Airbus filed a suite of patent applications recently, one of which includes a futuristic looking new concept for a passenger aircraft.
Dubbed the ‘flying doughnut’, and looking like a craft one would expect to see only in a science fiction movie, the aircraft features a circular cabin accessed via a cavity in the middle, contained in the middle of a giant triangular wing.
The aircraft design allows for a wider passenger cabin than traditional passenger aircrafts, with the circular cabin making the most of the greater width. An important advantage of this new aircraft is that the circular cabin is better able to withstand pressurisation loads without compromising cabin space.
However, it is doubtful that we will see any of these oddly shaped planes in the sky in near future, as the means for accessing the cabin is via the central cavity, which is not easily accommodated for by existing airports. Airports would need to modify their entry methods to convey passengers upwards from below the aircraft – the patent application envisions that this could be achieved via escalators or an elevator which extends through an access hatch in the aerodynamic envelope.
Whether this patent application will ever get off the ground will remain to be seen.