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AFRL Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE)

bobbymike

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Look Ma, No Flaps

—Arie Church 11/25/2014

A NASA Gulfstream III recently flew for the first time with an experimental singe-piece pliable wing designed to reduce the weight and inefficiency of traditional control surfaces, according to a release. The Air Force Research Lab is testing the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge concept in a series of flights in collaboration with NASA's Armstrong Research Center at Edwards AFB, Calif. "We have progressed from an innovative idea and matured the concept … to a final demonstration that should prove to the aerospace industry that this technology is ready to dramatically improve aircraft efficiency," said Pete Flick, AFRL's program manager. ACTE trailing edges could potentially be retrofit to existing aircraft or used to make future aircraft lighter, quieter, and more efficient, saving "hundreds of millions of dollars annually in fuel costs," according to Thomas Rigney, NASA's project manager. The ACTE-equipped Gulfstream's maiden flight from Edwards was on Nov. 6. The Air Force and NASA experimented with a similar Mission Adaptive Wing concept using a specially modified F-111 in the 1980s.
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Picture at the link: http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2014/November%202014/November%2025%202014/Look-Ma,-No-Flaps.aspx
 

Stargazer2006

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Interesting, but what is the connection with the HiMAT and/or AFTI programs, which are over 30 years old?
This would get much more exposure if posted separately in the Aerospace section I think.
 

bobbymike

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Skyblazer said:
Interesting, but what is the connection with the HiMAT and/or AFTI programs, which are over 30 years old?
This would get much more exposure if posted separately in the Aerospace section I think.

I searched 'mission adaptive wing' and this came up, thought it would fit in the tread but further reading I agree with you, not so much. Please feel free to remove.
 

Stargazer2006

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royabulgaf said:
So we return to wing warping?

Precisely! That's very cleverly put and incredibly accurate a comment, because to me that's what it is, going full circle back from 2014 back to 1914...
 

Jemiba

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Skyblazer said:
... going full circle back from 2014 back to 1914...

Is there any mentioned, what's below that skin ? Is it really warping, that means bending
the structure and relying on its fexibility ? Or is it shaping the profile via a number of hinges
and smoothing the surface with a flexible cover, without gaps and visible hinge lines ?
 

TomS

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I believe it's truly flexible. FlexSys describes the technology as "replacing multi-body rigid linkages with compliant flexible elements within a single component." The company talks about being able to apply spanwise twist to the control surface, which they could not do if this was just an elastic surface over a hinged flap.
 

weirc

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This might show whats under the surface.


Colin
 

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Whisperstream

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Many of the specific details regarding materials and design configuration are proprietary to FlexSys, as well as being subject to U.S. export control laws (International Traffic in Arms regulations, or ITAR). Program officials are prohibited from discussing them in even the most innocuously generic terms. The Air Force would prefer that outsiders believe it's all the result of magic or some exotic new technology. Personally, I think they should claim that it's based on alien tech from Roswell. Unfortunately, too many people would probably believe that.
 
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