Oshkosh: U.S Airlines Back NASA-Boeing Flight Demonstrator

Oshkosh: U.S Airlines Back NASA-Boeing Flight Demonstrator
Photo Credit: Boeing.

At the Oshkosh EAA AirVenture, multiple U.S airlines have joined up to back the NASA-Boeing Flight Demonstrator program being developed.

It is understood that the following airlines are part of this agreement:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines.

Major Agreement from Oshkosh…

Oshkosh: U.S Airlines Back NASA-Boeing Flight Demonstrator
Photo Credit: Boeing.

This major agreement at Oshkosh will see the airlines provide input on operational efficiencies, maintenance, handling characteristics, and airport compatibility.

  • Design: Airline participants will share feedback on sustainable operations and airport compatibility. While the X-66A will have a wingspan of 145 feet, the TTBW design could be used by airplanes of different sizes and missions and may benefit from folding wing tips to accommodate existing airport infrastructure.
  • Simulation and lab testing: Airline pilots will have a chance to experience the X-66A through a flight simulator and assess the vehicle’s handling characteristics.
  • Flight testing: Airline operations and maintenance teams will assess the X-66A as modifications are made to the airplane. Flight testing is slated for 2028 and 2029 out of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.


Within this announcement, both NASA & Boeing unveiled the livery for the X-66A Flight Demonstrator too.

Expanding on this was Todd Citron, Boeing‘s Chief Technology Officer:

“Hearing directly from the operators during all phases of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project will help us understand exact requirements and tradeoffs”.

“The airlines’ feedback will significantly contribute to the X-66A project learnings while furthering aviation sustainability.”

The X-66A is going to be tested using the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) airframe configuration and will be built from a modified MD-90 aircraft.

Either way, it is indeed a major announcement regarding this program at Oshkosh, and all eyes will be on those involved to see how much further they can take this.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 2 Min Read
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