Commercial aircraft have fuselages with cross-sections that are circular—or slight variations on circular—for one reason. Cylindrical structures provide the lightest way to carry the loads from pressurization of the fuselage. But designers are revisiting the traditional tube-and-wing airliner in search of greater efficiency. One unusual feature of Aurora Flight Sciences’ unconventional D8 configuration for an ultra-efficient airliner is its “double-bubble” ...

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