As you might gather from Can planes benefit from Mitsubishi's Air Lubrication System? I'm interested in what possibilities there are for radically different approaches to aircraft body surfaces.
Aircraft body surfaces appear to be as smooth as possible, but not all things that fly well are smooth:
- golf balls are dimpled (see the very interesting discussion of Is a golf ball surface a good idea for wings or fuselage?)
- birds are feathered
- sharks have placoid scales (yes, I am aware that sharks don't actually fly through the air...)
Has scientific or industry research indicated useful possibilities in new surfaces for aircraft body skins - or maybe alternatives to skins altogether?