AF351
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Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:01 pm

Boeing and NASA hope to fly a new version of the X-48 blended-wing body subscale test aircraft next month, a senior company official says.
"We're looking to fly roughly middle to late next month," says Mike Kisska, Boeing's X-48C programme manager. "We have a roughly six-month flight test programme."
The new X-48C configuration will repeat most of the same test-points as the previous X-48B. The different configurations will help the programme compare the two different designs at various flight conditions to determine which one works better, Kisska says. The X-48C should fly about 25 flights before the end of the year, he says. Many of those tests will evaluate the low speed high angle of attack handling characteristics.


The new X-48C configuration is different from the X-48B in some important ways, Kisska says. The old design's winglet rudders have been replaced with inboard vertical tails. That should help reduce a full-scale operation aircraft's noise footprint, he says. Also, instead of three engines on the X-48B, the C-model has only two.
The idea behind the X-48C is to reduce emissions, Kisska says, but the primary goal of the programme is to evaluate aircraft handling characteristics.
Right now, however, there are no plans to build a fourth version of the aircraft or develop a follow-on model. NASA's environmentally responsible aircraft (ERA) could be one programme where the blended-wing body technology could find a home, he says. "Logically, we'd like to go to a larger demonstrator," Kisska says.
The ultimate goal of the X-48 programme is to develop technologies for a low emissions future subsonic transport, Kisska says.

Source: Flightglobal
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ebj1248650
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:18 am

While many folks don't seem to think we'll see a blended-wing airliner any time soon, I can't help but believe there is some serious study being done by Boeing and perhaps even Airbus to see if the economics are in line with what the airlines and freight carriers will need. I'm confident some initial studies have been done to see what kind of passenger appeal these birds would have. I may be wrong, but I can't help but believe the blended-wing airliner isn't a mere possibility. I believe it's going to be highly probable.
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sweair
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:59 am

First flight yesterday, those small engines are impressive, must be tricky to work with such tiny parts?

http://defense-update.com/20120808_x-48c_flight.html
 
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kanban
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:17 pm

The plan, I suspect, is to define a workable baseline a/c, then begin working the bugs out the inhibit passenger use.. I recall discussions that turning forces become exaggerated the further from the center-line one sits... Boeing developed a system with the hydrofoils that allowed fairly sharp turns without canting the deck... would that solve (or lessen) some of the problems?
 
sweair
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:06 pm

I guess the only thing that will decide if people will fly on a bwb is economics, if it could save 20% energy compared to the current 100 year old design, I guess airlines will get it. If fuel prices keep their current trend any saving will be needed to keep mass-flight possible.
 
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kanban
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:11 pm

Quoting sweair (Reply 4):
current 100 year old design


the statement always irks me because
1) it denies many improvements made since linen over wood, open cockpit, etc.
2) it seems to call for something other than tube and wing. yet the blended wing is still based on tube and wing with the tube not being cylindrical and the wing blending into it...

I always wonder when some say wing and tube are outdated because they seldom put forth an alternative... like a 600 ft diameter anti gravity supersonic ball... or a "Borg" cube

and we still put on shoes based on 10000 year old design.. with some things design leaps just don't exist.
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:21 pm

Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 1):
I can't help but believe there is some serious study being done by Boeing and perhaps even Airbus to see if the economics are in line with what the airlines and freight carriers will need.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to know the pro/cons of the design, but from a purely practical standpoint if tasked as a cargo hauler wouldn't you possibly need to load it from below the wing and raise the cargo up?

If that was the case you'd need to have enough clearance to get at least a tug/cargo container below the plane, so the container could be lifted up into the cargo bay. That might be impractical.
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flyingcello
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:13 pm

The blended wing offers so much potential that it seems inconceivable that it will not come to fruition at some point. Noise, economy and emissions will all see significant improvements, to a much greater extent than a 787 or A380 bring over their predecessors. Also, as a BWB is likely to be predominantly a long haul aircraft, the issue of passenger comfort during manoeuvrings should be less of an issue...the vast majority of each flight will be almost straight line, with terminal area manoeuvrings gaining smoothness (and gentle turns) thanks to RNAV etc.

