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Twisteron- Reducing Drag in Aircraft

Utah State University is seeking a company interested in commercializing a technology that significantly reduces drag in aircraft, yielding much needed fuel savings. Total jet fuel costs rose 116% between 2004 and 2007 from $61 billion to $132 billion, overcoming labor as airlines’ highest expense in 2005. Over the period of one year (May 2007- 2008), jet fuel prices jumped 92%. A researcher at Utah State University has developed a novel solution, Twisteron, to reduce the amount of drag an airplane experiences during flight. Twisterons may reduce drag between 5% and 10%. Even a savings of 2.5% would result in $3.3 billion being saved in fuel costs, delivering a very timely innovation to an industry desperate for a solution.
Features and Benefits
  • Commercial passenger airliners
  • Commercial long range transports
  • High performance military aircraft
  • Long range military transports
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • Private aircraft
  • Watercraft
  • Reduced drag, leading to 5-10% potential savings
  • Improved flight characteristics for a wide range of flight conditions
  • Less expensive wing planform with minimal induced drag
  • Increase maneuverability for high performance aircraft
  • Lower aircraft cost of operation
Induced drag in aircraft is caused during the generation of lift by a wing. The amount of induced drag depends of the amount of lift being generated by the wing and on the shape and size of the wing. Induced drag results in diminished fuel economy as well as decreased airspeed and contributes to the stall characteristics of the wing. A new control surface, the twisteron, has been invented at Utah State University. The twisteron modifies the air flow over the wing to produce a reduction in induced drag without a reduction in lift. Proper variation of the airfoil with changing conditions such as air speed and lift maintains a reduction of induced drag over the entire range of flight conditions.
Development Stage
Prototype remote controlled aircraft has been built and flown. This prototype demonstrates improved performance due to reduced drag. One patent has issued and one is pending.
U.S. Patent No. 6,970,773
Patent Pending
Ray DeVito
Technology Commercialization Office
(435) 797-9615
Reference: W04018