Boeing announced their new ‘dual-feather’ Advanced Technology winglet design for the B737 MAX a couple of months ago, but now they’re giving us a look behind the scenes are some of the development process. In particular the wind tunnel testing of a high-fidelity B737 MAX model in Boeing’s Transonic Wind Tunnel.
You might think that modern aircraft design is all CAD and computational fluid dynamics, but wind tunnel testing still plays a vital role in developing new designs. Data from tunnel testing helps validate the computational models, and it can uncover unexpected results. Computer simulations are only as good as the expectations that go into programming them. They’re constantly refined based on real world testing. More and more work is done in the virtual world of simulations, but nothing beats real world verification.