Local

August 10, 2012

Transformed X-48C makes successful first flight

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas
The remotely operated X-48C Blended Wing Body aircraft lifts off Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on its first test flight Aug. 7. The sub-scale technology demonstrator, modified from the prior X-48B configuration, is entering a new flight test phase in a partnership between NASA and Boeing's Phantom Works research and technology division.

The remotely piloted X-48C aircraft successfully flew for the first time on Aug. 7, 2012, at Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Mojave Desert.

The aircraft, designed by the Boeing Co. and built by Cranfield Aerospace Ltd. of the United Kingdom, is flying again in partnership with NASA.

The new X-48C model, which was formerly the X-48B Blended Wing Body aircraft, was modified to evaluate the low-speed stability and control of a low-noise version of a notional, future Hybrid Wing Body (HWB) aircraft design. The HWB design stems from concept studies being conducted by NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation project of future potential aircraft designs 20 years from now.

“We are thrilled to get back in the air to start collecting data in this low-noise configuration,” said Heather Maliska, X-48C project manager at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. “Our dedicated team has worked hard to get the X-48C off the ground for this first flight and we are excited to learn about the stability and control characteristics of this low-noise configuration of the Blended Wing Body.”

Primary changes to the C-model from the B-model, which flew 92 flights at NASA Dryden between 2007 and 2010, were geared to transforming it to an airframe noise-shielding configuration. External modifications included relocating the wingtip winglets inboard next to the engines, effectively turning them into twin tails. The aft deck of the aircraft was also extended about two feet to the rear. Finally, the project team replaced the X-48B’s three 50-pound-thrust jet engines with two 89-pound-thrust engines.

Because handling qualities of the X-48C will be different than those of the X-48B, the project team developed flight control system software modifications, including flight control limiters to keep the airplane flying within a safe flight envelope. This will enable a stronger and safer prototype flight control system suitable for future full-scale commercial hybrid or blended wing aircraft.

“We are very pleased to begin flight tests of the X-48C,” said Mike Kisska, Boeing X-48C project manager. “Working with NASA, we’ve successfully passed another milestone in our work to explore and validate the aerodynamic characteristics and efficiencies of the blended wing body concept.”

Additionally, the upcoming flight experiments with the X-48C will help researchers further develop methods to validate the design’s aerodynamics and control laws, including a goal of reducing aerodynamic drag through engine yaw control tests.

During the planned second block of flight testing this fall, NASA will test engine yaw control software incorporated in the X-48C’s flight computer. This research will use asymmetric engine thrust to create yaw, or nose left or right movements, for trim and for relatively slow maneuvers.

NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate and Boeing are funding the X-48 technology demonstration research effort, which supports NASA’s goals of reduced fuel burn, emissions and noise.

The X-48C retains most dimensions of the B-model, with a wingspan just longer than 20 feet, and a weight of about 500 pounds. The aircraft has an estimated top speed of about 140 mph, and a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet.

The Air Force Research Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, is also a member of the project team.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

M4/M9 Firing Range closure The Edwards AFB Combat Arms Firing Range is closed for M4 and M9 firing until further notice. Any required firing for PCS or deployments will temporarily be accomplished at March ARB, Calif. To schedule training, contact the Combat Arms section at 661-277-2103. It is strongly recommended that all firing be scheduled as soon...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Bunch encourages one enterprise mindset at commanders call

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Maj. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., Air Force Test Center commander, discussed his six strategic goals for the test center at a commanders call Oct. 14 in the base theater. Maj. Gen. Arnie Bunch, A...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara

Edwards raises awareness of domestic violence, prevention

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara La Toyia Conway-Hampton, founder, CEO and director of the Two-Lifestyles Women Empowerment Program, speaks to Edwards personnel during an interactive workshop Oct. 9 at the Airman and Family R...
 

 
retire2

412th TW command chief retires

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara Chief Master Sgt. Brian Randolph stands next to a wooden tool box presented to him during his retirement ceremony Oct. 15 at Club Muroc. The tool box was presented by Brig. Gen. Michael Brewer...
 
 
Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Owen Kimbrel

VMX-22 receives first F-35B aircraft

An F-35B Lightning II with Marine Operational and Test Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 22 prepares to touch down aboard Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Oct. 9. This is the squadron’s first F-35 Lightning II.   Marine Operation...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

DEAM Team brings opportunity to Edwards

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Alfred Wilson, 412th Test Wing Equal Opportunity director, navigates a tank chair built from the Fregoso Outdoor Fourndation. For the adventure-seeking individual, the tank chair enables pe...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>