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X-29 Essay, Research Paper

I have chosen to do my book report on the book ?The Grumman X-29?, by Steve Pace, for a couple of reasons. I?ve seen the X-29 in flight at an air show and was mystified by its wing design. I asked myself how could something like that fly at all? This book shed some light on the mysteries of how the X-29 flies and performs. I am going to tell you a little about the book and the X-29, so sit back relax and enjoy the fruits of my reading labor.

The X-29 is a single-engine aircraft 48.1 feet long. Its forward-swept wing has a span of 27.2 feet. Each X-29 was powered by a General Electric F404-GE-400 engine producing 16,000 pounds of thrust. Empty weight was 13,600 pounds, while takeoff weight was 17,600 pounds. The wing substructure and the basic airframe itself are aluminum and titanium. Wing trailing edge actuators controlling camber are mounted externally in streamlined fairings because of the thinness of the supercritical airfoil. The aircraft had a maximum operating altitude of 50,000 feet, a maximum speed of Mach 1.6, and a flight endurance time of approximately one hour.

Overall, VFC, like the forward-swept wings, showed promise for the future of aircraft design. The X-29 did not demonstrate the overall reduction in aerodynamic drag that earlier studies had suggested, but this discovery should not be interpreted to mean that a more optimized design with forward-swept wings could not yield a reduction in drag. Overall, the X-29 program demonstrated several new technologies as well as new uses of proven technologies. These included: aero elastic tailoring to control structural divergence; use of a relatively large, close-coupled canard for longitudinal control; control of an aircraft with extreme instability while still providing good handling qualities; use of three-surface longitudinal control; use of a double-hinged trailing-edge flap at supersonic speeds; control effectiveness at high angle of attack; vortex control; and military utility of the overall design.

The book was overall very informative in the sense that all terms and ideas were explained clearly and simply in order to communicate to the general public better versus someone who is educated in the aeronautics field. I highly recommend this book to someone looking for a little overall knowledge of the X-29, but if you are looking for in-depth report and analysis you should look elsewhere.

Picture courtesy of NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Document number: FS-98-04-008 DFRC

Responsible NASA Official: Jenny Baer-Riedhart

http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/PAO/PAIS/HTML/FS-008-DFRC.html


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