Experimental Flying Wing

Future aircraft fuel efficiency could be dramatically increased thanks to ideas validated with increasingly complex subscale, experimental, remotely piloted aircraft at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.


(Flying Wing-Shaped Experimental Airplane)

Flights are scheduled to resume this summer on the flying wing-shaped Primary Research Aerodynamic Design to Lower Drag, or Prandtl-D No.3. The project features a new wing design method and a twist. If the concept continues to prove its value, it could forward NASA's research goals to prove technologies leading to significant fuel economy and emissions reduction.

Through a series of remotely controlled-subscale Prandtl-D models in 2013, 2014 and 2015, several with sensors that validated aerodynamic design merits and control expectations of the concept, Bowers, colleagues and students recorded more than three hours of flight data. That research confirms that the bell-shaped spanloading method generates proverse yaw. Proverse yaw is thrust, rather than drag, at the wingtips and makes the aircraft's tail unnecessary because of the design and not because of the need for electronic controls. The result is greater efficiency and the potential to reimagine airplane design.

Science fiction fans may recall tthe Flying Wing from Triplanetary, the 1934 novel by 'Doc' Smith. the Flying Wing was also able to fly to near-space.

Via NASA.

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