Grumman X-29A

The X-29 was built to explore state-of-the-art technologies in aircraft design. The most easily identified of these, the forward-swept wing (FSW) was combined with advanced materials, a forward mounted elevator (canard) and an electrical flight control system. The purpose of this combination of features was to test how well all these elements worked together before they were used in future aircraft.

Both Germany and the U.S. experimented with FSW aircraft during World War II but did not use them operationally. One problem with the new design was that the wings could not be made rigid enough to keep them from bending dangerously at higher speeds. In the 1970s, however, composite materials became available, and wing structures could be built that were both lightweight and very rigid.

Grumman began building the first of two X-29As in 1982. The program was administered by the U.S. Air Force and jointly funded by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Air Force, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Span: 27 ft. 2 in.
Length: 48 ft. 1 in.
Height: 14 ft. 3 in.
Weight: 17,303 lbs. maximum
Armament: None
Engine: General Electric F404 turbofan engine of 16,000 lbs. thrust
Crew: One
Serial number: 82-003

Maximum speed: 1,200 mph.
Cruising speed: 460 mph.
Maximum Endurance: 60 minutes
Service Ceiling: 55,000 ft.