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Future planes might have mechanical "feathers"


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#1
funkervogt

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A team of aerospace engineers built a small plane whose wings are covered in hundreds of small, movable flaps. The flaps, which are inspired by bird feathers, can pop up and down to collectively perform the same steering functions as the large rudders and ailerons found on conventional planes. In theory, a plane with mechanical feathers would be more efficient and more maneuverable. 

https://phys.org/new...plane-wing.html

 

My concern about this is that it would probably cost more to build the planes and to maintain them. If you only have about 30 control surfaces (which is what a Boeing 737 has), preflight checks are easy to do, but if you have 300 control surfaces, the odds of at least one malfunctioning at any given time are much higher. I'd imagine that smaller control surfaces would also be flimsier and would break more often than bigger control surfaces. 

 

I'm not writing off the idea of mechanical feathers, but I doubt it will be commercially viable for many decades (if ever). 



#2
Alislaws

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They could be viable for drones, then we could see them in action in the near future?

 

Maybe freight drones flying over sparsely populated areas could be viable with this tech?

 

Might be fun if some of the people making wing suits, or that Jet wing thing get hold of the tech though! Those people don't seem to have any concept of "health and safety" anyway. 



#3
funkervogt

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The F-8 Crusader had wings that could "pivot" seven degrees, helping it to take off and land. Birds can do the same thing. 

https://www.thoughtc...rusader-2361082

 

The F-14 could also independently retract or extent its wings to maneuver, just like birds. 

http://www.grummanpa...o-3-buno-157982

 

A future plane built with advanced materials would benefit from not only having "feathers," but also from having the ability to flex its wings in the same ways birds can. 






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