Designed to explore hitherto theoretical aerodynamic virtues of forward swept wings which promised improved agility, spin-proof flying characteristics, good low-speed handling and reduced stalling speeds, the Grumman Model 712, designated X-29A by the US Air Force, was a single-seat jet aircraft fitted with a wing mounted at the rear of the fuselage, swept forward at 35°, and having shoulder-mounted canards just behind the cockpit. Powered by a single GE F404 turbofan, the aircraft used major components of other aircraft to keep costs down, including an F-5A forward fuselage and nose landing gear, and F-16 main landing gear and control surface actuators. Two prototypes were ordered in 1981 under an $80 million contract. The first aircraft flew on 14 December 1984 but was grounded on 6 December 1988 after its 242nd flight. The second X-29A, flown for the first time on 23 May 1989, completed its flight test programme in October 1991. Between them the two aircraft completed 374 flights (more than any other X-craft) and demonstrated angles of attack up to 67° (the target was 80). They also flew at Mach numbers up tp 1.52 and reached altitudes up to 12200m. Both aircraft are now in store at the Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility of NASA at Edwards AFB, California.
Grumman X-29 on YOUTUBE
A three-view drawing (600 x 491)
1 x General Electric F404-GE-400, 72.5kN
27 ft 3 in
54 ft 10 in
14 ft 5 in
188.37 sq ft
Fred Webster, e-mail, 23.04.2014 21:40
Wow lots of comments. For Tony, the 'return to base' was a lot more than indicated, it was at the end of the second or third flight when some rolls that weren't on the test card were done at low altitude. This is generally a big 'no,no' in flight testing. The mission was already over, but Chuck was grounded for a few flights by the Air Force. In the long run a very minor incident in Chuck's long and distinguished career. For Ed bates, the first and almost all of the flights were at EAFB. You probably saw the first taxi tests which were done at Calverton. On the high speed taxi test, the acft actually got a few inches into the air before setting back down on the runway. The second acft is currently at EAFB parked in front of the Dryden ( now Armstrong) Flight research Center.
I worked @ Grumman Calvertion during the days when chuck took this amazing engineering design for its first flight. I was right across the flight line in a small hanger doing retrofit on returned from flight A6 Intruders and the EA6B. I cannot comment much on the X-29 as it was highly guarded back then but watching it fly, was enough. Oh yeah, and the X-29 sticker on my roll away.. Chuck was an amazing man.....and excellent pilot. I do recall Tony's comment above regarding Chucks desire to take the plane into more aggressive moves and was thwarted.
My father worked at Grumman for almost 30 years as a master sheet metal mechanic and often times was tasked with special projects. During his career he assembly several lunar modules, F-14's for 10+ years, 3 space shuttles, and both of the X-29's. Sadly he passed away in 1984 when I was only 11 years old and he never saw the plane in flight. I would appreciate any information that any of you may know about him. His name was Richard Baril.
Ray, I worked with your uncle Bob McGuckin on the X-29 landing gear program when I was at Menasco. We actually hired him for a short time after he left Grumman. The last time I spoke with him, he was in El Segundo at Northrop Grumman. He is a very dynamic and intelligent gentleman. I hope he is well. Please pass my regards on to him. Please also tell him that i recently spoke with Craig Hutzler who was one of your uncle's deputies on the X-29 program. Pat
Does anyone know that Grumman's Test Pilot< Chuck Sewell, was ordered to "return to base" when he felt the testing was too cautious and decided to put the plane thru some unauthorized meneuvers? He was confident the plane could easily handle a more rigorous program. Nasa /Air Force disagreed. I have a video of one of the flights.
As a former Grumman employee I worked on both x-29 aircrafts designing cockpit design configuration and aircraft systems interface wiring. These two aircraft were the highlight of my 30 years with Grumman. Ron
The X-29 flown by Chuck Sewell was an experimental aircraft used to validate the concept mentioned earlier. Less drag, more manuverability etc. The German had on in WWII but the wings always fell off due toharmonic vibrations. With new metal technoligies the X-29 validated the concept but was overshadowed by stealth.
Rumor has it that the FSW concept resulted in an aircraft with a mach limit of M 1.6 before the wings twisted off (theoretically) and that the FSW S-37 is doomed as a viable combat aircraft. So it goes. Also, I find no listing of the Fairchild-Grumman T-46, one of those projects with spiralling cost overruns leading to an epic kerfuffle and a filibuster. Not as big a noise as Avenger II but noisy.
As a former Grumman employee I was the Configuration Data Manager on the second X-29 aircraft. To my knowledge the first aircraft is now on display at the United States Airforce Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
At one point I received information stateing that the second aircraft had problems when being flown from Edwards Air Force Base to Dayton, Ohio. Is this true? George Foray