FLY ING - V
“ The economy seats are
staggered to increase
airbags – although the Flying-V design team would like
to try to find a way to fit the seats in the direction of flight
in order to reduce airbag use.
The central business class zone is a fantastic open
space and would no doubt prove an instant hit if it were to
fly today. Further back in the two cabins however, things
get a little more unconventional – as one would perhaps
hope of a concept design.
Prof Peter Vink and Thomas Rotte from the industrial
design engineering (IDE) faculty at TU Delft have created
four experimental seating designs, each targeted at
specific inflight requirements, as identified by the
university’s research. The designs comprise group seating,
individual seats, lounge chairs and collapsible beds.
The standard economy seats are staggered to increase
shoulder room (à la Thompson Aero’s Cozy Suite). The
TU Delft team is also investigating options that would
enable passengers to vary their posture more while seated,
and for more passengers to lie down, as well as an inflight
buffet area. The matter of exactly which types of seating
and sleeping areas to have on board, as well as the ratio
between them, and their effects on booking, boarding and
onboard logistics are yet to be investigated by the team.
The proposed seating looks feasible, even in the short
term. Only the collapsible beds could present a larger
engineering consideration, but given that the
development, certification and market launch of a new
aircraft can take up to 20 years, there is sufficient time
to make any number of Delft’s dreams come true.
066 NOVEMBER 2019
Justin Benad, a TU Berlin student doing an internship at Airbus Hamburg came
up with the initial idea of the Flying-V. While he is currently working towards
his PhD at TU Berlin on another subject, he is still a key participant in the
project and takes part in talks about the research roadmap for the aircraft.
Dr Roelof Vos, an assistant professor of flight performance and propulsion
at TU Delft and Prof Dr Peter Vink saw great promise in the design, and with
their multidisciplinary team including aerospace engineers and industrial
design experts, they are working on the further development of the design
of the interior. TU Delft is also working with KLM on a range of research
and education projects, such as the corporate biofuels programme and on
design thinking. KLM is financially supporting the development of a flying
demonstrator via the Delft University Fund.
Another key player is Airbus, which runs research collaboration projects
with TU Delft. The Flying-V is one of many options being explored for
future aircraft. Airbus has indicated interest in the project and will
take part in talks about the future research roadmap, as
well as helping supporting the flight tests.
Another major reality check for any
aircraft concept is the passenger
evacuation model. This work has not
yet been done by TU Delft, but the
team states that the number of exits
corresponds with official guidelines,
as four pairs of Type A exits would
theoretically be enough for 440
passengers. However, the team
concedes that further study is needed
to show that the design indeed
complies with the 90-second rule.
ABOVE: THE STAGGERED SEATING
IN ECONOMY CLASS WOULD BE
EASY TO IMPLEMENT