back in 2019, KLM unveiled the design of a two-pronged innovative flight concept dubbed the flying-V. showcasing an entirely different approach to aircraft design, the project aimed to anticipate a future for sustainable long-distance flight. one year later, the company has announced that they have successfully taken to the sky a scale model of the airplane, making the first test flight a fact.

in august 2020, a team of researchers, engineers and a drone pilot from TU delft travelled to germany for the first test flight. ‘we were very curious about the flight characteristics of the flying-V,’ comments pieter elbers, president and CEO of KLM. ‘the design fits within our fly responsibly initiative, which stands for everything we are doing and will do to improve our sustainability. we want a sustainable future for aviation and innovation is part of that. KLM has been among the top three most sustainable airlines worldwide in the dow jones sustainability index for many years. we want to continue to do so in the future. we are therefore very proud that we have been able to achieve this together in such a short period of time.’

KLM & TU delft's energy-efficient flying-V aircraft model takes to the sky

images courtesy of KLM

the flying-V has been created for very energy-efficient long-haul flights. its design incorporates the passenger cabin, cargo hold and fuel tanks in the wings, creating a striking V-shape — hence its name. Computer calculations have predicted that the improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight of the aircraft will result in 20% less fuel consumption compared to today’s most advanced aircraft.

KLM & TU delft's energy-efficient flying-V aircraft model takes to the sky

‘you can’t make the aviation sector more sustainable on your own, but you have to do it together,’  elbers concludes, talking about the partnership with TU delft and airbus. ‘collaborating with partners and sharing knowledge takes us all further. that’s why we will further develop the flying-V concept with all partners. the next step will be to fly the flying V on sustainable fuel.’

KLM & TU delft's energy-efficient flying-V aircraft model takes to the sky

juliana neira I designboom

sep 08, 2020

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