Airbus Industrie has begun flight testing its A320 development aircraft, equipped with a newly developed vertical tailfin, which incorporates laminar flow technology to reduce air friction and significantly reduce fuel consumption. The leading edge of the tailfin is covered with thousands of tiny perforations, and contains an air pump that draws air through the pinprick-size holes as the aircraft flies. "The theory behind this technology is well known, but this is the first time that it has ever been put to the test aboard an Airbus aircraft," says Alain Garcia, senior vice-president of engineering. He adds that, if the results of this test are satisfactory, Airbus could integrate the design into future products.

Source: Flight International