I always thought that the hipster tumblr quotes on photos were really funny so I decided to make fun of them with one of the most quoteable people, Miss Alyssa Edwards [Part 2] [ Hipster Jujubee quotes ]
NASA and Boeing teamed up to produce the X-48C, a subscale prototype that first flew in August 2012. Creating small flying models to test new ideas is faster, safer and less expensive than building full sized research aircraft. The new idea here is the Blended Wing Body. This idea improves efficiency and capacity for future airline designs.
One of the design goals here was to lower the noise of an airliner. Over the decades, jet engines have made huge advances in noise reduction, but less has been done about the sound generated by the aerodynamics of the ship cutting through the air. Deploying landing gear and flaps creates drag, thus creating noise. These devices are used at low level (during takeoff and landing), when the noise level of the aircraft is most critical. This design strives to make those non propulsive parts quieter by “sculpting” them into the body in a more efficient way.
The windows on the model are not just for show. A small camera sits behind the windows, feeding a ground based pilot a view from the tiny cockpit, allowing them better situational awareness during the flights.
This X-48C is on display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum on Edwards Air Force Base, California, serving as a precursor of things to come. Like so many aircraft that have graced the flightline of Edwards, this may serve as the aircraft of the future.