Monday, November 10, 2014

Tests begin on shape-changing wing

NASA has begun testing a aircraft wing surface that can change its shape in flight. NASA's green project could make future jetliners quieter and more fuel-efficient. The Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge, ACTE, replaces the current trailing edge and moving parts with an assembly that bends and twists to maneuver an aircraft through the air. The lighter ACTE promises improved aerodynamics, which in turn improves fuel efficiency. The lighter weight also allows for larger fuel tanks in the wings, improving an aircraft's range. It also promises noise reduction during takeoff and landing. The ACTE project at Armstrong Flight Research Center, Calif., is a joint effort between NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory using flaps designed and built by FlexSyst Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich. The airfoil can be retrofitted to existing wings or integrated into new ones. (Source: NASA, 11/07/14) Gulf Coast note: Airbus, which will build A320 family aircraft in Mobile, Ala., and Boeing use winglets on the end of wings to improve fuel efficiency by reducing drag; the Air Force Research Lab has its munitions directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.