First Flight of the FA/18A with Active Aeroelastic Wing

The first flight of the Boeing FA/18A Active Aeroelastic Wing test aircraft has just been completed. The momentus event took place at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Airforce Base in California.

The Active Aeoelastic Wing project was designed to improve aircraft manoeverability and performance through the use of sophisticated software and a wing design that bends and twists.

The design has other advantages including the fact that it has fewer moving parts. This means that it can be made thinner, lighter and more aerodynamic than conventional designs. In turn, this can lead to increased range, payloads and fuel efficiency.

The current FA/18A fitted with Active Aeroeleastic Wing technology has wings fitted with additional actuators, a split leading edge flap actuation system and thin wing skins allowing the panels to twist up to five degree. The new design eliminates the need for surface trailing edge ailerons and leading and trailing edge flaps, which are required to generate the required aerodynamic force.

The Active Aeroelastic Wing project involves Boeing Phantom Works, NASA and the US Air Force.

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