Boeing seem to have the development lead...I wonder if 777X is a refresh, partly because Y3 is planned to be a BWB?
 
sweair
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:13 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):

I'm not knowledgeable enough to know the pro/cons of the design, but from a purely practical standpoint if tasked as a cargo hauler wouldn't you possibly need to load it from below the wing and raise the cargo up?

I have seen a few drawings of an aft ramp, but if you think about it, how does 747s and 77Fs get loaded today..this would be no different really, if there was no aft ramp like a military freighter certainly would have.The ramp would add weight and in a civilian freighter that is not very popular.

I think the BWB will start purely as a military freighter, doing what C17 or C5 is doing today, with a much lower fuel burn though. Then when fuel price forces airlines to rethink passenger comfort it might become a civilian airliner. It will be a lot wider cabin than the current airliners, but it would have the cargo in the wing tips.

I have seen drawings of 20 across   It wont have the length of the current cabins. No windows would be possible, exits I guess they could solve, side, back or up.
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:59 pm

Quoting sweair (Reply 4):
if it could save 20% energy compared to the current 100 year old design,

   As opposed to the BDB design which have been around for millions of years in the form of birds or rays.

Don't be to homosapien centric now.  

bt
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morrisond
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:12 am

Quoting sweair (Reply 8):
I have seen a few drawings of an aft ramp, but if you think about it, how does 747s and 77Fs get loaded today..this would be no different really, if there was no aft ramp like a military freighter certainly would have.The ramp would add weight and in a civilian freighter that is not very popular.

You wouldn't necessarily need a ramp, you just have a panel/hatch the size of your cargo container drop down on 4 hydraulics(one at each corner) - roll your container onto it, it then self loads that container up - it rolls off when inside the aircraft and then the hatch returns for another - no need for container belts - and the last container stays on the hatch.

You should be able to get away with less than 8' of clearance under the body - even if it is 8' with a length of probably 200' and span of 250' for a Y3 - that's not that high - lots of room for front gear in the nose below the passenger compartment and out on the wings on either side of the cargo where the gear could retract for/aft just like the nose gear as there would be lots of volume inside the wing to accomodate it.

You have cargo spaces on each side of the aircraft parralel to the passenger compartment in the middle. A 12W Passenger space between the cargo spaces with 3 aisles should be quite doable and not that uncomfortable for the outlying seats as you are really only talking about 3 more feet on each side versus a 2 row 10-11w, and with the right control laws no more uncomfortable than an A380 around airports. Maybe put the lavs and or galleys to the sides freeing up space in the middle - typically they aren't being used when maneouvering hard.

It's not that hard to get a 600-700 seat BWB twin engine (maybe upgraded GE90's with 130,000 lbs of thrust) that has far superior economics to any potential A380 derivative.

I think Boeing should skip the 777x and just do the 777+ and get to other fuselage shapes ASAP.
 
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:50 pm

Quoting kanban (Reply 5):
Quoting sweair (Reply 4):
current 100 year old design

the statement always irks me

Interesting. In my business (computers) at the machine level, we really are just iterating a 50 year old design, and clearly the design that has won in the market (Intel's x86) had far more efficient alternatives even going back to the 60s and 70s.

Intel's asset has been rapid time to market that had them in the right place at the right time to get adopted as the brand of choice early on, and they've wisely used their strong market position to keep them ahead in silicon technology and in production capacity. Even when AMD managed to steal a day's march on them technically, they didn''t have the production capacity to push home their advantage.

To make an analogy to aircraft, Intel has been making an aerodynamically disadvantaged aircraft win in the market by excellent materials science and great production capacity.

