After undergoing a major overhaul and upgrades, the Boeing / NASA X-48B Blended Wing Body research aircraft resumed flight tests with a checkout flight Sept. 21 from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The subscale, manta ray-shaped, remotely piloted airplane, also called a hybrid wing body, is a tool of NASA's new Environmentally Responsible Aviation, or ERA, project. ERA aims to develop the technology needed to create quieter, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient airplanes for the future.
After completion of its first phase of flight testing, the airplane was disassembled for a complete inspection and refurbishment. This new series of flight tests will focus on additional parameter identification investigations following installation and checkout of a new flight computer. The parameter identification work will evaluate the new computer’s control of the aircraft’s flight control surfaces and the airplane's performance.
In addition to NASA and Boeing, the X-48B team includes Cranfield Aerospace Ltd. in the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.
The team completed the 80th and last flight of the project's first phase on March 19, 2010, almost three years after the X-48B's first flight on July 20, 2007.
NASA Dryden public affairs