Cover photo credit: Airbus via Flight Global
Airbus intends to start flight-testing an A340 fitted with experimental laminar-flow wing sections, later this month.
This new research technology is opposed to hybrid laminar flow, which is artificially induced through hardware in the wings – on future aircraft.
According to flight global, “On the A340-300 – MSN 001, the first A340 to fly with laminar wing – Airbus replaced the entire wing section outside the outboard engines with a laminar-flow section that has a different geometry and, crucially, a shallower sweep, giving the aircraft a distinctive kinked-wing planform. The wingtips have been fitted with pods containing sensors, including video cameras. And the attachment structure to the A340’s existing wing has also been covered by fairings to accommodate further sensors and separate the air over the laminar-flow section from that across the conventional wing.”
The new wing section contains no fuel system, but is otherwise fully functional and includes the aircraft’s two ailerons on each side. The interior structure is metallic, while the upper wing surface – where laminar flow is to be achieved – is made from carbonfibre-reinforced plastic.
Different construction techniques were employed for the leading edge and upper wing skin. On the port wing, the leading edge is integrated with the upper wing surface in a single D-nose carbonfibre panel – which is equipped with internal attachment points to avoid any external fasteners from the leading edge to just forward of the ailerons.
On the starboard side, a metallic leading edge is joined with a carbonfibre upper wing surface.
The laminar-wing sections are not equipped with slats, and the slats on the remaining conventional wing have been deactivated. This will reduce the A340’s capability to operate at high pitch-up angles, and speeds for take-off and landing will be higher than usual, But this will pose no problem as the aircraft, which has a maximum take-off weight of 275t, will not weigh more than 150t for test flights.
To read full article, Ref: Flight Global