Airbus Patents “Flying Doughnut” Design

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Airbus has filed a patent for a futuristic “flying doughnut” design for a passenger aircraft, the Daily Mail reported this week. The patent drawings show a circular cabin with seats arranged in a “doughnut” pattern, and a delta wing plan. The design aims to overcome some of the problems associated with pressurizing the traditional “flying tube” fuselage. “Cylindrical shapes are good at containing the stresses of pressurized cabins but huge pressures on the cylinder’s front and rear ends need to be managed with strong, heavy structures,” according to the Financial Times. The patent application says this design aims “to provide a simple, economic and efficient solution to these problems, or at least partially overcome the . . . disadvantages.”

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon told NPR the company was interested enough in the idea to patent it, but it’s “not something that’s currently under active development.” The company’s engineers come up with about 600 ideas every year that are filed for patent protection. “There are some very clever people here that have fantastic ideas,” Dubon said. “And who knows? … Some of these become the seed for other ideas with practical use.”