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An adaptive compliant wing is a wing which is flexible enough for aspects of its shape to be changed in flight.[1][2]

An adaptive compliant wing designed by FlexSys Inc. features a variable-camber trailing edge which can be deflected up to ±10°, thus acting like a flap-equipped wing, but without the individual segments and gaps typical in a flap system. The wing itself can be twisted up to 1° per foot of span. The wing's shape can be changed at a rate of 30° per second, which is ideal for gust load alleviation. The development of the adaptive compliant wing is being sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Initially, the wing was tested in a wind tunnel, and then a 50-inch (1.3 m) section of wing was flight tested on board the Scaled Composites White Knight research aircraft in a seven-flight, 20-hour program operated from the Mojave Spaceport.[3] Control methods are proposed.[4]

Adaptive compliant wings are also investigated at ETH Zurich in the frame of the Smart airfoil project.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "FlexSys Inc.: Aerospace". Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  2. ^ Kota, Sridhar; Osborn, Russell; Ervin, Gregory; Maric, Dragan; Flick, Peter; Paul, Donald. "Mission Adaptive Compliant Wing – Design, Fabrication and Flight Test" (PDF). Ann Arbor, MI; Dayton, OH, U.S.A.: FlexSys Inc., Air Force Research Laboratory. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  3. ^ Scott, William B. (27 November 2006), "Morphing Wings", Aviation Week & Space Technology
  4. ^ US 4899284, Lewis, George E.; Robert E. Thomasson & David W. Nelson, "Wing lift/drag optimizing system", published 6 February 1990 
  5. ^ Smart airfoil project "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-03-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ ETH compliant wing