Airbus’ low-speed wind tunnel can reliably replicate conditions like take-off and landing  

Airbus has completed wind-tunnel testing of its eXtra Performance Wing project, launched last September, which takes inspiration from the wings of birds to improve aerodynamics and performance while reducing CO₂ emissions. “The scaled demonstrator will integrate and fly breakthrough wing technologies using a remote-controlled Cessna Citation VII business jet in representative flight conditions,” explained Oliver Family, Head of eXtra Performance Wing UK. 

The programme builds on another Airbus project, AlbatrossONE, which tested semi-aeroelastic hinged wings that (like the seabird) unlock during flight when experiencing wind gusts or turbulence. The whole testing process will also examine the associated onboard technologies, like gust sensors, pop-up spoilers and multifunctional trailing edges, that enable the active control of the wing. 

Testing is taking place at Airbus’ low-speed wind tunnel at Filton, near Bristol, which replicates conditions similar to aircraft take-off and landing speed but is also used by external organisations to test F1 cars, ship radar systems and Urban Air Mobility vehicles. 

Image: Airbus