Analysts in the Netherlands have produced a model of a futuristic passenger aircraft, called the Flying-V. The successful test flight was the first step in the developmental process of the aircraft.
The engineers and researchers were pleased with the results but still need to enhance the model’s design and conduct more tests on the aircraft which they expect could be in operation between 2040 and 2050.
The Flying-V’s unique design, places the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks within the aircraft’s wings. This gives the aircraft an enhanced aerodynamic shape, which in turn offers increased fuel efficiency.
Experts designed the model aircraft weighing 22.5 kilograms, with a scale of three metres. Researchers and engineers conducted the test flight using the model aircraft, at an airbase in Germany.
The model aircraft performed a successful test flight yet there were areas which experts said needed improvement. Assistant professor Roelof Vos, from Delft University’s aerospace engineering faculty, said that his team initially were concerned about the lift-off stage of the flight.
During the testing, the model aircraft was flown by a TU Delft student, who remotely controlled the model aircraft, like a drone. A team of experts from the Airbus Company were also onsite while testing the model aircraft’s take-offs, turns, approaches and landings.
Professor Vos said, “One of our worries was that the aircraft might have some difficulty lifting-off since previous calculations had shown that ‘rotation’ could be an issue.”
Remotely controlling the the Flying-V, the research team noted a take-off speed of 80 kilometres per hour, while noting that the aircraft’s flight speeds, angles and thrust were as planned.
“The team optimised the model aircraft to prevent the issue but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. You need to fly to know for sure,” Vos said.
Researchers and engineers will use the data collected from the test flight, to enable them to improve the aircraft’s design and conduct further tests on the aircraft. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is a contributing partner and funder of the project.
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