Airbus is testing a airplane impressed by the albatross — and its flapping wings simply acquired longer
(CNN) – Birds have been an inspiration to aviation visionaries since the dawn of aviation. And now the engineers are again looking for feathered friends to inspire the next generation of airplane wings.
Last year, the European manufacturer Airbus presented a small aircraft with flapping wing tips – a concept from the flight of the albatross.
The AlbatrossONE, a model based on the A321, consists of carbon fiber and glass fiber reinforced polymers and has “semi-aeroelastic” hinged wing tips.
The free fluttering wing tips react and bend to gusts of wind, reducing air resistance and combating the effects of turbulence.
After a successful first flight test campaign, the AlbatrossONE demonstrator has now reached a new milestone: a “gate-to-gate” demonstration with wing tips that are 75% longer than those tested in the first phase.
In the swing test, an object is suspended like a pendulum. During this test, the AlbatrossONE demonstrator tested its bulk properties.
Tom Wilson, Airbus Semi-Aeroelastic Inge project leader, said in a statement this week that the demon station “enabled us to prove that free fluttering wing tips can reduce wing stress while increasing roll rate compared to fixed wing tips and that Stalling the tip while landing is avoided, “improve aircraft performance.
James Kirk, AlbatrossOne’s Chief Engineer, added, “After the proof-of-concept is achieved on a small scale, we will increase our efforts to develop the technology on a larger scale.”
The wing tips of the aircraft are inspired by the albatross.
The aircraft was inspired by the albatross, a seabird that can stay in the air for hours with little wing effort in windy weather.
“The concept of pivoting wing tips is not new,” Wilson said last year.
“Military jets use them to provide more storage space for aircraft carriers. However, the AlbatrossOne is the first aircraft to test free-flapping wing tips in flight – up to a third the length of the wing,” he added.
The Airbus Fello’fly flight demonstration project is investigating whether aerodynamic efficiency can be increased by flying two large commercial aircraft in formation that mimic the flight patterns of birds.
The first tests began in March 2020 with two A350s. The program will be expanded next year.
Airbus unveiled this bird-like conceptual aircraft design with the aim of motivating the next generation of aerospace engineers.
In July 2019, Airbus unveiled the “Bird of Prey” – a concept aircraft inspired by the natural features of eagles, hawks and other aerial predators.
Airbus has also turned to other parts of nature to find solutions for aircraft design. In recent years the manufacturer has fitted certain jetliners with small “riblet” patches – textured surfaces on the fuselage and wings that mimic the effects of shark skin to reduce drag during a high-speed cruise flight.