Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Second Boeing X-50A Dragonfly Canard Rotor/Wing Prototype Completes Hover Flight

Second Boeing X-50A Dragonfly Canard Rotor/Wing Prototype Completes Hover Flight: " CHICAGO, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Boeing Company's (NYSE: BA)
second canard rotor/wing (CRW) technology demonstrator - the X-50A Dragonfly
unmanned air vehicle - has successfully completed a four-minute hover flight
at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in southwest Arizona. The aircraft
reached an altitude of about 20 feet above ground.
'Our first flight test objectives were met today,' said Clark Mitchell,
Boeing Phantom Works program manager for the CRW prototype. 'This is a
significant achievement toward validating the new stopped-rotor technology.'
Under joint development by Boeing Phantom Works and the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the CRW is a revolutionary aircraft that
combines the speed and range of fixed-wing flight with the flexibility of
rotary-wing flight. It also incorporates tip jet propulsion and stopped rotor
'The most significant objective met was verification that software
compensation effectively reduces the rotor control issue we were having, or
cross coupling,' he said. The phenomenon of cross coupling was a finding in
the mishap investigation of Ship 1 in 2004 that led to wind tunnel tests for
Ship 2 at the Boeing helicopter facility in Philadelphia earlier this year.
Ship 2 then completed ground checkout testing at the Boeing facility in
Mesa, Ariz., where it was configured for flight. After a flight readiness
review, the vehicle was shipped to Yuma where it completed a preparatory 'pop
up' flight Nov. 4. The flight lasted only about 30 seconds during which the
aircraft stabilized briefly at 16 feet above the ground and then landed.
Success with the initial flight led to the hover flight Dec. 2.
Mitchell said that flight tests are expected to continue into early next
year. The flight-test schedule calls for 11 flights. Under the remote control
of a pilot in a ground station cockpit, the X-50A Dragonfly will gradually
perform more extensive hover flights, then forward-moving rotary wing flights.

The test program will culminate with the first ever 'conversion' from
rotary wing flight to fixed-wing flight and back again to rotary wing flight
for landing. The conversion requires the main rotor to stop turning in flight,
and lock in place to become a fixed wing for high speed flight.
Ship 1, the first Dragonfly prototype vehicle, was involved in a flight
mishap on March 23, 2004, that led to a joint investigation by Boeing and
DARPA. The findings identified cross coupling of the rotor controls as the
main cause of the mishap. Since then, improvements have been incorporated into
Ship 2 that address design issues related to findings. These include changes
such as new rotor torsion springs for increased control power, new flight
control software and a flight data recorder.

SOURCE The Boeing Company"

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