Airbus applies to patent 'flying saucer' plane

The Airbus patent design
Credit: espacenet
The Airbus patent design

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is hoping to patent a new plane that looks more like a doughnut or flying saucer than the usual cylinder-shaped passenger plane.

The France-based company filed a patent application at the end of October for a new type of aircraft, structured to limit the strain of cabin pressurization. The design also offers space for more passengers, who will sit in a 360 degree cabin, rather like an amphitheater.

In the U.S. patent application, citing the investors as Patrick Lieven, Romain Delahaye and Catalin Perju, Airbus said that the usual "cylindrical geometry" of aircraft increased pressure at the front and back of planes and limited passenger-carrying capacity.

"The purpose of the invention is particularly to provide a simple, economic and efficient solution to these problems to at least partially overcome the above-mentioned disadvantages," the filing said.

Credit: espacenet

"The invention allows structure to be more resistant to loads induced by cabin pressurization, while allowing to reduce or even avoid the need for a sealed bottom, and while allowing to increase the space available for passengers."

The passenger cabin's circular shape means the plane would have curved rather than straight aisles. Diagrams in the patent application show passengers boardingand departing the plane using escalators that takes them into the center of the aircraft—which resembles the hole in the middle of a doughnut.

It's not the first time Airbus— owned by aerospace giant Airbus Group—has patented radical ideas. In December 2013, Airbus patented a somewhat uncomfortable-looking "bicycle seat" design for economy class passengers. In August 2014, it applied to patent a virtual reality helmet for passengers.

However, aircraft enthusiasts shouldn't get too excited about the latest idea out ofAirbus. The company told the "Financial Times"that the new doughnut design was "not something that's currently under active development."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt.