Airbus Launches High Performance Wing Demonstrator; Begins Assembly of ‘Eco-Wing’ Prototype
Airbus is launching an extra-performing wing demonstrator project on a Cessna Citation VII business jet platform. Separately, the company announced the assembly of a full-size eco-wing prototype, as part of their major ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ research and technology program.
On Wednesday (September 22, 2021), Airbus announced the launch of an extra high performance wing demonstrator on a Cessna Citation VII business jet platform. The project is focused on accelerating and validating technologies to improve and optimize wing aerodynamics and performance for any future aircraft. The extra-performing wing will also be compatible with future propulsion systems and would reduce Co2 emissions. Like an eagle adapts the shape, span and surface of its wings and feathers, the demonstrator will increase flight efficiency through various technologies. Various elements will be investigated to enable active wing control, including gust sensors, pop-up spoilers or plates that are rapidly deflected perpendicular to airflow, multifunctional trailing edges that dynamically change the wing surface in flight, and a semi-aeroelastic hinge. The demonstrator projected will be hosted within Airbus’ wholly-owned subsidiary Airbus UpNext.
In today’s announcement, Airbus’ Chief Technical Officer, Sabine Klauke, said,
“Airbus’ extra-performing wing demonstrator is another example of Airbus’ novel technology-oriented solutions to decarbonise the aviation sector. Airbus is continuously investigating parallel and complementary solutions such as infrastructure, flight operations and aircraft structure. With this demonstrator, we will make significant strides in active control technology through research and applied testing of various technologies inspired by biomimicry. ”
In a separate announcement, today (September 22, 2021), Airbus further announced the assembly of the first full-size future ‘eco-wing’ prototype, as part of the company’s major research and technology ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ program. In addition to testing the latest composite materials and new technologies in aerodynamics and wing architecture, the program will explore how wing manufacturing and industrialization can be improved to meet future demand. Three full-size eco-wing prototypes will be manufactures with one to be used to explore systems integration, the second to be structurally tested against computer modeling, and the third to test scaling-up production and compare against industrial modeling.
Commenting on the Wing of Tomorrow program milestone, Airbus’ Chief Technical Officer, Sabine Klauke, said,
“Wing of Tomorrow, a crucial part of Airbus’ R&T portfolio, will help us assess the industrial feasibility of future wing production. High-performing wing technology is one of several solutions - alongside sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen - we can implement to contribute to aviation’s decarbonisation ambition. Wing of Tomorrow is also an example of how large-scale industry collaboration will be critical to achieving our sector’s agenda for a more sustainable future.”
The Wing of Tomorrow program is partially funded by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and involves global partners and teams across Airbus’ European sites, including Bremen, Germany, where the ‘Wing Moveables’ team is based. In total, the three wing demonstrators will bring together over 100 new technologies. Sub-assembly of the complex wing cover took place at the Airbus site in Filton, England, having been manufactured at the National Composite Centre in Bristol. The wing cover and a major component from GKN Aerospace, the fixed trailing edge, were delivered to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Wales. Assembly will take place at Airbus’ wing-production plant in Broughton, Flintshire.