The sleek blended-wing could be the airplane of the future
The blended-wing body plane could be the future of air travel.
Dutch KLM Airlines, working in conjunction with a team of researchers from Airbus and the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have released concept art for a sleek new plane design they say will maximize efficiency.
The aircraft, termed "AHEAD," stands for Advanced Hybrid Engine Aircraft Development. The design jettisons the typical fuselage body-with-wings approach of modern aircraft in favor of two sets of wings seamlessly connected to -- that is, part of -- the plane's body itself.
The single-shaped profile of the new aircraft is designed to improve airflow by reducing drag -- which is presently beaten back by using more engine power and thus more fuel.
Researchers also intend for AHEAD to use a hybrid engine with two separate combustion systems; one would use hydrogen or liquefied natural gas while the other would use kerosene or biofuel.
Rob Duivis, the project manager for KLM Airlines, described the benefits of hybrid technology: "By using two different combustor and fuel systems the engine's total efficiency increases and emissions are reduced."
AHEAD would be able to transport 300 passengers nonstop up to 8700 miles, which is roughly the distance from Europe to Australia.
The revolutionary design is not likely to be realized until around 2050.
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