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GKN Aerospace delivers innovative Clean Sky wing structure

News International-French

11 Jan 2016

The company has delivered innovative wing components as part of a major research programme to test and measure the benefits of ‘natural laminar flow’ (NLF) designs during trials on the wing of a flight test aircraft.

The Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe (BLADE) project is part of the Clean Sky Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft (SWFA) programme, an extensive, 50% European Union-funded, multi-partner activity aimed at lowering fuel consumption and emissions by reducing aircraft drag.

GKN Aerospace has delivered the critical leading edge assemblies and upper covers that form part of the NLF wing section on the starboard wing of the Airbus A340 flight test aircraft. These innovative structures offer NLF levels of performance through the adoption, by GKN Aerospace, of a totally new design approach and the application of novel manufacturing technologies that deliver the ultra-high tolerances and surface finish required.

During flight tests, taking place in 2017, this wing section will be used to test the performance characteristics of NLF wing architecture, helping prove predicted economic and environmental benefits: An NLF wing is expected to reduce wing drag by 8% and improve fuel consumption by approaching 5%.

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