0 min left

Airbus Reveals Plans For Folding Wings

European aerospace giant Airbus has filed to patent protect designs for a folding wingtip that will allow tomorrow’s aircraft to have longer wingspans without having to redesign today’s airports.

In December of last year, Boeing unveiled ambitious plans for a reimagined 777-X class of aircraft. Included among the revolutionary design features are specs that call for folding wingtips as a way to increase the potential wingspan of next generation aircraft without making the current generation of airports obsolete. Not to be outdone, Boeing’s European rival Airbus has made a recent bid to patent a folding wing design of its own.

U.K. patent application number GB2524827, filed earlier this month, seeks to protect the invention of “a passenger aircraft with a downward-foldable wingtip device.” The device Airbus is looking to patent seems to rely more on aerodynamic forces rather than mechanical means to cause the wingtips to unfold in flight and return to a folded position on the ground.

Much like Boeing’s plans, Airbus says folding wingtips will become more and more of a necessity if larger aircraft with greater wingspans wish to use airports around the world which are often not equipped to accommodate planes requiring increased clearance.

“There is a trend towards increasing large passenger aircraft for which it is desirable to have correspondingly large wing spans,” according to the Airbus filing. “However the maximum aircraft span is effectively limited by airport operating rules which govern various clearances required when maneuvering around the airport.”

An Airbus spokesperson cautioned that the recently published designs were one among several promising concepts for folding wings.

“As part of the usual technology research process, Airbus has been investigating various concepts enabling wing tips to fold/unfold,” the official explained to The North Wales Daily Post. “This is reflected in the publication of several Airbus patents on the topic, aiming at protecting the possibility to develop and implement one or several of these concepts on future Airbus products, would it be needed.”

[Photo: U.K. Patent Office]

Comments are Closed.
jtet October 30, 2015

Wow, World War II technology is patentable. Presumably the details of how to make the wing fold are what is patentable, not the general idea. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding_wing