Saturday, April 13, 2013

Boeing's next-gen experimental X-48C makes final flight

The X-48C in its first flight in August 2012 (Credit: NASA/Carla Thomas )

It has been reported by C|net that the distinctively shaped experimental aircraft by Boeing made the last of 30 flights in an eight-month program as backers Boeing and NASA sought to show how well a "blended wing body" aircraft can perform.

The X-48C program is tied to NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aircraft project, which is geared toward developing futuristic airplanes that burn less fuel, spew fewer emissions, and make less noise.

The Boeing-designed X-48C has a radically different look than that of conventional aircraft. Where a big 747 or a little Cessna has the shape of a plus sign when viewed from above or below, with a wings sticking out as separate entities from a long, slender fuselage, the X-48C is essentially a seamless triangle in which there is no separation between wings and fuselage.

There's no tail structure, either. Hence the term "blended wing."

The scale model X-48C at rest on the ground (Credit: NASA/Carla Thomas )

In the 30 flights since last August, the turbojet-powered, remotely piloted X-48C generally flew for about 30 minutes at a time, going as fast as 140 mph and flying as high as 10,000 feet or so, Boeing said. The scale model aircraft, build by Cranfield Aerospace, has a wingspan of a little more than than 20 feet and weighs about 500 pounds.

via C|net
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