X-48B flight-test progress overview

Tim Risch, Gary Cosentino, Christopher D. Regan, Michael Kisska, Norman Princen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

62 Scopus citations


The results of a series of 39 flight tests of the X-48B Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) performed at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center from July 2007 through December 2008 are reported here. The goal of these tests is to evaluate the aerodynamic and controls and dynamics performance of the subscale LSV aircraft, eventually leading to the development of a control system for a full-scale vehicle. The X-48B LSV is an 8.5%-scale aircraft of a potential, full-scale Blended Wing Body (BWB) type aircraft and is flown remotely from a ground control station using a computerized flight control system located onboard the aircraft. The flight tests were the first two phases of a planned three-phase research program aimed at ascertaining the flying characteristics of this type of aircraft. The two test phases reported here are: 1) envelope expansion, during which the basic flying characteristics of the airplane were examined, and 2) parameter identification, stalls, and engine-out testing, during which further information on the aircraft performance was obtained and the airplane was tested to the limits of controlled flight. The third phase, departure limiter assaults, has yet to be performed. Flight tests in two different wing leading edge configurations ("slats extended" and "slats retracted") as well as three weight and three center of gravity positions were conducted during each phase. Data gathered in the test program included measured airplane performance parameters such as speed, acceleration, and control surface deflections along with qualitative flying evaluations obtained from pilot and crew observations. Flight tests performed to-date indicate the aircraft exhibits good handling qualities and performance, consistent with pre-flight simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781563479694
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

Name47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition


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