Airbus flying doughnut

Airbus’ flying doughnut: science fiction?

With last week’s news dominated by the Rosetta comet landing and sci-fi film Interstellar continuing to ride high at the box office, Airbus followed the futuristic theme on Monday (November 17) by patenting a design for a “flying doughnut” aircraft. That’s right, a flying doughnut.

Resembling the Stealth Bomber, but with hole at its centre, the aircraft is designed without the components of a traditional aircraft – coming minus wings, tail and conventional fuselage.

The design also includes a more spacious circular cabin, with economy and premium economy located in the outer ring and business class situated, appropriately, in the inner circle.

Boarding the aircraft could also be best described as unconventional. Rather than scurry across a jet bridge, passengers would be “beamed up” at ground level via an escalator and an access hatch.

Could “the doughnut” really mark the beginning of a change in the way commercial aircraft are designed? Or is it merely a futuristic oddity designed purely to get the likes of us talking about it?

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon told US radio network NPR that while the design may never enter production, as the company files over 600 patent applications every year,  concepts like the doughnut could become “the seed for other ideas with practical use”.

Dubon confirmed that some of Airbus’ other patents of recent times are yet to leave the earliest of design stages.

Previous Airbus patents have included: virtual reality isolation helmets, windowless cockpits and intriguingly, an audio system imitating bird noises aimed at preventing bird strikes (. Not forgetting, of course, the bicycle –style seat patent submitted in the summer.

While notions of new technologies and innovations in aviation are always fascinating, I’m sad to say the chances of seeing the doughnut taking to the skies anytime soon appear unlikely at best.


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