KLM funds new "Flying-V" plane design where passengers sit inside the wings

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is helping fund a new plane design called the Flying-V in which the passenger cabin, cargo hold, and fuel tanks are built into the wings. The researchers at the Technical University of Berlin and the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology who are developing the aircraft expect a scale model to take off in September. Even still, KLM says it'll be another 20 to 30 years before it could enter commercial service. From CNN:

It's claimed the plane will use 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350-900 while carrying a similar number of passengers -- the Flying-V will seat 314, while the Airbus A350 seats between 300 and 350. The design also mirrors the A350's 65-meter (213 feet) wingspan, enabling it to use existing airport infrastructure...

TU Delft project leader Roelof Vos said such innovation was needed as a stepping stone to greater efficiency while technology was still being developed to create large-scale electric airplanes.

"Aviation is contributing about 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, and the industry is still growing, so we really need to look at more sustainable airplanes," he told CNN...

"The new configuration that we propose realizes some synergy between the fuselage and the wing. The fuselage actively contributes to the lift of the airplane, and creates less aerodynamic drag."