The future of sailplane construction and aerodynamics are being developed first for military purposes.
The next big thing in aerodynamics and aircraft design will be morphing sturctures and wings that can adapt to changing flight conditions. Adaptive structures as they are called have been in the works for a while. Modern swing wing jets could be said to have adaptive flight systems.
Things are heating up in the design world as new materials and composties are allowing designers to explore new ways of creating adaptive flight machines. The defense department's hunger for more sophisticated remotely piloted vehicles is driving much of this R&D though. (lets hope this trickles down to civilian uses quickly, us Americans are paying for it in a back door sort of way :- (
Imagine a wing whose thickness and camber curves can change with speed, reducing drag a ton. Imagine a clean wing with no ailerons or flaps, no hinge lines, gaps, or linkages to disrupt laminar flow. This type of wing is here, at least in the wind tunnel. Many companies are experimenting with flexible materials and bird-like articulations that allow the wing to change shape and control flight, much like birds do now. These wings will allow drones to maximize flight durations and increase maneuverability at any speed or weight.
I ran across these web sites which show how these new structures are going to revolutionize flight.
This link shows some trailing edge camber effects.
This link shows some leading edge camber effects which would be of great use to glider wings.
Another company is developing the materials that will make adaptive wings work.
Heres a link to an article about morphng structures:
This is exciting stuff indeed! When will our top end models have these technologies? Maybe 10 years. Our planes are good now, just imagine a flight adaptive wing with thousands of airfoil and camber combinations available for different flgiht regeims. 5 flights modes won't be enough!