While there have been a lot of huge changes across the aerospace industry since the Orvilles’ first flight in 1903, the basic idea behind fixed-wing aircraft has remained largely the same. But now NASA and MIT, both engineering giants in their own right, have teamed up to create a radical and revolutionary new Morphing Wing that could change air travel as we know it forever.
Assembled from hundreds of tiny, identical pieces, the Morphing Wing isn’t fixed. In fact, it is actually designed to change shape mid-flight to control the trajectory of aircraft in a much more efficient manner than existing flapped fixed wings. And while this new technology could make ailerons virtually obsolete, its interwoven lattice structure also has the potential to make aircraft based on the Morphing Wing a good deal lighter, more efficient, and easier to repair. Having been tested in NASA’s wind tunnel, the concept seems very promising, but it remains to be seen if the two organizations will pursue a working prototype.