'Flying Doughnuts': Airbus Files Patent For A New Kind Of Plane : The Two-Way The new design would seat passengers within a circular seating area rather than in short rows inside a tube.

'Flying Doughnuts': Airbus Files Patent For A New Kind Of Plane

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Here's one of those drawing board ideas that gets the imagination going. The company Airbus recently filed a patent application for a plane that fits passengers in a 360-degree cabin. The design could pack in more people, but NPR's Laura Sullivan says, it's probably too soon to rethink a drink cart that can better handle curves.


WILLIAM SHATNER: (As Captain James T. Kirk) Space - the final frontier...

LAURA SULLIVAN, BYLINE: "Star Trek" fans, UFO watchers, alien invasion Xbox box gamers - everyone knows that aircraft of the future are shaped like circles. And yet, year after year, we all tread down the jetway to airplanes shaped like paper towel holders with wings. Maybe not for long - last month, Europe's Airbus filed a patent application for a whole new kind of plane. It seats passengers in large concentric circles, like a giant doughnut, inside a structure shaped more like a triangle. According to the patent, it would more efficiently distribute pressurization, which would eliminate the need for heavy reinforced frames.


SHATNER: (As Captain James T. Kirk) ...To boldly go where no one has gone before.

SULLIVAN: Not so fast. Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon says, it's just one patent. They file about 600 of them a year. And, he says, it's not currently in production. But he did say anything's possible. In the meantime, sci-fi fans the world over will be ready to board. Laura Sullivan, NPR News, Washington.

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