Airbus A340 Blade ready for test flights

Airbus is about to begin testing a laminar flow wing set on original A343 MSN001, which has been specially modified for 150-hours of flight tests.

The wings have to be manufactured to an extreme smoothness and refinement, the aim being to reduce fuel consumption and increase a range.

Blade (Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe) has two outer wing sections manufactured by Saab and GKN Aerospace. The idea of laminar flow profiles is that they are shaped in such a way that the air flows parallel and uniformly flow over the top of the wings as long as possible.

Used in gliders it’s only now coming into the commercial aircraft sector.