Numerical and experimental studies at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with Airbus, have considered the effect of floating folding wingtips on aircraft rolling behaviour.

The work has built upon previous investigations to demonstrate the benefits of “Semi-Aeroelastic Hinge” devices to enable reduced drag through increased aspect ratios whilst passively reducing the gust loads.

These tests have shown that the roll rate of high aspect ratio wing aircraft designs can be increased by employing such wingtips without the need for an increase in the control surface area.

Moreover, the roll-rate is shown to be similar to that of a wing without any extension, suggesting retro-fitting an aircraft with such a device may be possible.