PUTTING SOME BEND INTO THE WINGS

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Soundings -

A FLEX­I­BLE FLAP could make big changes to air­lin­ers. Last Novem­ber, NASA and the U.S. Air Force Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory be­gan flight test­ing trail­ing-edge wing flaps made with “shape-chang­ing as­sem­blies that form seam­less bend­able and twistable sur­faces.” The flaps, de­signed by Ann Ar­bor, Michi­gan-based Flexsys, are be­ing tested on a mod­i­fied Gulf­stream III to de­ter­mine if they make the air­plane qui­eter and in­crease fuel ef­fi­ciency by im­prov­ing aero­dy­nam­ics and mak­ing the wings lighter.

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