Boeing X-48B Remote Controlled Blended Wing Body Aircraft
The first test flight of the Boeing X-48B Unmanned Blended Wing Body Aircraft
Boeing have been hot press this year following the highly anticipated 787 Dreamliner, despite the huge launch campaign and all the time spent perfecting the Dreamliner, Boeing have still found time to develop and begin testing the new X-48B an unmanned Blended Wing Body Aircraft or BWB.
Boeing X-48B UAV In Flight
The first ever flight took off on the 20th July from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. This X-48B is only the second prototype that Boeing has built and the only one tested in flight; it was created to test the “structural, aerodynamic and operational efficiencies of the BWB concept,” according to Bob Liebeck, the BWB program manager, especially during take off and landing.
Boeing X48B UAV
BWB planes don’t have a tail, the wing itself blends into the fuselage, giving more lift and less drag than a traditional circular fuselage. This means 30% less fuel consumption than a normal plane and also less noise, both inside and on the ground.
The composite-skinned aircraft uses three turbojet engines that enable it to fly up to 10,000 feet and 120 knots in its low-speed configuration. This X-48B prototype is “remotely piloted from a ground control station in which the pilot uses conventional aircraft controls and instrumentation while looking at a monitor fed by a forward-looking camera on the aircraft”
Boeing X48B Blended Wing UAV
Boeing Phantom Works advanced research and development unit has partnered with NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to explore and confirm the structural, aerodynamic and operational advantages of the blended wing body design. The Air Force has shown much interest in the multi-role, long-range, high-capacity aircraft and say that a Military BWB Aircraft could possibly be in service within 10 to 15 years, if testing and program funding go well.
Testing Boeings X-48B Blended Wing UAV
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