Yesterday, Airbus reached a key milestone along its ongoing innovation pathway by officially marking the opening of its Wing Technology Development Centre (WTDC). Situated at the manufacturer’s Filton site on the outskirts of Bristol, UK, this new research hub will play host to design and testing work for next-generation wings.
Open for business
The UK’s Minister of State at the Department for Business and Trade, Nusrat Ghani, was on site in Filton yesterday to officially open the facility. The research conducted in the facility will make use of demonstrators to expedite the research into, and production of, next-generation wings. Sue Partridge, Airbus’ Head of the Filton Site and the Global Head of the Wing Of Tomorrow program, explained that:
“The new Wing Technology Development Centre will help us to ground our research in practicality. (…) We’re leveraging industry partners and the very best digital tools and automation to identify potential technology bottlenecks that may slow us down in the future. The foundations we lay now will help us build better and faster when the time comes.”
Simple Flying visited Filton earlier this week – keep your eyes peeled for more Airbus content!
Partridge added that one of the most important parts of Airbus’ current research strategy is the manufacturer’s Wing of Tomorrow (WoT) program, which is Airbus’ largest UK research and technology project. This scheme sees the company test various new wing-based technologies for potential use on a commercial scale.
A special delivery
In order to test these technologies, Airbus has constructed wing demonstrators at its Welsh site in Broughton, Flintshire. When these demonstrators get to Filton, they face extensive development and testing to examine the viability of new technology, with a view to certain aspects being implemented into the wing design of next-generation Airbus planes. Reflecting on this, Partridge noted that:
“Last week, we achieved a critical milestone in the program when our second wing demonstrator was completed by the team in Broughton, Wales, and delivered to the WTDC. Here, it will be prepared for structural testing in our Aerospace Integrated Research and Technology Centre (AIRTeC).”
As pictured above, the demonstrators have to be transported by road when they make their journeys from Broughton down to Filton. Airbus ultimately plans to test three of these for different purposes. One has been earmarked for structural static testing, one fully-equipped example will test installation technologies, and the other (known as Run@rate) will look at industrial capability and scalability.
Wings will play a key role in aviation’s net-zero drive
Airbus, like many major players in the aviation game, is working towards helping the industry achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. For many companies, engine development and the role of alternative fuels are key aspects of this drive.
Airbus has identified wing design as an important component in this regard. The company notes that “making wings longer, leaner, and lighter is one of the biggest opportunities to improve fuel efficiency [and] reduce CO2 [emissions].” With the research conducted in the Wing of Tomorrow program, it will hope to do just that.
- Stock Code:
- Business Type:
- Date Founded:
- Guillaume Faury
- Headquarters Location:
- Toulouse, France
- Key Product Lines:
- Airbus A220, Airbus A320, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A350, Airbus A380