By Cailey Rizzo
June 03, 2019
Courtesy of KLM

Close your eyes and imagine an airplane. Chances are, you’ve visualized a long tube with a tail, two wings and a rounded nose. But that universal image of an aircraft may soon be shaken up.

Dutch airline KLM announced that it would help fund development of the Flying V, a passenger plane completely unlike anything else that’s taken to the skies.

The name of the aircraft pretty much says it all. The Flying V is an idea for a commercial passenger jet that resembles, well, a giant V in the sky. The name comes from the Gibson Flying V guitar used by many heavy metal rockers.

Courtesy of KLM

According to a statement from the airline, the “aircraft’s v-shaped design will integrate the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings.”

The Flying V would be capable of carrying approximately 314 passengers across its two aisles (one on either side of the V). The plane would be the same length as the Airbus A350, meaning it could use current infrastructure at airports around the world. However, because of its aerodynamic shape and reduced weight, it would operate with 20 percent less fuel than the A350.

The airline is working with Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands to develop the aircraft. A flying scale model of the aircraft and a full-size section of the cabin are expected to debut at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport in October.

The Flying V is far from the first aircraft concept that veers from the norm. Earlier this year, Boeing and NASA announced a partnership to add supports to wings that would allow aircraft to fly up to 615 miles per hour. There’s even an idea for a train that would “grow” wings and turn into a plane.  

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