Boeing has been verifying aerodynamic advances to its C-17 military heavy-lifter using the National Research Council Canada (NRC) low-speed windtunnel to evaluate different wing flap configurations. The manufacturer is testing relatively small changes to the wing flaps designed to reduce the aircraft's take-off and landing distances.

Dr Steve Zan, director of the aerodynamics laboratory in NRC Aerospace explains that they have been running tests using a C-17 scale model in the 9 x 9m (29.5 x 29.5ft) windtunnel: "We accommodated a 4.8% ejector-powered model of the C-17 and collected a substantial amount of high lift aerodynamic data." Boeing use the data to verify that its proposed wing flap changes would deliver the desired improvements."

Meanwhile, the C-17 programme's future, recently threatened by the failure of the Obama administration to include procurement in the current defence budget, has been given at least a year's reprieve through a war supplemental request that has been cleared by both Congress and the Senate, and Boeing is working on a plan to reduce production to eight airframes a year without significantly affecting the unit cost.

Source: Flight Daily News