, which could potentially decrease the amount of fuel needed by flights by a considerable 20%.
Partnering with Delft University of Technology, KLM announced that the design not only puts passengers in the plane’s wings, but also the fuel tanks and cargo hold will be situated there too, reported Futurism.
The team estimates that the radical new design will allow the Flying-V to transport approximately the same number of passengers as an Airbus A350 – today’s most advanced aircraft – using 20% less fuel. The Flying-V is also lighter and more aerodynamic, wrote Business Insider.
“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,” TU Delft project leader Roelof Vos told CNN. “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.”
The researchers claimed that a prototype version of the plane could be ready as early as this fall, while a real-world version would be unlikely to enter service until at least 2040.