The aviation industry has become akin to phony aircraft designs circulated on the internet, and upon stumbling upon news of the V-Plane, one can nearly feel suspect of falling for such a ploy. However, development of the new V-Winged, ultra fuel efficient aircraft designed dubbed as the ‘V-Plane’ by aviation enthusiasts, could soon become a reality with a boost from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Originally conceived by Justus Benad, a student at the time at the Technical University of Berlin, the design has been further developed by a research team at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (TU Delft)
The design incorporates all elements of the aircraft, into a slender V-Wing design, ensuring the aircraft fulfils it’s aim to use 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350-900 series, while carrying a similar number of passengers (314 compared to the A350-900’s max capacity of 350 passengers). A critical consideration, which caused the currently-underdevelopment- 777x series delays in 2018, is wing span. Under ICAO regulation, the maximum wingspan for aircraft must be below 80m wide (Category F [See Below]). The design therefore has a wingspan measuring only 65-meter (Similar to the A350-900) which enables it to use existing airport infrastructure, including airports with only Category E limits.
In a statement to the media, KLM President & CEO, Pieter Elbers said:
“In recent years, KLM has developed as a pioneer in sustainability within the airline industry. We are proud of our progressive cooperative relationship with TU Delft, which ties in well with KLM’s strategy and serves as an important milestone for us on the road to scaling-up sustainable aviation.”
Project Leader, Roelof Vos, replied to the media stating that: “such innovation was needed as a stepping stone to greater efficiency”
Increased fuel efficiency is mainly down to the aircraft’s design, Vos explained to us, though the reduced weight of the aircraft compared to others on the market also contributes. Researchers at the Technical University of Berlin hope to fly a scale model in September with a mock-up of the new cabin design opening to the public at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport hopefully this October – Aptly tied in with KLM’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
Whilst the design still requires rigorous testing before a prototype aircraft can be made, entry into service with KLM can be expected between 2040 and 2050; So a while for new aircraft geeks out there!
Nevertheless, progress with testing in wind tunnels — high speed and low speed — to demonstrate the efficiency of the aircraft can be tracked as soon as later this year as the research team carry out further evaluation of the design.
What are your thoughts on the V-Plane? Can you imagine one sitting on the tarmac of your local airport? Get in touch with your thoughts to: [email protected]