Research work on hybrid laminar flow control (HLFC), a technology to reduce drag on the wing and empennage, is transitioning to manufacturing and real-life operations. The move by Europe’s Clean Sky 2 private-public partnership suggests the science is considered as mastered, thanks to earlier flight tests. The benefits are now proven, but engineers do not expect to see a HLFC-equipped wing on a commercial aircraft in service until the 2030s, at the earliest. A “super ...

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