Innovative Reconfigurable Wing Designs for Future Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) Aircraft

Period of Performance: 07/23/2007 - 08/31/2008


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Nextgen Aeronautics
2780 Skypark Drive Suite 400
Torrance, CA 90505
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Purdue University
Young Hall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Institution POC


A promising application of a morphing wing whose geometry can be significantly changed is to reduce aircraft takeoff and landing speeds. Wing morphing can provide both an increase in wing area and change in wing camber, resulting in significantly reduced wing stall speed and hence landing and take-off distances. As the stall speed of the aircraft is decreased, a morphing-wing intra-theater transport aircraft could replace current helicopters. Such a morphing wing concept can be used to complement direct lift from additional thrust producing devices. NextGen Aeronautics, with support from Purdue University, plans to build on its prior and on-going work to develop and mature morphing wing concepts for application to future ESTOL/VTOL aircraft designs. The specific morphing structural concept being investigated is based on a single degree of freedom moving truss system with flexible skins to transfer air-loads. Phase 1 objectives include system-level trade studies, maturation of morphing wing design, and wind tunnel testing of small rigid models in a low-speed wind tunnel. A potential Phase 2 effort will address detailed design, fabrication and testing of an actuated morphing wing model, benefits and costs of a morphing aircraft for the target application, and development of technology transition/insertion plans.