NASA successfully tested a new technology in flight that enables aircraft to fold their wings to different angles while in the air. The recent flight series took place at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California and was part of the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project (SAW), a project that aims to validate the use of a cutting-edge, lightweight material to be able to fold the outer portions of aircraft wings and their control surfaces to optimal angles in flight. Continue reading for another video and more information.

“The SAW project intends to obtain a wide spectrum of aerodynamic benefits in flight by folding wings through the use of an innovative, lightweight material called shape memory alloy. This material is built into to an actuator on the aircraft, which plays a vital role for moving parts on the airplane, where it has the ability to fold the outer portion of an aircraft’s wings in flight without the strain of a heavy hydraulic system. Systems with this new technology may weigh up to 80 percent less than traditional systems,” reports NASA.