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

Balatti, D., Haddad Khodaparast, H., Friswell, M. I. , Manolesos, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-5506-6061 & Amoozgar, M. (2022). The effect of folding wingtips on the worst-case gust loads of a simplified aircraft model. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 236(2), pp. 219-237. doi: 10.1177/09544100211010915


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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publisher Keywords: Aeroelasticity, gust load alleviation, folding wingtip, passive control
Subjects: T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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