Updated: September 6, 2020 10:29:22 pm
A team of researchers and engineers along with a drone pilot from the Dutch-based Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) have successfully conducted the first real test flight of the scaled model of the ‘Flying V’, a futuristic and fuel-efficient long-distance aircraft that could one day carry passengers in its wings.
The Flying-V design, which derives its name from its noticeable ‘V’ shape, integrates the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings. TU Delft says, “computer calculations have predicted that the aircraft’s improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight will reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared to today’s most advanced aircraft.”
Prior to the test flight in an airbase in Germany, the technical experts had been engaged in a period of extensive wind tunnel testing in the Netherlands to measure the velocity around and forces on the structure of the aircraft to determine its stability in airborne condition.
The ‘Flying V’ project was first presented at the 100th anniversary of the Dutch airlines KLM, which has also been a partner in the project since its beginning last year. Various business partners, , including Airbus, are now involved in the project.
The team of experts was led by Project leader Dr Roelof Vos, who expressed his post-success joy with these words: “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. The team optimized the scaled flight model to prevent the issue but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. You need to fly to know for sure.”
The next step, according to TU Delft, would be to use the data collected during the flight for an aerodynamic (software) model of the aircraft. This will make it possible to programme it in a flight simulator to be used in future research.
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