Quoting sweair (Reply 8):
I think the BWB will start purely as a military freighter, doing what C17 or C5 is doing today, with a much lower fuel burn though.

I thought the military was all about oversized loads, so that will need to be one *huge* BWB!
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sweair
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:00 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 11):
I thought the military was all about oversized loads, so that will need to be one *huge* BWB!

You could make a large cargo space in a twin deck BWB, there are some reports from the air force evaluation on the BWBs as military freighter. You don't get the 50 meter long tube but you will get a wider cargo space for sure, wider than a C5.
The models I saw was actually 3 parallel cargo spaces.

I know aviation is super conservative, any new thinking is met with suspicion. Just saying a BWB could excel at air freight one day.
 
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:34 pm

Quoting sweair (Reply 12):
I know aviation is super conservative, any new thinking is met with suspicion. Just saying a BWB could excel at air freight one day.

I agree, but aviation is a 3D science, things just do not scale linearly, so getting to that size of BWB could take a while.
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bikerthai
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:26 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 11):

I thought the military was all about oversized loads, so that will need to be one *huge* BWB!
Quoting morrisond (Reply 10):

You wouldn't necessarily need a ramp, you just have a panel/hatch the size of your cargo container drop down on 4 hydraulics(one at each corner) - roll your container onto it

For future rapid deployment, a striker will probably be the biggest vehicle you will need to deploy from a BWB, unless they have a different plan to deliver these vehicles (or maintain a C-17 fleet for this purpose).

For air drop, you will need a ramp. I can't see a elevator lift system that would work in case of air drop.

I've see a "military" BWB aircraft artist sketch. It shows a main cargo door just behind the cockpit on the left forward side.
So this would the primary load point. But I as I said, if you are going to do air drop, you will need a back ramp or at least a large back door.

bt
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morrisond
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:43 pm

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 14):
For air drop, you will need a ramp. I can't see a elevator lift system that would work in case of air drop.

I was thinking of the commercial model - However the rear cargo ramp idea might be a good one for LCC's - I wonder if mass produced parachutes would be less than the cost of landing and taking off again for people who don't want to fly the whole distance. You just take off at a central hub and do Air Drops of people over the small population centers as you pass....
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: Expect A New Boeing X-48C Blended-wing Body To Fly

Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:01 pm

Quoting morrisond (Reply 10):

You wouldn't necessarily need a ramp, you just have a panel/hatch the size of your cargo container drop down on 4 hydraulics(one at each corner) - roll your container onto it, it then self loads that container up - it rolls off when inside the aircraft and then the hatch returns for another - no need for container belts - and the last container stays on the hatch.

You really wouldn't wan't to do anything like that. What you're talking about involves deploying the same hatch dozens of times on each turn. This is not only very time consuming, but quite quite extremely mx intensive as well, given that you are multiplying cycle counts astronomically, as well as inducing quite a lot of fatigue points by using the hatch as a lift. And it goes almost without saying that you wouldn't be able to use the door itself to support weight during a flight, again for a multitude of reasons.

I've seen this particular side concept in a lot of scifi scenarios, (and indeed something like it is used aboard american CV/CVNs, but again, those are not made for the cycle counts you're describing and they're very weight intensive as well...), but in real life, it just wouldn't be practical.

Based on experience, doors that already have no load placed on them, outside of pressurization, and are open/close cycled only once per cycle are already extremely problematic to work with, and cannot be MEL'd.

What you probably want to do is simply alter the shape this BWB is taking to accommodate a proper cargo door, and work around that from there.

Quoting morrisond (Reply 10):
Maybe put the lavs and or galleys to the sides freeing up space in the middle - typically they aren't being used when maneouvering hard.

Just speculation here, but I don't think you can do that. Grouping all your PAX as centrally as possible is much more likely to entail significant and insurmountable safety/evacuation obstacles. Though as this is already going to be a tremendous problem for BWBs as it is, it's unlikely that an acceptable solution will ever be devised for PAX use anyway.
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