NASA‘s Armstrong Flight Research Center has worked with the Air Force Research Laboratory and FlexSys to conduct a series of research flights to test the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge “morphing wing” technology.
The agency said Wednesday the 22 initial flight tests are part of the Environmentally Responsible Aviation project, which targets improved fuel economy, operational efficiency and reduced noise for airplanes such as the Gulfstream III.
“Armstrong’s work with ACTE is a great example of how NASA works with our government and industry partners to develop innovative technologies that make big leaps in efficiency and environmental performance,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s aeronautics research mission directorate.
During the flight tests, researchers used experimental ACTE flight control surfaces at flap angles of up to 30 degrees to test “morphing” at different fixed settings in the aircraft’s range of motion, NASA said.
The agency added that the tests’ results will guide design trade studies for future large transport aircraft at the Langley Research Center.
According to NASA, the technology development project began in 1998 under a Small Business Innovative Research program between AFRL and FlexSys.