FILTON, UK — European airframer Airbus has finished wind-tunnel testing of its biomimetic-inspired eXtra Performance Wing demonstrator to accelerate the usage of new technologies that will reduce the carbon footprint of the civil aviation industry.

Airbus launched "The eXtra Performance Wing Project" in Sept. 2021. The manufacturer inspired the design of the wing from nature to enhance the aerodynamic structure and the performance of the future commercial planes to achieve the net-zero emission goal of the civil aviation industry.

The scaled demonstrator will integrate and fly breakthrough wing technologies using a remote-controlled Cessna Citation VII business jet platform in representative flight conditions, 

Oliver Family, head of eXtra Performance Wing UK, said.

The partly 3D-printed wind-tunnel model —expertly built by the aerodynamics team at Airbus’ low-speed, wind-tunnel facility in Bristol — is a scaled-down version of the Cessna jet, incorporating the lightweight, long-span design of the eXtra Performance Wing that will provide the emissions benefits we are striving for,

he added.

The eXtra Performance Wing Project, which was initially introduced at a smaller scale through another Airbus project named AlbatrossONE, is testing semi-aeroelastic hinged wings like the seabird. It is unlocked during the flight when experiencing wind gusts or turbulence to examine onboard technologies, like gust sensors, pop-up spoilers, and multifunctional trailing edges.

Located at Filton near Bristol, the low-speed wind tunnel of the aircraft manufacturer reproduces conditions similar to the takeoff and landing wind speeds. It is also used by external organizations testing F1 cars, ship radar systems, and urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles as well as more conventional aircraft.