Boeing has begun flight testing its X-50A Dragonfly Canard Rotor Wing (CRW) concept demonstrator, completing the long-awaited first hover at the US Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona last week.

During the 80s flight the X-50A rose vertically to a height of about 3.7m (12ft), hovered and then landed vertically. The unmanned X-50A has a reaction-drive rotor that can be stopped in forward flight to act as a wing.

The Boeing Phantom Works and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency CRW programme aims to conduct 12 flight tests of the 660kg (1,460lb) demonstrator at increasing forward speeds, culminating in two flights during which the X-50A will convert from rotary-wing flight to fixed-wing flight. During these two flights, scheduled for the first quarter of next year, the rotor will be slowed, stopped and locked in place at 120kt (220km/h), after which the rotor will be re-activated for landing in helicopter mode.

Source: Flight International