Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their (and the) first airplane at the end of 1903. A century, a decade, and some years later, planes look very different. A team of researchers is on a mission to make a major update on what planes could look like, and how efficiently they could fly.
Researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have partnered with KLM, a Dutch airline. Together, they have developed what they dub the "Flying-V".
As per its name, the new design looks like a "V." Passengers, cargo, and fuel tanks are all carried in the wings. The plane aerodynamic design uses 20% less fuel than the most fuel-efficient airplane currently on the market.
The researchers just took a model of the plane on its maiden flight. They were a little apprehensive, but the flight was successful.
The president and CEO of KLM, Pieter Elbers, shared “We were very curious about the flight characteristics of the Flying-V. 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."
In terms of when we could see the Flying-V in the skies with passengers, it seems like we're still far ways off, as researchers said the test flight had too much "Dutch roll," which creates a rough landing.
Though we may not be in a "flying V" like the Mighty Ducks tomorrow, experts are able to use the test flight data to make developments to the futuristic aircraft.