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.
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
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