The X-48C Prototype
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|Courtesy of NASA Langley/Sean Smith|
A three percent scale model of a blended wing body aircraft design recently was tested in NASA Langley’s 12-Foot Low-Speed Tunnel. During the testing, engineers sought to clarify results from a previous test of the X-48C prototype in the Langley Full Scale Tunnel.
The blended wing body is a hybrid shape that resembles a flying wing, but also incorporates features from conventional transport aircraft. This combination offers several advantages over conventional tube-and wing airframes. The BWB airframe merges efficient, high-lift wings with a wide, airfoil-shaped body, allowing the entire aircraft to generate lift and minimize drag. This shape helps to increase fuel economy and creates larger payload (cargo or passenger) areas in the center body portion of the aircraft. NASA and its industry partners have been investigating the blended wing aircraft concept for potential use as a future air transport for both civilian and military applications.