McDonnell Douglas X-36

The McDonnell Douglas X-36 Tailless Fighter Agility Research Aircraft was a subscale prototype jet designed to fly without the traditional tail surfaces common on most aircraft.

McDonnell Douglas X-36

For control, a canard forward of the wing was used as well as split ailerons and an advanced thrust vectoring nozzle for directional control. The X-36 was unstable in both pitch and yaw axes, so an advanced digital fly-by-wire control system was put in place to stabilize the aircraft.

McDonnell Douglas X-36

The X-36 was built to approximately one-quarter scale of a possible fighter aircraft, and controlled by a pilot in a ground station virtual cockpit with a view provided by a video camera mounted in the nose of the aircraft.

First flown on May 17, 1997, it made 31 successful research flights. It handled very well, and the program is reported to have met or exceeded all project goals.

McDonnell Douglas X-36

The X-36 is a scaled-down representation of a theoretical advanced fighter aircraft configuration. The extreme maneuverability and stable nature at both ends of the speed envelope would make it ideal for use as a fighter.

Despite the potential suitability, as of 2005 there have been no announcements by Boeing or any government agency regarding the X-36's development as a fighter.

Using a video camera mounted in the nose of the aircraft and an onboard microphone, the X-36 was remotely controlled by a pilot in a ground station virtual cockpit. A standard fighter-type head-up display (HUD) and a moving-map representation of the vehicle's position within the range in which it flew provided excellent situational awareness for the pilot. This pilot-in-the-loop approach eliminated the need for expensive and complex autonomous flight control systems and the risks associated with their inability to deal with unknown or unforeseen phenomena in flight.


McDonnell Douglas X-36

General characteristics
1 pilot
First Flight: May 17, 1997
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas

Length: 19 ft: 5.8 m
Wingspan: 10 ft: 3.0 m
Height: 3 ft: 0.9 m
Maximum takeoff: 1,250 lb: 550 kg
Engines: Williams International F112 turbofan
Thrust: 700 lbf: 3.1 kN
Maximum speed: 234 mph: 375 km/h
Service ceiling: 20,000 ft: 6,000 m
Thrust/Weight: 0.56



(This text was adapted from )(GFDL)
Donate now!

You can help Wikipedia change the world! Donate now!