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Jul 9, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Flying-V: Incredible aeroplane in the shape of an electric guitar uses 20% less kerosene

Dutch researchers are currently working on a project for a commercial airplane which can carry as many passengers as a large jet but using less fuel, chiefly due to its aerodynamic design. Called Flying-V, the project is supported the country’s national carrier KLM, who are looking to develop air transport that is environmentally friendly. While the craft in the shape of an electric guitar is only in the development stage, the environmental impact could be immense, with aeroplanes currently representing around 2.5% of CO2 emissions.

Dutch airline KLM announced in early June that it would be involved in the financing of a project called Flying-V to design a commercial airplane that is particularly fuel-effective. The creators of the craft in the shape of an electric guitar, or boomerang depending on your perspective, have said that it would consume 20% less kerosene than an Airbus 350-900 whilst carrying an equivalent number of passengers, with the Flying-V looking at a having 314 people on board according to CNN, and also having similar baggage capacity.


Collaboration between KLM and a Dutch university


KLM are looking to get involved with the development and manufacturing of the Flying-V to "make air transport more environmentally friendly", the Dutch airline said in a press release. To this end, they have signed a cooperation agreement with the aerospace engineering department of Delft University in the Netherlands, which is where the researchers are working on the project, which actually is the brainchild of a student from Berlin.

The Flying-V is the result "of a completely different approach to aeronautical design which will bring us nearer to long-haul flights that will be environmentally friendly in the future", the press release states. In concrete terms, the two enormous wings which give the aeroplane its distinctive shape will house the fuel tanks, passenger seats and the luggage and freight hold.


Commercial flights not ready for another 20 years


The craft will burn less fuel thanks to its highly aerodynamic design, its two double flux jets positioned alongside the fuselage and its lighter weight. The craft will be 55 metres long and 65 metres wide, meaning that it will be able to use airport runways and hangars designed for current aircraft. However, if the Flying-V project does see the light of day, it will not take to the air before 2040 at the earliest.


2.5% of CO2 emissions created by aeroplanes


KLM is looking to unveil a model of the Flying-V that is capable of flight this coming October in Amsterdam, as well as a full-size version of the inside of the cabin. The airline believes that "the development of air transport has given a great deal to the world by bringing people closer together," said CEO Pieter Elbers, "but this privilege comes with an enormous responsibility towards our planet".

Roelof Vos, head of the Flying-V project, pointed out that around 2.5% of all CO2 emissions are created by aeroplanes, meaning that the stakes are high when it comes to the preservation of the environment.


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