For the first time in aviation history, an aircraft has been manoeuvred in flight using supersonically blown air, removing the need for complex movable flight control surfaces.
In a series of ground-breaking flight trials that took place in the skies above north-west Wales, the MAGMA unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) demonstrated two innovative flow control technologies which could revolutionise future aircraft design.
MAGMA, designed and developed by researchers at The University of Manchester in collaboration with engineers from BAE Systems, successfully trialled the two ‘flap-free’ technologies earlier this month at the Llanbedr Airfield.
The technologies have been designed to improve the control and performance of aircraft. By replacing moving surfaces with a simpler ‘blown air’ solution, the trials have paved the way for engineers to create better performing aircraft that are lighter, more reliable and cheaper to operate. The technologies could also improve an aircraft’s stealth as they reduce the number of gaps and edges that currently make aircraft more observable on radar.
Developing such technologies helps to ensure the UK has the right technologies and skills in place for the future and could be applied to the development of a Future Combat Air System. It is the latest technological breakthrough to come from a number of BAE Systems collaborations with academia and industry, that will help the UK to deliver more advanced capability, more quickly, and through shared investment.
Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Technologist, BAE Systems Air, said: “MAGMA is a great example of how collaborating with bright minds at British universities can deliver ground-breaking research and innovation. Our partnership with The University of Manchester has identified cutting-edge technology, in this case flap-free flight, and turned what began as a feasibility study into a proven capability in just a number of months. It demonstrates how STEM can be applied in the real-world and I hope the success of these trials inspires the next generation of much-needed engineers and scientists.”
Bill Crowther, senior academic and leader of the MAGMA project at The University of Manchester, added: “We are excited to have been part of a long-standing effort to change the way in which aircraft can be controlled, going all the way back to the invention of wing warping by the Wright brothers. It’s been a great project for students to be part of, highlighting that real innovation in engineering is more about finding practical solutions to many hundreds of small technical challenges than having single moments of inspiration.
“The partnership with BAE Systems has allowed us the freedom as a university to focus on research adventure, with BAE Systems providing the pathway to industrial application. We made our first fluidic thrust vectoring nozzle from glued together bits of plastic and tested it on a hair drier fan nearly 20 years ago. Today BAE Systems is 3D printing our components out of titanium and we are flight testing them on the back of a jet engine in an aircraft designed and built by the project team. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
The technologies demonstrated in the trials were:
- Wing Circulation Control: Taking air from the aircraft engine and blowing it supersonically through narrow slots around a specially shaped wing tailing edge in order to control the aircraft.
- Fluidic Thrust Vectoring: Controlling the aircraft by blowing air jets inside the nozzle to deflect the exhaust jet and generate a control force.
The trials form part of a long-term collaboration between BAE Systems, academia and the UK government to explore and develop flap-free flight technologies, and the data will be used to inform future research programmes. Other technologies to improve the aircraft performance are being explored in collaboration with NATO Science and Technology Organisation.
via BAE Systems
The Latest on: Aircraft design
via Google News
The Latest on: Aircraft design
- CareFlight announces partnership with electric aircraft pioneers AMSL Aeroon November 25, 2020 at 8:33 pm
CareFlight and Australian company AMSL Aero have launched a partnership with the goal of developing aeromedical applications for advanced electric flying vehicles that will tackle rural and regional ...
- Aircraft Designon November 12, 2020 at 10:32 pm
To register your interest please contact [email protected] providing details of the course you are teaching. Aircraft Design explores fixed winged aircraft design at the conceptual phase of a ...
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)on November 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm
The pilotless aircraft design and research organizations were founded in NAI, BIAA and NPU. These universities have been used as the bases and have the capabilities of design and small scale ...
- Comac delivers first ARJ21 to China Expresson November 10, 2020 at 7:10 pm
In June, the Chongqing-based carrier signed a partnership agreement framework with Comac, covering both the orders, as well as cooperation in other areas like aircraft design, maintenance ...
- Solvay renews materials deal with Boeingon November 6, 2020 at 7:43 am
"We are proud to continue supporting Boeing's programs with an extensive portfolio … critical to advancing innovation in aircraft design and manufacturing," said Carmelo Lo Faro, president of Solvay's ...
- Air Force Designs Unmanned Lightweight Aircraft for NASAon November 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is developing a new unmanned airplane that the military and NASA will use to test the effect of air flow on flexible wings to promote innovations in ...
- Small aircraft take flight with CADon November 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm
decided the time was right for a fresh small aircraft design. He founded Pacific Aviation Composites to design, build, and market a production version of the kitplane, Lancair ES--a four-seat, ...
- Drone-based Aircraft Inspection Adds Dent Mapping Capabilityon November 3, 2020 at 1:36 pm
Since Dassault covers the full scope of design, manufacturing and maintenance of its military and commercial aircraft, Bequet notes that it was able to contribute expertise in terms of both ...
- Solvay renews materials deal with Boeingon November 3, 2020 at 6:21 am
"We are proud to continue supporting Boeing's programs with an extensive portfolio … critical to advancing innovation in aircraft design and manufacturing," said Carmelo Lo Faro, president of ...
- YF-118G: America Almost Had a Stealthy “Bird of Prey”on November 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Key point: Science fiction has long influence real-life. If futuristic weapons of war could be hard for an enemy to detect, why not also American warplanes? The National Museum of the United ...
via Bing News