Airbus has been granted a patent for a flap support system for aircraft wings. The system includes a load-bearing fairing shell, a reinforcement structure, and a hinge device for connecting the flap. The fairing shell has attachment devices for securing it to the main wing, while the reinforcement structure provides additional support. The hinge device allows for an articulated connection to the flap. GlobalData’s report on Airbus gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on Airbus, photovoltaic drones was a key innovation area identified from patents. Airbus's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Flap support for wing of an aircraft

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Airbus SE

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11685511B2) describes a flap support for supporting a wing flap on an aircraft. The flap support includes a load-bearing fairing shell with a U-shaped cross-section and a reinforcement structure mounted inside the shell. The fairing shell has a front attachment device for connecting to the main wing and an aft attachment device for further attachment to the main wing. At the aft end of the reinforcement structure, there is a hinge device for forming an articulated connection to the flap. The reinforcement structure includes side sections and an additional structure bridge connecting them. The hinge device is part of the reinforcement structure.

The fairing shell of the flap support has a streamlined outer surface and is made of fiber-reinforced plastic material. On the other hand, the reinforcement structure is made of metal material. The side sections of the reinforcement structure have front portions mounted to the side wall portions of the fairing shell and aft portions that are decoupled from the side wall portions. The additional structure bridge connects the aft portions of the side sections. The hinge device is provided at the aft portions of the side sections, with the first and second aft portions having hinge lugs.

The aft attachment device of the flap support can include attachment lugs or barrel nut mounts formed on the side sections. The front attachment device includes ribs formed in the fairing shell, which have aligned holes for receiving bolts mounted to the main wing.

The patent also describes a wing for an aircraft that includes the main wing, a flap, and the flap support as described above. The front and aft attachment devices of the flap support are attached to the main wing, and the flap is pivotally connected to the hinge device. Finally, the patent covers an aircraft that includes the wing described earlier.

Overall, this patent presents a flap support design for aircraft wings that includes a load-bearing fairing shell and a reinforcement structure. The design allows for a streamlined outer surface, with the fairing shell made of fiber-reinforced plastic material and the reinforcement structure made of metal material. The flap support is configured for attachment to the main wing and forms an articulated connection to the flap through a hinge device. This design can be incorporated into aircraft wings to enhance their performance and functionality.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.