Biomimicry – or biologically inspired engineering – is the study and imitation of nature’s best-kept secrets to help solve human challenges. Today, nature is providing Airbus with invaluable insight – from the flight secrets of birds to the movement of sharks – on how to make aircraft lighter and more fuel efficient.

Our biomimicry projects

AlbatrossONE

A revolutionary approach to aircraft wing design

This remote-controlled demonstrator aircraft features “semi-aeroelastic” hinged wingtips inspired by the albatross that can flex to wind gusts. The technique reduces drag and combats the effects of turbulence and wind gusts.

eXtra Performance Wing

This demonstrator project focused on accelerating and validating technologies that will improve and optimise wing aerodynamics and performance for any future aircraft. Its applications would be compatible with any propulsion solution and aircraft configuration and would reduce CO₂ emissions, contributing greatly to Airbus’ decarbonisation roadmap.

fello'fly

Wake-energy retrieval to boost environmental performance

This demonstrator project aims to prove the viability of “wake-energy retrieval” – a “V-shaped” flight technique used by migrating geese when flying across long distances – for commercial aircraft. This collaborative activity could produce fuel savings of between 5-10% per fello’fly trip.

28 February 2020 The new digital engineering revolution receives a kick-start
Bird of Prey

This theoretical design is a hybrid-electric, turbo-propeller aircraft for regional air transportation. It mimics the eagle’s wing and tail structure, and features individually controlled feathers that provide active flight control.

A330-900neo_RR_Sharklet
Sharklets

These vertical wing-tip extensions that resemble a shark’s dorsal fin significantly reduce the size of the wingtip vortex, thus reducing induced drag. Today, all members of the A320neo Family are fitted with sharklets as a standard.

Latest news

Innovation
Nature-inspired wing demonstrator completes wind-tunnel tests
Airbus has completed wind-tunnel testing of its eXtra Performance Wing demonstrator in its quest to quickly test and accelerate new technologies that will decarbonise the aviation industry.
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Innovation
Airbus and its partners demonstrate how sharing the skies can save airlines fuel and reduce CO2 emissions
Airbus has performed the first long-haul demonstration of formation flight in general air traffic (GAT) regulated transatlantic airspace with two A350 aircraft flying at three kilometers apart from Toulouse, France to Montreal, Canada. The aircraft were greeted at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. Over 6 tons of CO2 emissions were saved on the trip, confirming the potential for more than a 5% fuel saving on long-haul flights.
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Innovation
How a fello'fly flight will actually work
The Airbus fello’fly demonstrator project is putting the principles of wake-energy retrieval to the test as a way to reduce CO2 emissions—by between 3 and 4 million tons per year—on widebody operations. But flying two large passenger aircraft close together poses new operational challenges for the aviation ecosystem at large, requiring new procedures to be identified. Airbus has therefore signed agreements with two airline customers and three air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to tackle these challenges head on.
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