Grumman X-29

The Grumman X-29 was an American experimental aircraft that tested a forward-swept wing, canard control surfaces, and other novel aircraft technologies. The X-29 was developed by Grumman, and the two built were flown by NASA and the United States Air Force. The aerodynamic instability of the X-29's airframe required the use of computerized fly-by-wire control. Composite materials were used to control the aeroelastic divergent twisting experienced by forward-swept wings, and to reduce weight. The aircraft first flew in 1984, and two X-29s were flight tested through 1991. The X-29 design made use of the forward fuselage and nose landing gear from two existing F-5A Freedom Fighter airframes (63-8372 became 82-0003 and 65-10573 became 82-0049).[1] The control surface actuators and main landing gear were from the F-16. The technological advancement that made the X-29 a plausible design was the use of carbon-fiber composites. The wings of the X-29, made partially of graphite epoxy, were swept forward at more than 33 degrees; forward-swept wings were first trialed 40 years earlier on the experimental Junkers Ju 287 and OKB-1 EF 131. 

The X-29 began a NASA test program four months after its first flight. The X-29 proved reliable, and by August 1986 was flying research missions of over three hours involving multiple flights. The first X-29 was not equipped with a spin recovery parachute, as flight tests were planned to avoid maneuvers that could result in departure from controlled flight, such as a spin. The second X-29 was given such a parachute and was involved in high angle-of-attack testing. X-29 number two was maneuverable up to an angle of attack of about 25 degrees with a maximum angle of 67° reached in a momentary pitch-up maneuver.

The first X-29, 82-003, is now on display in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.[11] The other craft is on display at the Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base. A full-scale model was on display from 1989 to 2011 at the National Air and Space Museum's National Mall building in Washington, DC.