On Thursday, 2 April 2009 Boeing Research & Technology’s subscale Blended Wing Body technology demonstration aircraft celebrated its 50th flight. This memorable and record breaking occasion was witnessed by NASA and Boeing management at the North base runway, Edwards Air Force Base in California at 08.35 hours. The piloting of the UAS was undertaken by Mike Sizoo, Boeing Test Pilot and the successful flight lasted a duration of 30 minutes.
The X-48B, vehicle 2, has unquestionably exceeded the record for the number of flights performed by an unmanned X-Plane, the previous record of 40 flights was held by one of the X-45A aircraft. This is an outstanding achievement and testament to the commitment and hard work of the team who have been involved in the project from Boeing, NASA and Cranfield Aerospace since its inception. 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.
Boeing Research & Technology’s subscale Blended Wing Body technology demonstration aircraft began its initial flight tests from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Centre, 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.