Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the unsteady aerodynamic characteristics in the deflection process of a morphing wing with flexible trailing edge, which is based on time-accurate solutions. The dynamic effect of deflection process on the aerodynamics of morphing wing was studied.Design/methodology/approach The computational fluid dynamic method and dynamic mesh combined with user-defined functions were used to simulate the continuous morphing of the flexible trailing edge. The steady aerodynamic characteristics of the morphing deflection and the conventional deflection were studied first. Then, the unsteady aerodynamic characteristics of the morphing wing were investigated as the trailing edge deflects at different rates.Findings The numerical results show that the transient lift coefficient in the deflection process is higher than that of the static case one in large angle of attack. The larger the deflection frequency is, the higher the transient lift coefficient will become. However, the situations are contrary in a small angle of attack. The periodic morphing of the trailing edge with small amplitude and high frequency can increase the lift coefficient after the stall angle.Practical implications The investigation can afford accurate aerodynamic information for the design of aircraft with the morphing wing technology, which has significant advantages in aerodynamic efficiency and control performance.Originality/value The dynamic effects of the deflection process of the morphing trailing edge on aerodynamics were studied. Furthermore, time-accurate solutions can fully explore the unsteady aerodynamics and pressure distribution of the morphing wing.