NASA and Boeing experimental aircraft receives X-Plane designation from USAF


A sustainable single-aisle aircraft demonstrator developed by NASA and Boeing has received the designation X-66A from the US Air Force. 

“At NASA, our eyes are not just focused on stars but also fixated on the sky. The Sustainable Flight Demonstrator builds on NASA’s world-leading efforts in aeronautics as well climate,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The X-66A will help shape the future of aviation, a new era where aircraft are greener, cleaner, and quieter, and create new possibilities for the flying public and American industry alike.” 

The Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) demonstrator aircraft, part of NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) program, features extra-long, thin wings braced by diagonal struts.  

The wing design “could eventually accommodate advanced propulsion systems that are limited by a lack of underwing space in today’s low-wing airplane configurations,” Boeing explained during a presentation of the aircraft. The concept, combined with future engines, could result in up to 30% less fuel consumption compared with contemporary single-aisle aircraft. 

X-planes are US-made experimental aircraft used to test pioneering designs and technologies with the potential for adoption in future aircraft models. The series started with the Bell X-1, in which Chuck Yeager became the first pilot to cross the sound barrier in 1947. 

As noted by NASA, the X-66A’s designation marks the first X-plane solely dedicated to advancing the goal of net zero aviation emissions. 

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Clement Charpentreau
Editor-in-chief[br][br] Clement joined the AeroTime editorial team in 2018 after honing his journalism skills in newsrooms across France. Clement has a particular interest in the role of the aviation industry in international relations. He reports mainly on developments in defense and security technology, and aviation safety. Clement is based in Vilnius, Lithuania.
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