A scale model of the Flying-V, a concept energy-efficient aircraft developed by TU Delft and KLM, has flown for the first time, following successful wind tunnel tests and ground tests.
During August a team of researchers, engineers and a drone pilot from TU Delft travelled to an airbase in Germany for the first test flight of the scale model. The design of the aircraft integrates the passenger cabin, cargo hold and fuel tanks in the wings, creating a V-shape. Computer calculations have predicted that the improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight of the aircraft will reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared with today’s most advanced aircraft.
“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,” stated Pieter Elbers, president and CEO of KLM.
“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,” added Elbers.
KLM first presented the scale model of the aircraft during KLM’s 100th anniversary in October 2019. Several partners are now involved in the project, including Airbus.
“You can’t make the aviation sector more sustainable on your own, but you have to do it together,” stated Elbers. “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”.