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Grumman X-29A

DAYTON, Ohio -- Grumman X-29A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Grumman X-29A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Grumman X-29A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Grumman X-29A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The X-29A test pilots would place a either stuffed toy "ALF" (from the television show) or a stuffed red bull (such as the one in the photo) in the seat of their respective aircraft when not airborne. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The X-29A test pilots would place a either stuffed toy "ALF" (from the television show) or a stuffed red bull (such as the one in the photo) in the seat of their respective aircraft when not airborne. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Restoration staff move the Grumman X-29A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Grumman X-29A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Grumman X-29A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Grumman X-29A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Grumman X-29A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Grumman X-29A into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Grumman X-29A in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Grumman X-29A in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Grumman X-29A. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Grumman X-29A. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The second X-29A performing a test flight in 1991. The smoke helps show the airflow over the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The second X-29A performing a test flight in 1991. The smoke helps show the airflow over the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo)


In 1985 the X-29A on display became the world's first forward-swept aircraft to fly supersonically. The X-29A program explored cutting-edge aircraft design features, including forward-swept wings, advanced materials, a forward-mounted elevator (or canard) and a computerized flight control system. It was managed by the U.S. Air Force and funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the USAF and NASA.

During World War II, Germany and the United States experimented with forward-swept wings, but both encountered problems with the metal wings bending dangerously at higher speeds. As stronger composite materials became available in the 1970s, however, wing structures could be both lightweight and very rigid.

The museum’s aircraft is the first of two X-29As built by Grumman, and it made its first flight in December 1984. The second X-29A first flew in 1989 and continued to perform test flights into the early 1990s.

After successfully completing the test program, the X-29A on display was retired to the museum in late 1994.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Engine:
General Electric F404 turbofan engine of 16,000 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 1,200 mph
Maximum endurance: 60 minutes
Service ceiling: 55,000 feet
Weight: 17,303 lbs. maximum

Click here to return to the Research & Development Gallery.

 

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