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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:39 PM

“Hybrid Wing” Uses Half the Fuel of a Standard Airplane - MIT Technology Review

[font size="3"]NASA has demonstrated a manufacturing breakthrough that will allow hybrid wing aircraft to be scaled up. [/font]


Aerospace engineers have long known that ditching a conventional tubular fuselage in favor of a manta-ray-like “hybrid wing” shape could dramatically reduce fuel consumption. A team at NASA has now demonstrated a manufacturing method that promises to make the design practical.

Combined with an extremely efficient type of engine, called an ultra-high bypass ratio engine, the hybrid wing design could use half as much fuel as conventional aircraft. Although it may take 20 years for the technology to come to market, the manufacturing method developed at NASA could help improve conventional commercial aircraft within the next eight to 10 years, estimates Fay Collier, a NASA program manager.

The manufacturing technique lowers the weight of structural components of an aircraft by 25 percent, which could significantly reduce fuel consumption. The advances are the culmination of a three-year, $300 million effort by NASA and partners including Pratt & Whitney and Boeing.

There are two key challenges with the flying wing design. One is how to control such a plane at low speeds. NASA previously addressed this by building a six-meter-wide remote-controlled test aircraft (the X-48B) to demonstrate ways to control hybrid wings. Based on those tests and wind tunnel tests, NASA built a larger remote-controlled aircraft that started test flights last year.

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Reply “Hybrid Wing” Uses Half the Fuel of a Standard Airplane - MIT Technology Review (Original post)
Bill USA Jan 2013 OP
longship Jan 2013 #1

Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:29 PM

1. X-48B in flight (pic)

Granted, this is a scaled mock-up, but you get the idea.

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