Boeing Phantom Works' subscale Blended Wing Body technology demonstration aircraft began its initial flight tests from NASAís Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. in the summer of 2007. The 8.5 percent dynamically scaled unmanned aircraft, designated the X-48B by the Air Force, is designed to mimic the aerodynamic characteristics of a full-scale large cargo transport aircraft with the same blended wing body shape. The initial flight tests focused on evaluation of the X-48B's low-speed flight characteristics and handling qualities. About 25 flights were planned to gather data in these low-speed flight regimes. Based on the results of the initial flight test series, a second set of flight tests was planned to test the aircraft's low-noise and handling characteristics at transonic speeds.
July 20, 2007
NASA / Carla Thomas