NASA Testing "Folding Wing" On Boeing?

1/26/18
Hello and welcome to the Official Thread of Simple Aviation:

What is Simple Aviation
  • Simple Aviation is a topic of me, putting everyday facts, and turning them into simpler facts for you to understand. I take everyday wiki facts that some people can’t understand and I turn them into simpler form. This is not subjected to copyright however I kindly ask that you don’t use this title.

Details: On January 19th, NASA had tested new aircrafts capabilities by creating a simple “folding wings” on aircrafts! The wing will be available to work without hydraulics! Can you believe that. This is believed to help the optical flight of the aircraft. They are believed to rotate a full 70 degrees. The wings were tested on drones and were successful (somewhat).

image
Article: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/feature/nasa-tests-new-alloy-to-fold-wings-in-flight.html

Video: https://youtu.be/9y1kkG2_QpE

Purpose of The Aircraft?: “We wanted to see: can we move wings in flight, can we control them to any position we want to get aerodynamic benefits out of them, and could we do it with this new technology,” said SAW Co-Principal Investigator Othmane Benafan. “Folding wings has been done in the past, but we wanted to prove the feasibility of doing this using shape memory alloy technology, which is compact, lightweight, and can be positioned in convenient places on the aircraft.” There’s a lot of benefit to the design as it reduces alot of drag at supersonic flight.

Partnerships: As NASA is partnered with Boeing, so they are working on the alloy wings to better help better flying qualities. Boeing and NASA being partnered means big test flights and a higher chance of success. They are conducting multiple tests before the design goes out to the company

My Review: I believe this is a failure. Its been tested once… failed… now being tested twice, again might end up in a fail. Nothings for certain but I am aware this really isn’t going to be important for NASA aircrafts (Boeing) as it creates more problems for the companies design, mechanical structure, and safety for its passengers. More can be found on the article and video but for now , my name is Ryan, this was Simple Aviation, thank you for tuning into the thread!

15 Likes

Definitely something…different.

1 Like

Why can’t Boeing just stick with what they’ve got? The 787 and 777 is all they need.

5 Likes

In addition- Boeing is adding the 777X. And they are are also working on designing a new midrange aircraft. I think this is more directed towards fighters. But I could be wrong :)

2 Likes

You’re right. Why would they put folding wings on commercial aircraft? But with all this nonsense about pilotless aircraft and what not…I see the future 797 folding wing supersonic pilotless commercial aircraft 😏

1 Like

This isnt to fold wings while at the airport. This is SAW or Spanwise Adaptive Wings. This is an inflight wing length modification that will allow the aircraft to modify the wing shape to provide better aerodynamics and thus increase fuel efficency.

1 Like

pretty interesting concept! I saw the video some days ago and found it pretty awesome! nice topic

1 Like

William E. Boeing started his own airplane manufacturing company because he felt that airplanes of that time were uncomfortable from a passenger standpoint, so he wanted to build something better.
I am glad the Boeing Company doesn’t just stick with whatever they’ve got but rather tries to create faster, more efficient, and more reliable product using new technological advancements.

5 Likes

In a way isn’t this what the 787’s composite wings do (kind of) since its composite structure already adds flexibility and weight reductions. And by adding the foldable wings I thought about the 777x. Due to the space inbetween the main wing and winglet/tip won’t there be a very big weak point during flight which would be fairly dangerous…

Boeing has a folding wing tip so it can fit into airports this wing tip is to maximise efficiency in all levels of flight

Yes but there’d be a weak point between the folding section during flight even thought the wingtips aren’t folded and if there’s turbulence or other harsh weather conditions won’t the section develop fatigue faster?

1 Like

Yes but also shouldn’t have Boeing thought of what you thought before they started making the first model

2 Likes

They probably are thinking of a way to reinforce the strength of that week spot as we speak :) I mean cmon Boeing has done a great job over the years with figuring out problems

1 Like

Actually no because the stress comes from turbulence and wing flex. This systen would significantly reduce both thus lowering the fatigue

2 Likes

Boeing has actually thought of that. Folding wing concept isn’t new for 777, Boeing had it designed so 777 could fit in DC-10 or MD-11 gate. However, Boeing removed it from the final design because it was just adding complexity at insigificant benefit since 777 could still fit in 747 gate. 777x will have much longer wingspan so it really need folding wing to fit in current 777 gate, there aren’t many gates larger than that (only A380 gate is larger).

1 Like

Plus navy aircraft have had folding wings for a while now

True, the 777’s wingspan is pretty big , but a temporary 747 gate will simply reduce the amount of cost to park then to add “folding wings” to the aircraft.

Yeah it would cost Boeing a lot more. I mean they already have the spaces at airports to park most planes so there’s really no reason to fold up the wings

1 Like

The ability to change your wing form in flight dependent upon your phase of flight has huge ramifications with respect to fuel burn!

Think swing wing fighters where the supersonic plan form would require a landing speed in excess of 200kts so they sweep the wings forward. Now take an airliner which can change it’s wing form based upon the flight it’s doing. Short sectors do not benefit from the extra weight of winglets so they are unnecessary, leave the wing form down. Long sectors (4+ hours) gain a return from the weight of the winglet so leave them up. The key question is how heavy is the mechanism to move them. Is it worth fitting?

The mechanism just to move Concordes nose weighed in at almost 5 tonnes. If you can gain the aerodynamic advantage without the weight and complexity then companies will go for it.

Folding aircraft wings up until now have been for the benefit of parking and storage. The last thing you wanted to see in the Bucaneer in flight was a red tab poking up on your wing believe me!

Also the 77X will come with folding wing tips but (hopefully) only for parking on a standard ICAO gate.

1 Like

Wait so is the idea basically meant to work like one giant wingtip? Like these ones…
image

1 Like