A NASA/Boeing team plans to begin flight tests early in 2002 of a sub-scale, low-speed Blended Wing Body aircraft to determine the design's feasibility as a future commercial and military transport.
Early studies of a Blended Wing Body (BWB) transport by NASA and McDonnell Douglas centered on an 800-passenger version with a wingspan of 289 ft., length of 160 ft., and height of more than 40 ft. But the 14%-scale Low-Speed Vehicle to be used in the flight tests is designed specifically to explore aerodynamics and flight control laws for a second-generation, 450-passenger BWB under study by NASA and Boeing. In its current configuration, the aircraft would have a wingspan of 247 ft., length of 158 ft. and height of about 45 ft. It would be powered by three turbofan engines and have a range of 7,000 naut. mi. at a cruise speed of Mach 0.85.