AFLoNext is a four year EC L2 project with the objective of proving and maturing highly promising flow control technologies for novel aircraft configurations to achieve a quantum leap in improving aircrafts performance and thus reducing the environmental footprint. The project consortium is composed by forty European partners from fifteen countries. The work has been broken down into seven work packages. The AFLoNext concept is based on six Technology Streams:
- Hybrid Laminar Flow technology applied on fin and wing for friction drag reduction.
- Flow control technologies applied on outer wing for performance increase.
- Technologies for local flow separation control applied in wing/pylon junction to improve the performance and loads situation mainly during take-off and landing.
- Technologies to control the flow conditions on wing trailing edges thereby improving the performance and loads situation in the whole operational domain.
- Technologies to mitigate airframe noise during landing generated on flap and undercarriage and through mutual interaction.
- Technologies to mitigate/control vibrations in the undercarriage area during take-off and landing.
The peculiarity of the AFLoNext proposal in terms of holistic technical approach and efficient use of resources becomes obvious through the joint use of a flight test aircraft as common test platform for the above mentioned technologies.
To improve aircraft performance locally applied active flow control technologies on wing and wing/pylon junction are qualified in wind tunnels or by means of lab-type demonstrators.
AFLoNext aims to prove the engineering feasibility of the HLFC technology for drag reduction on fin in flight test and on wing by means of large scale testing. The project shows also engineering feasibility for vibrations mitigation technologies for reduced aircraft weight and noise mitigation technologies.
One fundamental goal of AFLoNext is to further mature all above mentioned technologies and to show their potentials for advanced eco-efficient aircraft design:
- The technologies which have currently the lowest maturity status (TS2, TS4) amongst the others will be qualified under representative conditions in small to medium lab-type demonstrators.
- The technologies showing today a medium maturity (TS1 for wing, TS3) will be further matured and tested by means of large-scale testing, either in wind tunnels or ground-based demonstrators.
- The most mature technologies (TS1 for fin, TS5, TS6) will be flight tested and qualified towards engineering readiness. The latter are going to be embedded in the real aircraft structure facing operational conditions during the flight test phase according to the standard flight envelope of the aircraft.