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Friday, 27 July 2007 20:20

Boeing tests its flying wing X-48B aircraft

On July 20, 2007, the X-48B flew for the first time, a 31-minute flight to an altitude of 7,500 feet (2,285 meters). The blended wing-body construction, what is shaped like a manta ray, has better aerodynamics, stronger structure, and better fuel efficiency that do traditional jets.        

The X-48B is a 500-pound, 21-foot-wide scaled down version of the yet-to-be built full-sized 1 million-pound (500-ton), 240-foot-wide aircraft. In the past, such airplanes have been difficult to design and build. However, today’s high-tech composite materials and advanced flight systems make such airplanes much more desirable to build.

When eventually built, they will be able to hold larger numbers of passengers and/or greater amounts of cargo than current airplanes

According to Boeing officials, the first X-48B to be put into production will probably become a military transport plane. Estimates are that the first one will roll out of the hanger in the 2015 to 2020 time frame.

The unmanned flight test was performed at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The project is a joint effort between the Boeing Company, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), based in Washington, D.C.

The Boeing Phantom Works and the NASA Langley Research Center, located in Hamptom Virgina, are performing the research for the X-48B. Three small turbojet engines power the experimental plane, which has a maximum altitude of about 10,000 feet. So far, two experimental X-48B airplanes have been built.

Image of the flight is found at: https://www.space.com/imageoftheday/image_of_day_070727.html.
Image of the X-48B on the ground is located at: https://www.abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=3419507.

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