KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the flag carrier airline to the whole of the Netherlands while also being the oldest airline in the world, dating as far back as 1919. KLM currently has a total of 119 aircrafts in service with many coming from Boeing and just two from Airbus. However, it may soon add a new aircraft to its current lineup and one that is outside of the norm. That is the KLM Flying-V aircraft, which is currently in its conceptual phase.
This innovative flight concept steers away from the social norms of a commercial airplane, which consists of a lone tunnel with wings on both sides. This is all due to the researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions. The radical design remains aerodynamic and lightweight, allowing it to use 20% less fuel than a regular aircraft.
In terms of size, the KLM Flying-V aircraft concept closely resembles the Airbus A350 and it even fits in the same hangar. It’s compatible with present-day gate and runway layouts found in most airports around the world. As for its name, it takes after the Gibson Flying-V electric guitar, which has been played by legends in the scene like Jimi Hendrix.
The design of the KLM Flying-V aircraft concept integrates the passenger’s cabin, fuel tank, and cargo hold in its wings, hence its unusual V-shape design. While it may not be available for the next 20-30 years as a commercial flight due to the amount of paperwork it will probably have to go through, a 1:1 scale model is expected to take to the skies at the Amsterdam Schipol airport.
The KLM Flying-V aircraft brings much-needed good news for the world of commercial flying as 2019 has not been kind. From the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX after two fatal crashes as well as the end of the superjumbo Airbus A380, this is something for the world to look forward to, even if it is just a concept piece for now.