Ahead of the Curve: Novel morphing wing may reduce aircraft's fuel use | Science News

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Ahead of the Curve: Novel morphing wing may reduce aircraft's fuel use

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12:37pm, December 20, 2006

Airplane designers have long admired how birds reshape their wings for soaring, diving, and maneuvering. Now, a prototype aircraft wing has demonstrated in its first flight tests that its morphing might save fuel.

In a series of evaluations that began in October and ended last week, subtle shape-shifting by the wing's trailing edge minimized fuel-wasting air resistance, or drag, at a variety of altitudes, speeds, wing angles, and other conditions, says aeronautical engineer Russell F. Osborn Jr. of the Ann Arbor, Mich.–based company FlexSys, which created the wing.

"This is something that the aerospace community has been after for a long time," says aerospace engineer Peter M.

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