NASA

August 2, 2013

X-56A technology demonstrator achieves first flight

The X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed takes off on its inaugural flight July 26 at Edwards AFB, Calif. The unmanned aircraft is designed to study active aeroelastic control technologies such as active flutter suppression and gust load alleviation.

The Air Force Research Laboratory, in conjunction with Lockheed Martin and NASA, recently took a major step in the development of active aircraft control technologies with the first flight on July 26 of the X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed flight demonstrator, at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

The X-56A is an innovative, modular, unmanned flight research vehicle that will allow investigation of active aeroelastic control technologies such as active flutter suppression and gust load alleviation.

Flutter is a potentially catastrophic instability that can occur when unsteady aerodynamic forces acting on an aircraft structure couple with its natural vibration modes. This is the same basic phenomenon that caused the 1940 collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The X-56A is designed to exhibit multiple rigid body and aeroelastic instabilities within its flight envelope, which will be actively managed by its flight control system.

During this first flight, the X-56A flew at low altitude for 14 minutes while crews evaluated the aircraft’s handling qualities at 70 knots and collected airspeed calibration data using GPS methods. Handling qualities were also evaluated at 60 knots upon landing approach. The flight was completed successfully, with the aircraft behaving as predicted.

The X-56A demonstrator is designed to allow the testing of a wide range of advanced aerodynamic concepts and technologies. It is powered by twin JetCat P400 turbojets, has a 28-foot wing span, weighs 480 pounds, and is designed and constructed for easy wing replacement. The research to be conducted with the X-56A is critical for the successful development of future slender, lightweight, high-aspect-ratio wing designs that could be used by energy-efficient transport and various unmanned aircraft.

The X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed comes in on final approach to landing July 26 at Edwards AFB, Calif. Powered by twin JetCat P400 turbojets, the X-56A has a 28-foot wing span and weighs 480 pounds

Following Air Force flight testing, the X-56A will be used by the Fixed Wing Project of NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program for their continuing research into lightweight structures and advanced technologies for future low-emissions transport aircraft.

 




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


 
 

 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- Less than one percent of today’s U.S. population has ever served in the military, and that one percent has carried the weight of America’s longest military engagement. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a recent book that “for too long too many of us have paid scant attention to the commitment of the brave few...
 
 

News Briefs May 29, 2015

SAPR annual training The next SAPR annual training class, “Respect the Red Line,” is 2 p.m., June 1 at 2.p.m. at the base theater. This training is mandatory for all active duty personnel and DOD civilians. Plan ono arriving early as everyone must sign-in to get credit. Unit training managers will be responsible for tracking...
 
 
base-lab1

For good measure, base precision lab passes biannual evaluation

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Maj. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., Air Force Test Center commander, presents the biannual Air Force Metrology and Calibration Laboratory Evaluation certificate to Daniel Tibayan, Test Measurement ...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Chad Bellay

F-16 test pilots hit the ‘road’ to help train USAFE pilots

Lockheed Martin photograph by Chad Bellay An F-16 from the 416th Flight Test Squadron parked at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., during a Red Flag exercise in 2012. Two F-16 test pilots from the 416th Flight Test Squadron recently ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

YF-22A brings in $25,000 for museum move

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Bechtel Corporation presented a check for $25,000 to the Flight Test Historical Foundation at the Air Force Flight Test Museum May 21 to sponsor the YF-22A. (Left to right) Dr. David Smith,...
 
 
historian1

Edwards historian awarded for study of deployed flight test

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Dr. Stephanie Smith received the Robert F. Futrell Award for Excellence in historical publications for her special study, “Deployed Flight Test of the Iraqi Air Force Comp Air 7SLX (C...
 




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>