AlbatrossONE is a small-scale, remote-controlled aircraft demonstrator that puts semi-aeroelastic hinged wing-tips to the test. These freely flapping wing-tips—capable of reacting and flexing to wind gusts—have the potential to alleviate wing loads and avoid tip stall for improved aircraft performance.
AlbatrossONE takes inspiration from the flying technique of the albatross, a majestic seabird that can “lock” its wings at the shoulder to fly long distances with little fatigue. When faced with wind gusts, the albatross can “unlock” its shoulder to better navigate wind speeds. Semi-aeroelastic hinged wing-tips behave in an analogous way.
AlbatrossONE is the first aircraft demonstrator to trial in-flight, freely flapping wing-tips. By reacting and flexing to wind gusts, semi-aeroelastic hinged wing-tips could:
To date, the AlbatrossONE demonstrator has successfully completed a variety of innovative ground-based tests. These include the following:
The flight test campaign achieved the following:
Further tests are required to mature the technology at a larger scale.