Project Description

Blended Wing Body Aircraft
01.08.09
 
Blended Wing Body aircraft in flight over California desert(NASA Photo by Carla Thomas) Dryden and The Boeing Co. are expanding the flight envelope for the X-48B blended wing body research aircraft.

Flight tests with the 500-pound, remotely piloted test vehicle are now in a block 4 phase involving parameter identification and maneuvers to research the limits of the engine in stall situations..

X-48B flight-testing is taking place at Dryden with center staff providing critical support to a Boeing-led project team that also includes the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, and Cranfield Aerospace Ltd., of Bedford, England..

The X-48B first flew on July 20, 2007. Thirty-seven flights have been tallied to date in the four blocks of research. Project officials said the aircraft has performed well and flight data has been consistent with wind-tunnel data attained with the first of the two blended wing body research vehicles. The second vehicle is currently being flown for project work, although the first remains available if needed..

NASA's participation in the blended wing body research effort is focused on fundamental, advanced flight dynamics and structural design concepts within the Subsonic Fixed Wing project, part of the Fundamental Aeronautics program managed through NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate..

Potential benefits of the aircraft include increased volume for carrying capacity, efficient aerodynamics for reduced fuel burn and possibly significant reductions in noise due to propulsion integration options..