Dr. Othmane Benafan, co-principle investigator for the Spanwise Adaptive Wing Project, inspects a model of the shape memory alloy actuator and the outer wing section from an F/A-18 research plane.
While aeronautics researchers across the globe continue to develop technologies that will make air travel more efficient, more sustainable and safer, there is a group of NASA researchers who are altering the long-held view that wings have to stick straight out from an aircraft and stay that way. Through NASA’s Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) Project, a team of engineers working within its Spanwise Adaptive Wing (SAW) project is investigating the feasibility of bending or shaping portions of an aircraft’s wings in-flight, potentially increasing performance and efficiency by reducing weight and drag. The ability to fold wings isn’t new. Since the dawn of ship-based aviation, U.S. Navy aircraft have been required to fold their wings for space conservation. Currently, this type of wing folding, orRead more