Sir - McDonnell Douglas claims that its blended-wing-body large aircraft will be cheaper to buy and operate. This is a "paper" aeroplane which has not yet been extensively tested in a windtunnel. Its true performance and operating cost have yet to be established.

Additionally, this design would pose significant difficulties in maintaining a reliable pressure vessel, not to mention further problems in designing an effective emergency-escape system.

Aircraft have evolved to look as they do for excellent reasons and we shall probably not see radically different shapes until the next-generation supersonic craft. Even they will be more similar in shape to the Concorde than wildly different from it.

Robert Nielsen

Seattle, Washington, USA

Source: Flight International