Three years after the launch of the Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft (SFWA) project, a new unique wing demonstrator is presented for the first time.The new wing panel is one of several new features that will contribute substantially to reduce fuel consumption and emissions for aircraft in the future.
Saab plays an essential part in the European Clean Sky project lead by Airbus. Saab has developed the new Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft (SFWA) wing panel demonstrator, which is one step closer to achieve Clean Sky's vision; to radically minimize adverse environmental impact from aviation by 2020.
"Because of the SFWA design, maintenance of laminar air flow is possible, which decreases the aircrafts total drag by at least 5 %", said Henrik Aslund, Aerodynamicist.
The major challenge is to preserve laminar air flow and avoid turbulent flow. Air flow is extremely sensitive to small steps, gaps and waviness which disturbs the laminar flow and makes it turbulent, thus increasing the friction imposed on the wing. Saab, being an experienced composite design and manufacturer, has new unique techniques which make the wing surfaces smooth enough to maintain laminar flow.
"This new design which also includes an integrated Leading Edge will impact the ways of building the future aircraft wing, reducing the time for assembly and enhance the surface quality allowing the laminar flow to be stable", said Thomas Hellstrom, Project Manager Clean Sky.
As a result, SFWA helps reduce drag. This, in turn, reduces CO2 and NOx emissions as well as fuel consumption and noise caused by aircraft.
"This is the most complex and highly advanced composite article built by Saab. The panel has shown very good laminate and surface quality , which verifies that the design and tooling concept has proven to work", according to Jonas Bohlin, Sub-project Manager, Clean Sky SFWA, Saab.
A complete wing panel with a length of almost 10 meters will be built by Saab in Linkoping 2013, and flight tested by Airbus on an A340 aircraft in France during 2014. The SFWA panel demonstrator was shown for the first time during Clean Sky's annual meeting on March 17th in Linkoping, Sweden.