Tri-Wing Jumbo Jet

Radical new wide-body aircraft design comes with multiple benefits.

A new large jet concept was recently unveiled by SE Aeronautics, taking a novel approach to every aspect of wide-body aircraft design and performance, including: a third wing, a double tail fin, and two rear engines.

The SE200 can carry 264 passengers, and will consume 70 percent less fuel than other jets of similar size. It can travel roughly 10,500 miles, and features a top speed of 690.5 mph (Mach 0.90), which is greater than other jets of the same class. The extra wing provides more lift, which shortens the take-off and landing range, in turn multiplying the number of small airports it can work with.

In yet another break from tradition, the SE200 won't store fuel in the wings, thus allowing designers to focus on a thinner, more aerodynamic design. For SE Aeronautics wide-body prototype, the fuel is stored on a bladder atop the fuselage. Furthermore, the prototype has an integrated monocoque structure, and the structure of the aircraft fundamentally breaks with convention: aircraft manufacturers typically bolt together large sections called "barrels" to optimize production. "This is usually where fuselages break apart in an accident," said SE to the Robb Report. "SE will build a single-piece, tough composite fuselage."

Combined with the unique monocoque design, the company claims its composite materials could make the aircraft among the most efficient ever built. SE Aeronautics also says the airplane will have a 50-year service life, and can be built in half the normal time.

Whether the prototype makes it into the skies or not, this is a rare but exciting time for engineers to experiment with big and industry-shifting ideas for novel commercial aeronautics solutions.