X-48B Exceeds Record for X-Plane Flights

17th March 2009

The X-48B has now exceeded the record for the number of flights performed by an X-Plane. The X-Planes are a series of experimental United States aircraft (and some rockets) used for testing of new technologies and usually kept highly secret during development. The first of these, the Bell X-1, became well-known as the first plane to break the sound barrier which it achieved in 1947, piloted by General Chuck Yeager.

The previous record of 40 flights was held by the X-45 aircraft. At the time of writing, the X-48B LSV2 air vehicle is being prepared for its 50th flight with a continuing flight test programme in planning. The second airframe, LSV1, has now also completed 250 hours of full-scale wind tunnel tests.

Boeing Phantom Works' subscale Blended Wing Body technology demonstration aircraft began its initial flight tests from NASA�s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California in the summer of 2007. The 8.5% dynamically scaled unmanned aircraft, designated the X-48B by the Air Force, is designed to mimic the aerodynamic and flight characteristics of a full-scale large cargo transport aircraft with the same blended wing body shape. The initial flight tests focused on evaluation of the X-48B's low-speed flight characteristics and handling qualities. About 35 flights were originally planned to gather data in these low-speed flight regimes.

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