X-29 Canard Jet

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X-29 Canard Jet

Postby uplink » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:39 pm

Two full sized X-29 s were built and the first flew in 1984.

They were experimental aircraft, testing this unusual configuration of a canard jet with swept forwards wings.

The wings were partially of graphite epoxy to resist adverse twisting forces.

The C of G was located well aft of the aerodynamic centre which gave it inherent instability, but making it highly maneuverable. To make it able to fly at all with this C of G location required stabilization by 3 digital computers and these were backed up by 3 analogue computers.

Proving reliable, the pair of X29 s flew a total of 422 research test flights and 14 other flights and the X29 was the first forward swept wing aircraft to break the sound barrier.

The forward swept wings demonstrated prevention of tip stalling at moderate angles of attack and an impressive high alpha angle of attack of 67 degrees was reached.

The flight control concepts were developed - how else - 'in the best possible way', by dropping a 22% X29, Radio Controlled model. (a glider version, I presume, dropped from a full sized aircraft).

So, here's my radio controlled model of the X29 - I doubt their model was quite as flimsy as my Foamie, but then I bet my X29 airframe was somewhat cheaper than theirs - mine coming in at less than £15.

X29 Parts LoRes.JPG
The Foam Parts

Oct 2010 X29 in build LoRes.jpg
Well into the Build

The only slightly demanding bit of this build are the 'bearings' for the carbon fibre forplane spar. The aim is to give an all moving canard surface that is square on to the fusalage when viewed from above and horizontally true as well - the 'bearings' have no slop but also don't bind. Also that the canards are set on the spar to give a really small gap between their root edge and the fusalage sides yet they don't touch the fus as they change their angle of attack under control of the elevator servo. The spar, once in position, also has to be prevented from sliding through the fusalage, or one side or the other of the canard will start to bind on the side of the fus with consequent loss of movement and control.

The canard isn't big enough to give all the pitch authority required, so this is augmented by using the ailerons also as elevators ie elevons. The canard elevator function is mixed with the elevons on the transmitter, so as elevons move up, the trailing edge of the canards moves down to lift the nose.

X29 Finished LoResLo.JPG
The Finished Article

Unlike the real X29, this one has it's C of G in the correct place for stable flight and very stable it is, too.

A You Tube clip of the real X29 in action.

Now THAT'S a thermal.

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