NASA’s Newly Attested Flexible Airplane Wings Can Reduce The Fuel Costs
NASA, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and private tech firm FlexSys have collaboratively introduced a new airplane technology that can build planes capable of modifying their wings during flight. The initial testing flights have been quite successful; the project team is utterly satisfied with results of the all 22 test flights conducted in the last six months.
“We are thrilled to have accomplished all of our flight test goals without encountering any significant technical issues,” program manager at AFRL, Pete Flick, commented.
Flight testing began after Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) wing surface was affixed to the experimental aircraft. The wings of the plane were rotatable from -2 degrees to 30 degrees — adequate for data collection purposes, NASA suggested.
The wings are enabled to change aircraft’s orientation by a flexible edge. Rotation was controlled during the test flights. But wings will be free to twist during complete flights, causing the planes appear like dancing birds.
Previously such a flexibility wasn’t possible because mechanical parts would add a lot of load and drag. The end result: abominable noise.
It is being anticipated that the new technology will reduce the fuel costs. This is possible because the seamless wings allow air to flow smoothly, thus reduce the air friction. Lesser the friction, lesser will be the energy required for plane’s flight.
FlexSys believes fuel efficiency can be enhanced by 5% to 12 %. Additionally, the ugly noise that aircraft creates, while landing and taking off, will be reduced as well. The NASA’s project partner estimates that the noise cutback can be upto 40%.