The new morphing wing technology had test flights given by NASA researchers affiliated with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and FlexSys Inc., of Ann Arbor Michigan, were successfully concluded.
This fairly new technology, “…has the potential to save millions of dollars annually in fuel costs, reduce airframe weight and decrease aircraft noise during take-offs and landings,” According to writers for NASA.
From the months October to April 2016, 22 research flights were flown by the test team at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. They used ACTE (Adaptive Complaint Trailing Edge) flaps fashioned out of aluminium and change shapes to move around in a full range of motion. They were controlled to move in a small range to avoid dangers.
“Armstrong’s work with ACTE is a great example of how NASA works with our government and industry partners to develop innovative technologies that make big leaps in efficiency and environmental performance,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This is consistent with the agency’s goal to support the nation’s leadership in the aviation sector.”
The usage of ACTE technology allows engineers to be able to lower the weight of the air craft, and acclimate the wings to make flights and airports around them quieter and save fuel and fuel costs.
The only way to know that the morphing wings were ready to fly, was to test them. The air craft was flown with the flaps from -2 degrees to 30 degrees, but they moved them slowly to get more accurate data and to decrease the hazard risk.
“The first important aims were successfully tested on time and within reasonable cost. ” The results of these flight tests will be included in design trade studies performed at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for designing future large transport aircraft,” NASA states.
In the near future, we could be seeing some big improvements in the weight of air crafts, lower costs in the fuel industry and a quieter successful flight. We might see this on every air craft later on, and it can lead to greater ideas as well. Many things have come from inventions that change the world forever, and this is only another step forward to seeing it happen.