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NASA Dryden Past Projects: X-29 Forward Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator
August 26, 2009

X-29 in flightX-29 in banked flight.

Grumman Aircraft Corporation built two X-29's. Phase 1 of the project, using aircraft No. 1, was flown from December 1984 to 1988 and investigated handling qualities, performance, and systems integration. Phase 2 of the X-29 program involved aircraft No. 2 and studied the high angle of attack characteristics and military utility of the X-29.

The X-29, featuring one of the most unusual aircraft designs in aviation history, was flown by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, as a technology demonstrator to investigate a host of advanced concepts and technologies. The program provided a unique engineering database that could be used in the design and development of future aircraft.

The concepts and technologies the fighter-size X-29 explored were the use of advanced composites in aircraft construction; variable camber wing surfaces; the unique forward-swept-wing and its thin supercritical airfoil; strake flaps; and a computerized fly-by-wire flight control system that overcomes the aircraft's instability. They were flight tested at Dryden from 1984 to 1992 in a joint NASA, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and U.S. Air Force Program, and made a total of 374 combined flights.

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