Airbus Engineers Mimic Seabirds to Fight Airplane Turbulence
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Airbus is looking to a long-distance flyer in nature to help combat the effects of turbulence and wind gusts in a new airplane. The company has unveiled AlbatrossOne, which has a wing-tip design based on the body of the albatross.
According to Airbus engineer Tom Wilson, the company “drew inspiration from nature — the albatross marine bird locks its wings at the shoulder for long-distance soaring but unlocks them when wind gusts occur or maneuvering is required.” The functional model is based on the manufacturer’s A321.
Per a company release, the Airbus demonstrator is the first aircraft to go to inflight trials. Its wing tips, remote-controlled during the testing, can flap freely to relieve the effects of wind gusts and turbulence. Eventually, the aircraft is expected to react autonomously during inflight turbulence and lessen the load on the wing at its base, thus reducing the need for heavily reinforced wing boxes.
The net benefits should include happier passengers, fewer seatbelt signs, a safer environment for the crew to serve food and beverages and a boost in fuel efficiency.
Initial testing of AlbatrossOne has examined the demonstrator’s stability with the wing tips locked and completely unlocked, while future tests will combine the two modes, allowing the wing tips to unlock during flight and studying how well the transition goes.
The industry at large is embracing the challenge to combat turbulence and reduce fuel burn. Earlier in 2019, rival Boeing introduced a revised Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) concept to achieve similar results. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines has devised its own iPad app for pilots, allowing them to forecast and dodge expected turbulence, while saving fuel all the while.
Boeing is also testing a folding wing tip design, this one to help the aircraft fit into smaller spaces.
Featured image courtesy of Airbus.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.