KLM’s Flying-V Model Makes Maiden Flight

Scale model of Dutch flag carrier’s Flying-V project takes to the skies for the first time following a series of extensive wind tunnel and ground tests 

The scale model of the Flying-V – the energy-efficient aircraft of the future – has flown for the first time. The test flight followed 18 months of development, which saw engineers at Dutch university TU Delft conduct extensive wind tunnel and ground tests with the uniquely designed model.

The Flying-V was unveiled at during KLM's 100th anniversary celebrations in October 2019. KLM

The Flying-V is a design for a very energy-efficient long-haul aircraft, integrating the passenger cabin, cargo hold and fuel tanks in the wings to create a unique V-shape. KLM says computer calculations have predicted that the improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight of the aircraft will reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared to today's most advanced aircraft. 

Pieter Elbers, president and CEO of KLM, commented: “We were very curious about the flight characteristics of the Flying-V. The design fits within our Fly Responsibly initiative, which stands for everything we are doing and will do to improve our sustainability… We are therefore very proud that we have been able to achieve this together in such a short period of time.”

The flag carrier claims the design could be up to 20% more fuel-efficent than today's next-generation aircraft. KLM

KLM presented the scale model for the first time during its 100th anniversary celebrations in October 2019. Several partners are now involved in the project, including manufacturer Airbus.  

Elbers added: “You can't make the aviation sector more sustainable on your own, you have to do it together. Collaborating with partners and sharing knowledge takes us all further. That's why we will further develop the Flying-V concept with all partners. The next step will be to fly the Flying V on sustainable fuel.”