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Browse All : Active Aeroelastic Wing (AAW)

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The Active Aeroelastic Wing project at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center is a two-phase flight research program that is investigating the potential of aerodynamically twisting flexible wings to improve roll maneuverability of high-performance aircraft at transonic and supersonic speeds. Traditional control surfaces such as ailerons and leading-edge flaps are used as active trim tabs to aerodynamically induce the twist. From flight test and simulation data, the program is developing structural modeling techniques and tools to help design lighter, more flexible high aspect-ratio wings for future high-performance aircraft, which could translate to more economical operation or greater payload capability. The program uses a modified F/A-18A Hornet as its testbed aircraft, with wings that were modified to the flexibility of the original pre-production F-18 wing. Other aircraft modifications include a new actuator to operate the outboard portion of a divided leading edge flap over a greater range and rate, and a research flight control system to host the aeroelastic wing control laws. AAW flight tests began in November, 2002 with checkout and parameter-identification flights. Based on data obtained during 50 research flights over a five-month period, new AAW flight control software was then developed over the following year. A second series of research flights began in late 2004 evaluated the AAW concept in a real-world flight environment, using the newly created control laws in the aircaft's research flight control computer. About 45 research missions were flown over a four-month period in the second phase of flight testing that concluded in March, 2005. Extensive analysis of data acquired during the project is continuing at NASA Dryden. The Active Aeroelastic Wing Program is jointly funded and managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, with Boeing's Phantom Works as prime contractor for wing modifications and flight control software development. The F/A-18A aircraft was provided by the Naval Aviation Systems Test Team and modified for its research role by NASA Dryden technicians.
Structural loads testin...
March 15, 2001
 
Description The Active Aeroelastic Wing project at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center is a two-phase flight research program that is investigating the potential of aerodynamically twisting flexible wings to improve roll maneuverability of high-performance aircraft at transonic and supersonic speeds. Traditional control surfaces such as ailerons and leading-edge flaps are used as active trim tabs to aerodynamically induce the twist. From flight test and simulation data, the program is developing structural modeling techniques and tools to help design lighter, more flexible high aspect-ratio wings for future high-performance aircraft, which could translate to more economical operation or greater payload capability. The program uses a modified F/A-18A Hornet as its testbed aircraft, with wings that were modified to the flexibility of the original pre-production F-18 wing. Other aircraft modifications include a new actuator to operate the outboard portion of a divided leading edge flap over a greater range and rate, and a research flight control system to host the aeroelastic wing control laws. AAW flight tests began in November, 2002 with checkout and parameter-identification flights. Based on data obtained during 50 research flights over a five-month period, new AAW flight control software was then developed over the following year. A second series of research flights began in late 2004 evaluated the AAW concept in a real-world flight environment, using the newly created control laws in the aircaft's research flight control computer. About 45 research missions were flown over a four-month period in the second phase of flight testing that concluded in March, 2005. Extensive analysis of data acquired during the project is continuing at NASA Dryden. The Active Aeroelastic Wing Program is jointly funded and managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, with Boeing's Phantom Works as prime contractor for wing modifications and flight control software development. The F/A-18A aircraft was provided by the Naval Aviation Systems Test Team and modified for its research role by NASA Dryden technicians.
NASA aircraft technicia...
March 21, 2002
 
This modified F/A-18A i...
This modified F/A-18A s...
October 24, 2001
 
This modified F/A-18A w...
October 24, 2001
 
NASA aircraft technicia...
March 21, 2002
 
The modified F/A-18 being flown in the joint NASA/Air Force Active Aeroelastic Wing research program shows off its colors during its first checkout flight from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.
The modified F/A-18 bei...
November 15, 2002
 
Description The modified F/A-18 being flown in the joint NASA/Air Force Active Aeroelastic Wing research program shows off its colors during its first checkout flight from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.
NASA 853, a modified fo...
NASA 853, a modified fo...
February 7, 2003
 
NASA Dryden technicians...
The Active Aeroelastic ...
August 22, 2002
 
A thin rod is all that ...
A thin rod is all that ...
August 22, 2002
 
How differential deflection of the inboard and outboard leading-edge flaps affected the handling qualities of this modified F/A-18A was evaluated during the first check flight in the Active Aeroelastic Wing program at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.
How differential deflec...
November 15, 2002
 
Description How differential deflection of the inboard and outboard leading-edge flaps affected the handling qualities of this modified F/A-18A was evaluated during the first check flight in the Active Aeroelastic Wing program at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.
The upper wing surfaces...
The upper wing surfaces...
August 22, 2002
 
Active Aeroelastic Wing...
With landing gear and f...
February 7, 2003
 
NASA's Active Aeroelast...
NASA's Active Aeroelast...
February 7, 2003
 
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