Airplane Arrives at Boeing Site for X-66A Modification in NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator Project

Boeing has transported an MD-90 airplane to its designated site for extensive modification as part of NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project. The purpose of the modification is to test the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) configuration, a significant step towards achieving the U.S. goal of net-zero aviation greenhouse gas emissions.


Boeing, along with NASA officials and community leaders, gathered at the company’s facility to mark this crucial milestone in the development of the experimental X-66A aircraft. Photos were released, showcasing the journey of the jet from Victorville, Calif., to Palmdale.


The X-66A represents NASA’s inaugural experimental aircraft designed to contribute to the ambitious net-zero aviation emissions target. The modification process will commence shortly, followed by both ground and flight testing expected to commence in 2028.


Boeing’s Chief Technology Officer, Todd Citron, highlighted the significance of this achievement, stating, “This marks an important step in the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, advances Boeing’s commitment to sustainability, and brings us closer to testing and validating the TTBW design.”


The TTBW design features ultrathin wings supported by struts with larger spans and higher-aspect ratios. These design elements, along with other anticipated technological advancements, could potentially lead to substantial reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, possibly up to 30%. Boeing and NASA’s collaboration on this concept has spanned over a decade through the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) Program.


Ed Waggoner, Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, expressed NASA’s enthusiasm for the X-66A Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, describing its contributions as vital to accelerating aviation towards achieving the 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emission objective.


Congressman Mike Garcia (CA-27) emphasized the significance of the Aerospace Valley as a hub of aerospace innovation, underscoring Palmdale’s ideal suitability due to its skilled workforce and infrastructure for this crucial project.



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