Airbus built a new “semi-aeroelastic hinge” wing concept that could help reduce drag and counter the effects of turbulence.
The AlbatrosOne is a remote-controlled aircraft demonstrator. It is a scale-model version of the A321 aircraft, featuring semi-aeroelastic hinged wing-tips.
Airbus new wings concept took inspiration from the albatross sea birds, which can soar hundreds of kilometers without flapping its wings. These birds have the capacity to cover a long distance with very little effort.
“AlbatrossOne is the first aircraft to trial in-flight, freely flapping wing-tips—which account for up to a third of the length of the wing,” said Tom Wilson, Airbus engineer, Filton, UK.
According to Airbus, the aircraft has already taken its first flights to prove the concept Further testing will be conducted on the demonstrator.
“Initial testing of AlbatrossOne has examined the demonstrator’s stability with the wing-tips locked and completely unlocked,” said fellow Filton engineer James Kirk.
“The next step is to conduct further tests to combine the two modes, allowing the wing-tips to unlock during flight and to examine the transition,” he added.
The company indicates that the new wings concept will inspire the next generation of the aircraft wings.
Biomimicry by Airbus: Eagle, shark, and albatross
The Airbus A350XWB, a long-range aircraft that came out in 2015, was featuring a special sharkskin-style coating. Airbus also unveiled the sustainable “Bird of Prey” at the Royal International Air Tattoo event on July 19, 2019, an electric hybrid concept aircraft inspired by the feathers of an eagle.