DARPA Aurora X-65 Technology Demonstrator Aircraft
DARPA has given the green light to Aurora Flight Sciences to build the X-65 technology demonstrator aircraft. This full-sized X-plane prototype will be used to demonstrate the viability of using active flow control (AFC) actuators for primary flight control.



What sets X-65 apart from other aircraft is its ability to use jets of air from a pressurized source to shape the flow of air over its surface. The AFC effectors on several surfaces will control the plane’s roll, pitch, and yaw, eliminating external moving parts, thus reducing weight as well as complexity. The X-plane is going to be built with two sets of control actuators – traditional flaps and rudders as well as AFC effectors embedded across all the lifting surfaces. This not only minimizes risk, but also maximize the program’s insight into control effectiveness.

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DARPA Aurora X-65 Technology Demonstrator Aircraft

The X-65 is a technology demonstrator, and it’s distinctive, diamond-like wing shape is designed to help us maximize what we can learn about AFC in full-scale, real-world tests. The X-65 conventional surfaces are like training wheels to help us understand how AFC can be used in place of traditional flaps and rudders,” said Dr. Richard Wlezien, DARPA’s program manager for CRANE.

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