Flaps are an essential part of an aircraft. They drive its maneuverability, helping it turn and control airspeed. It's impressive then that the "Demon," a British UAV, manages to break all the rules and forgo flaps altogether, getting clearance as the U.K.'s first "flapless" aircraft.
How does it do it? Instead of flaps, which change the shape of the wing so that the air flows around it differently, the Demon has a set of air jets all along the rims of its wings. An on-board computer handles which jets fire and when, and thus the Demon can adjust its direction.
Of course, the UAV benefits from being a small craft, with a wingspan of only eight feet and it weighs in at 200 pounds. Still, the Demon is a valuable study. The concepts driving it could lead to new construction techniques for aircraft, and maybe even lead to insanely maneuverable, small-sized UAVs.
See the Demon in action in the video below.