Will Formation flight be the future of civil aviation ? Well, that's a question the WakeOpColl team want to answer, and it looks like they are surfing the same wave as two famous aircraft manufacturers! Indeed, Airbus and Boeing have recently published 2 press releases where they explained their next objectives regarding formation flight (Press releases: Airbus or Boeing ). And Denis-Gabriel and Ignace, two WakeOpColl members, work on the same topics... Exciting !
But why formation flight ? Well ... because aircraft can also "surf wakes" ! Indeed, because of the 2 wake vortices produces by a leading aircraft, any follower can benefit from free lift, drag reduction and therefore fuel saving. However, it becomes important to precisely maintain the optimal relative position between the follower and the leader's wake vortices, as the drag reduction achieved is very sensitive to the positioning. And that's where Denis-Gabriel and Ignace's research comes into play: using specific data assimilation tools, high-fidelity simulation tools and well chosen measurements, they want the follower to estimate the position of the leader's wake vortices in real time !
Will you be afraid flying in the wake of a leader ?... We won't !