Experimental Aircraft Gets Airborne

The X-56A Multi Utility Technology Testbed airplane flew for the first time last month, announced Air Force Research Lab officials. The flight of the Lockheed Martin-built remotely piloted aircraft took place on July 26 at Edwards AFB, Calif., according to the lab’s release. “The flight was completed successfully, with the aircraft behaving as predicted,” states the release. The X-56A is designed to allow researchers to study active aeroelastic control technologies, such as active flutter suppression and gust-load alleviation. Insights gained will help engineers in the development of lightweight, highly efficient wing designs for future transport aircraft and RPAs. The X-56A’s wingspan is 28 feet, and the aircraft weighs 480 pounds, states the July 31 release. After the Air Force finishes its flight testing, NASA will use the X-56 for continuing research with lightweight structures and technologies for low-emission transport aircraft, states the release. (Wright-Patterson report by Holly Jordan)