Wing twisting: the Wright stuff
NASA, the U.S. Air Force and Boeing proved Friday, Nov. 15, that old aerospace ideas never die—they just wait for the right technology to come along.
A high-tech variation of wing-twisting— one of the earliest forms of flight control the Wright brothers pioneered a century ago— took its first outing aboard a highly modified flight-research F/A-18 Hornet. The aircraft took off from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., at 2:05 p.m. During the one-hourand- eight-minute flight, NASA research pilot Dana Purifoy put the modified Navy fighter plane through an extensive functional checkout of aircraft flight controls, avionics systems, engine operation and newly installed test instrumentation. He also began evaluation of its aerodynamic flutter limits and the differential movement of the inboard and outboard leading edge flaps that AAW research uses.
Second UCAV joints flight test program
Now there are two flying Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs).
Six months after the first X-45A technology demonstrator flew for the first time (on May 22), the second one successfully completed its first flight Nov. 22 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Vehicle No. 2 flew for approximately 30 minutes and reached an air speed of 195 knots and an altitude of 7,500 feet.
''We're very excited about the second X-45A demonstration vehicle joining the flight test program,'' said Darryl Davis, Boeing UCAV program manager. ''Operating two aircraft in flight test will validate the test points more rapidly.''
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