Airbus flight testing blended wing demonstrator aircraft


Airbus has revealed the “blended wing body” scale model technological demonstrator it has been flight testing since last June at the Singapore Air Show 2020 this week.

The MAVERIC (Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls) is 2m long and 3.2m wide, with a design that is intended to reduce fuel consumption by up-to 20% compared to current single-aisle aircraft.

MAVERIC, which is being developed by a ten-person team in Toulouse, has been in development since early 2017. The demonstrator  has undergone wind tunnel testing at Airbus’ site in Filton, UK and made its maiden test flight in June 2019.

The flight-test campaign is continuing until July this year. Engineers have looked closely at challenges around performance at low-speeds and stall dynamics. Future testing will analyse aspects such as MAVERIC’s handling qualities, flight control, multi-objective control surfaces and modularity, said Airbus.

Jean-Brice Dumont, executive vice president of Engineering at Airbus said, “We are leveraging emerging technologies to pioneer the future of flight. By testing disruptive aircraft configurations, Airbus is able to evaluate their potential as viable future products.”

“Although there is no specific time line for entry-into-service, this technological demonstrator could be instrumental in bringing about change in commercial aircraft architectures for an environmentally sustainable future for the aviation industry.”

MAVERIC is part of the “AirbusUpNext” research program, which also includes other projects such as the E-Fan X hybrid-electric propulsion project, the fello’fly v-shaped “formation” flight R&D program and ATTOL (Autonomous Taxi Take-Off & Landing) project.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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