Successful inaugural flight for the design of futuristic “Flying-V” aircraft

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Researchers and engineers working on the development of the highly anticipated ‘Flying-V’ futuristic aircraft at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in partnership with Dutch airline KLM in the Netherlands have taken a step forward important this summer by leading the design. first successful maiden flight.


© KLM / TU Delft
Render of the Flying-V on a runway.

The design does not have the length of the comparable long-range widebody Airbus A350, but it has the same wingspan, meaning the Flying-V would suit current airport infrastructure, such as gates and runways. . It would also be able to carry roughly the same number of passengers (314 in the standard configuration) and the same volume of cargo.

The revolutionary V-shaped design integrates the passenger cabin, cargo hold and fuel tanks directly into the aircraft wing structure. Being lighter and producing less air resistance, the Flying-V is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 20%, according to current calculations. It also promises to increase durability by being adapted to use liquid hydrogen, instead of kerosene, as a fuel.

For the maiden flight, experts transported a 9-foot, 50-pound miniature aircraft to a monitored air base in Germany, where researchers and engineers partnered with an Airbus team to test take-offs, landings, approaches and various maneuvers in flight.

A drone pilot remotely controlled the plane, which was able to take off at a speed of around 50 miles per hour, and its flight speeds, angles and thrust capabilities all went as expected, CNN reported .

Project leader Roelof Vos, assistant professor of aerospace engineering at TU Delft and researcher in flight performance and propulsion, said: “One of our concerns was that the aircraft might have difficulty taking off, as previous calculations had showed that ‘rotation’ could be a problem. The team optimized the scale flight model to avoid the problem, but the proof of the pudding lies in the eating. You have to fly to be sure. ”

While most of the flight variables matched the developers’ predictions, the team had to make some adjustments to correct the issues that arose. Namely, they had to adjust the aircraft’s center of gravity, as well as fix its antenna to improve telemetry. The maiden flight also confirmed that the current design still demonstrates too much “Dutch roll” – a combined oscillation of yaw (“wagging tail”) and roll (swaying side to side) – resulting in may result in slightly rough movement. landing.

The next step for the development team will be to use the data collected during this test flight to create an aerodynamic software model of the Flying-V, which they can then use to program a flight simulator for use in future research while refining the flight characteristics.

Gallery: Airbus just acquired a propeller plane to serve as an in-the-sky research lab, collecting data to develop autonomous planes – here’s how it works (Business Insider)

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