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Conceptual design of a nonplanar wing airliner

Jaime Garcia-Benitez (Aeronaves y Vehículos Espaciales, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Cristina Cuerno-Rejado (Aeronaves y Vehículos Espaciales, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Rafael Gomez-Blanco (Motopropulsión y Termofluidodinámica, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 4 July 2016




This paper aims to compare three closed non-planar wing configurations with a reference conventional wing-plus-horizontal tail aircraft, considering structural aspects, weights and aerodynamic characteristics, as well as operational issues, such as cruise performance.


A vortex lattice code is used and coupled with an in-house code for structural beam calculation subroutine to evaluate the configurations as a function of the four main parameters identified in the study.


The study concludes that the non-planar wing configurations have better performances than a conventional aircraft. Moreover, the joined-wing configuration seems to be better than the others, including the box-wing configuration, achieving an increase of 17 per cent in the range for maximum payload compared to the reference aircraft and a 3 per cent reduction of maximum take-off weight.

Research limitations/implications

In the study, characteristic tools for a conceptual design are used, and, thus, absolute results should be considered with caution. Nonetheless, as all the cases are studied in the same way, there is a good precision in comparative or relative results.

Practical implications

The work shows that the non-planar wing configurations can be used as an alternative to the conventional aircraft to meet the objectives for the future of the aviation industry.

Social implications

Non-planar wing configurations are able to reduce fuel consumption. Their use could lead to reductions in pollutant emissions and the impact on the environment of commercial aviation.


This study considers aerodynamic and structural aspects at the same time, as well as several non-planar wing configurations, making possible to obtain a more realistic comparison between them.



Garcia-Benitez, J., Cuerno-Rejado, C. and Gomez-Blanco, R. (2016), "Conceptual design of a nonplanar wing airliner", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 88 No. 4, pp. 561-571.



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