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Students at the Technion conducted the first test flight in an aircraft that was fully printed with a XNUMXD printer

The flying platform will make it possible to make many improvements and thus accelerate the development of aircraft with elastic wings

Students in the Faculty of Aeronautics and Space Engineering at the Technion conducted a first test flight in the A3TB - a platform for test flights, which will be used for the development of future aircraft with special reference to the flexibility of the structure. The flight was conducted about two months after the project won the Shlomit Galia student project competition, which was held as part of the 60th annual Israeli Conference on Aerospace Sciences.

The development of modern aircraft poses many challenges, including the economic-environmental challenge of reducing fuel consumption and reducing pollution. One of the solutions for this is a light aircraft with a large wingspan, but this solution is not simple to implement. The extension of the wings leads to an increase in their flexibility, which manifests itself in structural vibrations and sometimes even in a loss of stability.

The development of engineering solutions, especially control measures, requires complex multidisciplinary R&D that combines the development of mathematical and numerical models, laboratory experimental simulations, as well as test flights which are essential for proving performance. In such flights, the possibility of a crash of the test platform must be taken into account.

This is the background for the need for cheap experimental platforms, whose "sacrifice" for the purpose of the experiment does not involve high costs. The A3TB platform, which enables an experimental aircraft to be designed and produced at high speed and at low cost, is therefore a breakthrough in the development of a flexible-wing platform based on XNUMXD printing.

For the past two years, a group of students in the Faculty of Aeronautics and Space Engineering has been working on the development of such an aeroelastic demonstrator - a light aircraft whose wings are very long and flexible, and flying it in practice allows testing its performance as well as developing dedicated control systems that improve its stability.

The A3TB [Active Aeroelastic Aircraft Testbed] platform, which weighs 10 kilograms and has a wingspan of three meters, was designed by two groups of students in the faculty under the guidance of Dr. Lucy Adrei Azoulai and Prof. Daniela Reva and in collaboration with MPAAT - the Administration for Research and Development of Military and Technological Infrastructure in the Ministry the security. In a first flight test that took place recently, proof of the platform's ability to fly was presented. This flight is an important milestone in the ongoing development process of the platform.

According to Prof. Daniela Reva from the Faculty of Aeronautics and Space Engineering, "The successful flight marks the beginning of a broad program of research, experimentation and development. The concept we developed, and the possibility to quickly print the entire tool on a 3D printer, gives us considerable freedom in the design of the plane and a huge price advantage compared to planes made of composite materials or metals. Since this is an experimental aircraft, which is expected to crash at some point, these characteristics allow many improvements to be made without the need for an unusual investment. Now the group is working on developing an automatic control system, which will be assembled in the coming months on the second generation of the tool, A2TB-GXNUMX, and we hope to report more interesting results in the near future."

Prof. Daniela Reva completed her entire degree at the Faculty of Aeronautics and Space Engineering at the Technion, and is a renowned expert in the study of aeroelastic phenomena. The development of the tool will be a demonstration that will be used by Prof. Reva to continue and expand the research activity.

Dr. Lucy Adraei-Azolai, a graduate (Bachelor's and Master's degrees) from the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion and a lecturer from abroad at the Faculty of Aeronautics and Space Engineering, has been engaged in applied R&D in industry for more than 20 years in various fields: XNUMXD printing, civil and military aviation , strength of buildings and advanced technologies.

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