A recent patent awarded to Airbus by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office indicates engineers at the industry giant have quite a unique design up their sleeves – a double fuselage airliner, to be exact.
Design drawings associated with the patent, filed in 2008, show the fuselages connected by way of two forward-swept wings, with the front wing positioned lower than the rear upper wing. This configuration creates a particularly strong structure that can weather bending moments, allowing for a lighter weight aircraft and thus, potential fuel savings.
Lying centered amidst the aft wing in a longitudinal plane is the turboprop propulsion system, another key element of the aircraft’s potential for significantly decreased fuel requirements.
The authors of the patent request maintain the new structure is an answer to an earlier twin fuselage design put forth and patented more than 30 years ago by Boeing, which featured a lower forward straight wing and a very high straight aft wing connecting the dual cabins. According to Airbus, the new design’s swept wing configuration solves the excessive height challenge and high CG position featured in the Boeing design.
Whether the Airbus design will make more headway in the near future than that of Boeing’s undeveloped configuration is yet to be seen.
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