NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center
There are many aircraft out there that soar the skies but there are even more that never make it past the drawing board. Engineers work tirelessly to create designs to revolutionize flight now everything gets off the page and into the air. Fortunately, there is one jet that has been snubbed over the years and is finally getting the chance to show what it has got.
The Lockheed-Martin X-56 was developed by Skunk Works back in 2013 and an unmanned High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft. It flew around 20 test runs at Edwards Air Force Base and was handed over to NASA. The testing with NASA resulted in one of the X-56 units crashing after experiencing turbulence and was put on the shelf. A few years have passed and the teams at NASA have made some adjustments to account for the flutter experienced by the wings to ensure they hold up under pressure.
“Part of this program includes the X-56A Multi-utility Technology Test bed (MUTT), an innovative modular unmanned air vehicle designed to test active flutter suppression and gust load alleviation.”
The X-56 is back in action with flying colors, you can see it in action in this clip from NASA.