Why do the wings of X Wing fighters move
Why do X-Wings change the wing configuration?
I see some suggestions for improving maneuverability. Well ... it can't be good to apply real science to Star Wars. Get ready to fall asleep:
Aerodynamically, changing the configuration would have a negligible impact on maneuverability or could make the X-Wing LESS maneuverable when flying in an atmosphere. In scientific terms, maneuverability is the opposite of stability; When an aircraft is more stable, it is less maneuverable and vice versa.
So let's look at the TOP wings first. If we look at the design of most real-world private and commercial aircraft, the wings are constructed at a slight upward angle - called a "dieder" - when viewed from the front. This is what contributes most to stability on an aircraft's roll axis, as the inward slope of the lift vector of each wing tends to roll the aircraft back to a wing height.
Next, look at the lower wings. Since someone mentioned the Harrier earlier, we use the following: The Harrier's wings are built with a sharp downward angle - or "anhedral". This makes the aircraft extremely manoeuvrable, which implies an enormous loss of stability due to the outward inclination of the lift vectors.
The result seems to be an equal and opposite effect on maneuverability: The Dieder upper wings negate the effect of the anhedral lower wings, so that we have an unchanged situation.
BUT - without jumping too far down another aerodynamic rabbit hole - adding another wing plane adds a complication that biplanes suffer from in the real world, where the upper wing tends to undermine the lift of the lower wing, which in THIS case results in a net increase in stability - in other words a net decrease in maneuverability.
Ergo, changing the wing configuration under the shackles of real science has at best no and at worst negative effects on the maneuverability of the X-wing. It's best to just drink the Koolaid.
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