Boeing begins conversion of MD-90 jet into NASA’s X-66 experimental aircraft

The old commercial plane had its engines removed and the structure digitally scanned in a hangar in Palmdale, California. Project aims to demonstrate Transonic Truss-Braced Wings concept

Boeing has begun the conversion of an old MD-90 commercial jet into the X-66 technology demonstration aircraft, a partnership with NASA.

The X-66 will be used to validate the Transonic Truss-Braced Wings concept, which aims to offer great fuel efficiency.

According to Boeing, the MD-90 with registration N931TB had its engines removed, which should also happen soon with the original wings, which will be replaced by the new concept.

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Additionally, the company raised and supported the aircraft, to simulate the conditions that will be encountered during the conversion.

A 3D laser scanning was done around the structure, information that will be used in 3D modeling software that will overlay the new X-66 components on the MD-90, allowing for greater precision.

NASA and Boeing X-66A (Boeing)

The X-66 Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) is expected to fly for the first time in 2028 and the plan is that the ultra-thin wings, supported by struts, can prove a major reduction in fuel consumption and emissions.

Boeing has already anticipated that the future 737 replacement could use the TTBW wing concept.

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