For many years, a small company named Lam Aviation has showcased its variable-geometry wing design at EAA AirVenture. Company founder Lawrence Lam (who passed away in 2010) even designed and built his own low-wing, retractable gear, single-engine airplane–the Wanderer–to demonstrate the concept and flew that airplane to Oshkosh three times.
Aeronautics engineer Richard Whitcomb–whose research at NASA produced the area rule, supercritical wing and winglets–was posthumously inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame earlier this month. He died in 2008 at the age of 88. During Whitcomb’s almost four decades at NASA his “fundamental insight into aerodynamics and his practical solutions led to three of the most significant and practical contributions to aeronautics in the 20th century,” said NASA Langley Research Center director Lesa Roe.
While certainly some professional attendees at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow must know what a flexible rotary shaft is and what it can do, there’s a good chance that many, if not most, visitors do not. So, S.S. White Technologies, Inc. (SSWT), a first-time Farnborough exhibitor (Hall 4 Stand 4), is here to shed some light on its main product.
University of Cambridge Professor Holger Babinsky has created a one-minute video to dispel the myth that an airplane wing generates lift because the airflow moving over the upper surface has a longer distance to travel and “needs to go faster to have the same transit time as the air traveling along the lower, flat surface.” What actually causes lift, he said, “is introducing a shape into the airflow, which curves the streamlines and introduces pressure changes–lower pressure on the upper surface and higher pressure on the lower surface.
Richard Whitcomb, 88, the long-time NASA engineer des-cribed as the most significant aerodynamics contributor of the second half of the 20th century, died on October 13 in Newport News, Va. He was the recipient of the prestigious Collier Trophy for his discovery of the area rule fuselage, which gave fighter jets supersonic speed and greater range, and his supercritical wing and winglets are found on many of today’s aircraft designs.
GKN has selected Germany’s Brötje Aerospace to supply an advanced moving line assembly system that will mate wing trailing edge and main landing gear parts onto Airbus A350XWB all-composite rear wing spars.
Last month NASA made the first flight of an experimental “wing warping” Boeing F/A-18 flying testbed. In 1903 the Wright Brothers used wires connected to their control column to twist the wings of their Flyer, changing the airfoils’ shape to provide differential lift to control bank. NASA calls the 21st century version of wing warping the “active aeroelastic wing,” or AAW.
MITSUBISHI MU-2B-35, HILTON HEAD, S.C., AUG. 1, 2001–The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the improper maintenance/installation and inadequate inspection of the airplane’s flap torque-tube joints during routine maintenance by company maintenance personnel.
Conventional winglets have come to be widely used on airliners, whether in the form of the Airbus A320’s wingtip fence or the up-swept devices characteristic of the A330/340 and Boeing 747-400. And if winglets are good, shouldn’t bigger ones be even better? Wingmaker Airbus UK has been investigating their potential.