Boeing Developing Blended Wing-Body

Friday, February 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Boeing engineers are working on an 800-seat airliner with wings that blend smoothly into the fuselage instead of protruding from its sides.

The so-called blended wing-body aircraft would fly at the same speed and altitude as a 416-seat Boeing 747-400, but it would use 25 percent less fuel and generate less noise, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Unlike other airline jets, the proposed Boeing jet wouldn't have a traditional fuselage or tail with fins. Passengers would be seated in two decks, and since most would not be seated near a window, the backs of each seat would have a video monitor providing a view of the outside.

``It looks different, but it isn't that much different from the B-2 (stealth bomber), and we know that works,'' said Robert H. Liebeck, a Boeing program manager working on the new plane.

Liebeck said the new plane should be completed within a decade but the program could be accelerated if Boeing gives priority to competing with the A-380, a double-decker airliner under development by European consortium Airbus Industrie.

The A-380, which will seat about 600, is expected to be in the air by 2006.