Airbus Completes Wind Tunnel Testing for eXtra Performance Wing Demonstrator
Updated: Jun 26, 2022
Using a scaled-down version of a Cessna jet, Airbus has completed wing tunnel testing on their eXtra Performance Wing demonstrator at their facility near Bristol. The project was launched last September and takes inspiration from nature to improve aerodynamics.
Today (April 12, 2022), Airbus announced the completion of wind tunnel testing of their nature-inspired eXtra Performance Wing demonstrator using a scaled-down remote control version of a Cessna Citation VII business jet. The testing took place at Airbus’ Filton, UK facility near Bristol. Launched in September 2021, the project takes inspiration from nature to improve aerodynamics and performance in a design that will be compatible with future aircraft and propulsion configurations to reduce CO2 emissions. Airbus initially introduced the concept on a smaller scale through their AlbatrossONE project which tested semi-aeroelastic wings that unlocked during flight when experiencing wind gusts or turbulence. The eXtra Performance Wing project will also examine onboard technologies such as gust sensors, pop-up spoilers and multi-functional trailing edges.
In Tuesday’s announcment, Airbus’ Head of eXtra Performance Wing UK, Oliver Family, said,
“The scaled demonstrator will integrate and fly breakthrough wing technologies using a remote-controlled Cessna Citation VII business jet platform in representative flight conditions. The partly 3D-printed wind-tunnel model - expertly built by the aerodynamics team at Airbus’ low-speed, wind-tunnel facility in Bristol - is a scaled-down version of the Cessna jet, incorporating the lightweight, long-span design of the eXtra Performance Wing that will provide the emissions benefits we are striving for.
“Airbus’ state-of-the-art low-speed wind-tunnel is a fantastic way to validate our concepts before flight tests. Our computational aerodynamic analysis capability is world class, and the wind tunnel provides another valuable way to measure the performance and capabilities of the aircraft before flight testing. The technologies we have tested in the Filton wind tunnel - many inspired by biomimicry - will now be rapidly integrated for flight testing.”
The Airbus low-speed wind tunnel at Filton replicates conditions similar to aircraft takeoff and landing wind speeds, and is also used by external organizations with applications such as testing F1 cars, maritime navigational systems, Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles, as well as conventional aircraft. The eXtra Performance Wing demonstrator project is hosted within UpNext, a wholly-owned Airbus subsidiary, which was created to fast-track development of future technologies at speed and scale.