NASA Revolutionary Flexible Flap is Really Wright Brothers Wing Warp Redux

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ARTICLE: Pilots may use flexible flaps to control their planes in the future if research pans out

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The true genius of the Wright Brothers, the basis of their patent, was their invention of a system which controlled flight in three dimensions. The wing warping, shown in the above drawing, was their means of maneuvering their aircraft in roll. Glenn Hammond Curtiss substituted a flat panel, which was called an aileron, but his alternative to wing warping was found to have violated the Wright’s intellectual property.

NASA’s Dryden Research Center and FlexSys Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich. have announced a “revolutionary” flap, shown in the above picture. FlexSys claims that it an Aviation First. The flap “continuous bendable surfaces” made of advanced materials. NASA will test to see if it provides additional control. The author of the linked article points out that birds wings bend.

Guess what, 111 years ago the same observation is attributed to the Wright Brothers’ invention! Revolutionary? A first? An aviation historian (and pretty good baseball manager), Yogi Berra, would say “It’s déjà vu all over again

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