The Boeing X-48B Blended Wing Body (BWB) completed first flight on 21 July at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
The Boeing and NASA-sponsored X-48B programme aims to demonstrate a new airframe that is designed to carry more passengers and cargo at more efficient rates than standard configurations.
The 21-foot wingspan prototype will be joined by a second aircraft in flight tests to determined the flying-wing design’s low-speed handling qualities.
Boeing believes the X-48B is about 8-10 years away from becoming a production programme, but is already pursuing partnerships with military and commercial customers.
The FlightGlobal.com blog "The Woracle", edited by Graham Warwick, speculates that the X-48B first flight may pave the way for the next Boeing airliner programme.