The purpose of this research is to explore innovative aircraft concepts that use flexible wings and distributed propulsion to significantly reduce fuel burn of future transport aircraft by exploiting multidisciplinary interactions.
Multidisciplinary analysis and trajectory optimization are used to evaluate the mission performance benefits of flexible wing distributed propulsion aircraft concepts.
The flexible wing distributed propulsion aircraft concept was shown to achieve a 4 per cent improvement in L/D over a mission profile consisting of a minimum fuel climb, minimum fuel cruise and continuous descent.
The technologies being investigated may lead to mission adaptive aircraft that can minimize drag, and thus fuel burn, throughout the flight envelope.
The aircraft concepts being explored seek to create synergistic interactions between disciplines for reducing fuel burn while capitalizing on the potential benefits of lightweight, flexible wing structures and distributed propulsion.
© Published 2014. This article is a US government work and is in the public domain in the USA. However, certain topic areas being addressed in this public release are patent pending and are being expanded upon by multiple authors not listed.
The authors would like to thank the NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) for funding this work. The authors also would like to thank the primary authors Nhan Nguyen and Eric Ting as well as members of the team who contributed to the work presented, namely, those from NASA Ames, NASA Glenn, and Boeing Research and Technology, St. Louis.
Reynolds, K., Nguyen, N., Ting, E. and Urnes Sr, J. (2014), "Wing shaping concepts using distributed propulsion", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 86 No. 6, pp. 478-482. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-04-2014-0050Download as .RIS
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