Image: Multi-utility technology testbed aircraft on the runway

Image: Multi-utility technology testbed aircraft on the runway
Credit: NASA/Ken Ulbrich

The X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed (MUTT) is greeted on an Edwards Air Force Base runway by a U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) team member.

NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center and the AFRL, along with participants from Langley Research Center and Glenn Research Center, and support from Lockheed Martin, are using the second X-56A (dubbed "Buckeye") to check out aircraft systems, evaluate handling qualities, characterize and expand the airplane's performance envelope, and verify pre-flight predictions regarding aircraft behavior. The 20-minute flight marked the beginning of a research effort designed to yield significant advances in aeroservoelastic technology using a low-cost, modular, remotely piloted aerial vehicle.


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Apr 17, 2015
The Air Force Flight Test Center was an exciting place to be in the days of the X-planes, the Blackbirds, the massive XB-70s which only the Blackbirds could keep up with, and the experimental VTOL and STOL aircraft, along with our rocket planes and unwinged Lifting Bodies. We had the X-15 and the F-1 rocket engine which took us to the Moon.

But those aircraft flew decades ago, and we still do not admit to having anything faster.

Apr 17, 2015
The X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed (MUTT) is not about speed, it is about testing different polymer materials for aeronautic use. They have developed anti-flutter technology that will permit materials to be used in construction that would otherwise fail under stress at certain speeds. This testbed helped them to do that.

Apr 17, 2015
The blended wing-body seems to be ubiquitous in smaller new craft. How soon, I wonder, to commercial?

BTW, much of the aircraft there was subsonic; the XV-5, the XC-142, the p.1127, lifting bodies, as well as the typical cargo and bomber aircraft.

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