Aviation Partners’ (AP) Joe Clark announced a new disruptive technology at NBAA. AP is not known for doing announcements. So when they do, its best to pay attention.
The technology comes from Flexsys. Aviation Partners’ role is to take this to the market and, as Joe Clark says, “make money”.
The idea can be demonstrated in the following picture. Taking out the traditional flaps and replacing these with a new material that is flexible gives an entirely new look to the wing. Closing off the ends means up to 40% less noise.
This is what it looks like in-flight. When asked about impacts on the aircraft Joe Clark reminded us that winglets were good for 3-5%, the scimitar was good for another 1.5% and the flexible flap he expects to offer an additional 1.7% improved fuel burn. Together these technologies are potentially able to offer nearly 10% improved fuel burn. AP also spoke about using the flexible surfaces on winglets.
Joe Clark pointed out that the next challenge for their team is to develop actuators using either hydraulic or electricity, to be able to move the surfaces on aircraft.
Below is a Flexsys video that explains their technology. Note how the flap can be twisted. The idea here is to ensure the wing is tweaked to always approach the sweet spot for whatever speed is required. It looks to become a very disruptive technology.
To rephrase an old plymouth commercial – Suddenly its 1903 !
Closely related to wing warping, first used on the original Wright Flyer in 1903.