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NASA/Boeing X-36

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA/Boeing X-36 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA/Boeing X-36 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA/Boeing X-36 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA/Boeing X-36 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA/Boeing X-36 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA/Boeing X-36 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA/Boeing X-36 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA/Boeing X-36 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

NASA/Boeing X-36. (U.S. Air Force photo)

NASA/Boeing X-36. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The X-36 replaced the elevators, ailerons and rudders found on traditional aircraft with split ailerons and a thrust-vectoring nozzle for directional control. It also incorporated an advanced, digital fly-by-wire control system. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The X-36 replaced the elevators, ailerons and rudders found on traditional aircraft with split ailerons and a thrust-vectoring nozzle for directional control. It also incorporated an advanced, digital fly-by-wire control system. (U.S. Air Force photo)

In the mid-1990s, NASA and the Boeing (then McDonnell Douglas) “Phantom Works” built two unmanned X-36 Tailless Fighter Agility Research Aircraft to develop technology for a maneuverable, tailless fighter. The X-36s were about a quarter of the size of a potential future fighter.

Though two were built, only the museum’s X-36 actually flew. The first X-36 flight occurred in May 1997, and the flight test program met or exceeded all of the project’s goals -- a remarkable achievement.

The next year, the USAF’s Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) used the museum’s X-36 to test its RESTORE (Reconfigurable Control for Tailless Fighter Aircraft) software. AFRL developed this software to save a tailless fighter in case its control system was damaged or malfunctioned. In December 1998, the X-36 made two successful RESTORE flights.

The X-36 on display came to the museum in April 2003. The X-36 "cockpit" and forward fuselage areas were autographed by personnel associated with the program before Boeing donated the aircraft to the museum.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Engine:
Williams International F112 turbojet engine of about 700 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 234 mph
Highest flight: 20,200 feet
Gross weight: 1,245 lbs.

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