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Fri, Sep 01, 2023

Boeing to Begin Truss-Braced Wing Installation on MD-90

Old Bird Sees New Life as Next-Gen Airline Testbed

Thanks to the recent delivery of an aged MD-90, Boeing has begun the hands-on conversion work in developing its Transonic Truss-Braced Wing under the NASA Sustainable Flight Demonstrator program.

The company showed off the jet's final configuration before its upcoming retrofitting, which will revamp the familiar lines of the MD-90 into the experimental X-66A aircraft. The plane will be the first in a line of experiments aiming to help the US achieve a net-zero rate of greenhouse gas emissions from the  aviation industry, a rapidly approaching target for aeronautical markets around the world. Flight testing should begin sometime in 2028.

The final fixture of the X-66A will sport slim, long wings with higher aspect ratios and aerodynamic struts, a design element that long ago fell out of vogue with mainstream carrier aircraft. Should it be as successful as projected, fuel use and emissions could see a 30% reduction.

"This marks an important step in the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, advances Boeing's commitment to sustainability and brings us closer to testing and validating the TTBW design," said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Todd Citron.

"We at NASA are excited to be working with Boeing on the X-66A Sustainable Flight Demonstrator making critical contributions to accelerate aviation towards its 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emission goal," said Ed Waggoner, deputy associate administrator for programs in the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

"Aerospace Valley has a long and distinguished history as the cradle of aerospace innovation, and this unveiling is a continuation of that critical work. Palmdale's talented workforce and infrastructure make it the perfect location for this important project," said Congressman Mike Garcia of California.

FMI: www.boeing.com

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