Boeing Phantom Works' subscale Blended Wing Body technology demonstration aircraft began its initial flight tests from NASAĆ­s 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

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