The effect of folding wingtips on the worst-case gust loads of a simplified aircraft model

Davide Balatti, Hamed Haddad Khodaparast, Michael I. Friswell, Marinos Manolesos, Mohammadreza Amoozgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, the development of lighter and more efficient transport aircraft has led to an increased focus on gust load alleviation. A recent strategy is based on the use of folding wingtip devices that increase the aspect ratio and therefore improve the aircraft performance. Moreover, numerical studies have suggested such a folding wingtip solution may incorporate spring devices in order to provide additional gust load alleviation ability in flight. It has been shown that wingtip mass, stiffness connection and hinge orientation are key parameters to avoid flutter and achieve load alleviation during gusts. The objective of this work is to show the effects of aeroelastic hinged wingtip on the problem of worst-case gust prediction and the parameterization and optimization of such a model for this particular problem, that is, worst-case gust load prediction. In this article, a simplified aeroelastic model of full symmetric aircraft with rigid movable wingtips is developed. The effects of hinge position, orientation and spring stiffness are considered in order to evaluate the performance of this technique for gust load alleviation. In addition, the longitudinal flight dynamics of a rigid aircraft with an elastic wing and folding wingtips is studied. Multi-objective optimizations are performed using a genetic algorithm to exploit the optimal combinations of the wingtip parameters that minimize the gust response for the whole flight envelope while keeping flutter speed within the safety margin. Two strategies to increase flutter speed based on the modification of the wingtip parameters are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-237
Number of pages19
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date22 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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