Let’s be honest, we’ve been doing the same thing for almost a century. We get on an aircraft that has the same key features, a metal tube with a front and a back and seats in between. It’s been the formula that new aircraft have followed for decades. But as our understanding of aerodynamics increase, and computing allows us to create greater efficiencies, the actual aircraft shapes could go through a radical change. The blended wing concept has been floated for a few years, but the challenge of designing an interior hasn’t been tackled, until now. 

Factorydesign and JetZero have been working in stealth mode since late 2021 evolving the new interior cabin design for the JetZero Blended Wing Body aircraft. Now you might not have heard of JetZero, but this California-based aerospace firm has recently announced the development of a ground-breaking new aircraft that is set to revolutionise the aviation industry.

Now remarkably, the blended-wing body design provides up to 50 percent better fuel efficiency than today’s mid-market airliners. A new, more aerodynamic fuselage shape naturally provides greater internal volume and new possibilities for giving passengers an improved flying experience.

The aircraft’s blended-wing body design is the result of decades of research at NASA and elsewhere, much of it led by JetZero’s principal designers. Initially the aircraft will fly using traditional jet fuel or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). However, the aircraft is well suited for adaptation to zero-emissions hydrogen propulsion in the future.

The interior of the JetZero aircraft has been inspired by regenerative design principles, more commonly used in ultra-modern building design, therefore material is there to provide strength where it’s needed and cellular gaps appear where it’s not, saving weight. This innovative approach means the cabin can be lit by overhead and front side windows, with many apertures in-between the structural elements that flood the cabin with light and space. These apertures actually look organic in shape at first glance, removing any preconceptions of the usual inflight experience. 

In the multiple seating areas positioned within the centre of the aircraft, the latest hi-def screens could form sidewalls allowing projection of either window frames with a view, or full length, animated panoramic views of the passing sky – basically a supersized version of Emirates game-changer First Class fake windows currently flying on the 777. 

While these are preliminary – and exciting – concepts, Factorydesign is still pursuing to completely redefine the commercial passenger flying experience. The interior space allows designers more flexibility in working with airlines on their preferred galley, lavatory, and seating arrangements.

“The blended-wing shape offers a unique opportunity to move past the space constraints of tube-and-wing aircraft, raising the bar for passenger and crew comfort. We are delighted to have Factorydesign on-board to help JetZero create a future flying experience that passengers will love.” Tom O’Leary, Co-founder, CEO, JetZero.

“Aircraft technology has advanced hugely over the last 60 years, however, the opportunities for improved efficiency are reducing. The same is happening in cabin interiors as decades of attention means opportunities in tube and wing aircraft to create unique passenger experiences are becoming increasingly elusive. Significant and beneficial step-change to the passenger flying experience will only come with a revolution in aircraft, and the JetZero blended wing aircraft is exactly that.” says Peter Tennent, Director, Factorydesign.

Could we see this blended wing concept take flight? While it’s hard to believe it might be closer than we think as airlines constantly look to new technology and ways of getting closer to net zero. We applaud design companies like Factorydesign and JetZero that are constantly looking to push the passenger experience, after all, without these visionaries, we’ll be flying in the same metal tubes for another century to come. 

As I do every year, I ask on your kind support to keep things going. If you are able to donate – whatever amount – it all gets funnelled back in to the site, to keep the site full of content. And I thank you personally for your kind support.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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