According to NASA experts, in the near future, modern wide-winged airliners will be replaced by new-generation aircraft with long, thin and flexible wings. This will significantly reduce aerodynamic drag and fuel consumption.
However, such wings have a serious problem - the so-called flutter, a process of self-excited vibrations that bend and twist the plane of the wing or main rotor, which ultimately leads to their destruction.
The Scunk Works, Lockheed Martin's covert development division, is working with NASA to design a prototype for a future aircraft with flexible, flutter-resistant wings. The program has been in operation since 2012, the result of which has already become the X-56A drone, equipped with two P400 turbojet engines. Its weight is 281 kg, wingspan is 8.5 meters.
The first tests were fatal: one of the two Kh-56A crashed on the first test in November 2015. The developers took into account their mistakes and the following flights were more successful. The landing gear, braking system and flight controller were also improved. The preliminary result was summed up by the project manager Cheng Moua:
“The problems encountered during takeoff and landing have now been resolved. We want to show that it is possible to create a wing that will allow you to control the oscillations that occur during flight. "