NASA, Boeing Release New Image of Experimental X-66

The sustainable flight demonstrator in production could slash aircraft fuel consumption and reduce emissions by nearly a third, according to NASA.

Artist’s concept of the X-66 aircraft that Boeing will produce through NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project. [Courtesy: NASA]

Boeing has shared its latest vision of sustainable aviation with a new rendering of the X-66, an experimental aircraft it is building through NASA's sustainable flight demonstrator project.

The aircraft, which is based on a modified McDonnell Douglas MD-90 platform, features diagonal struts, known as Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) concept. It's a distinctive design that, when paired with advancements in propulsion and systems architecture, could slash fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30 percent, according to the space agency.

"As NASA and Boeing enter the early stages of producing the X-66, the first X-plane specifically focused on helping the United States achieve net-zero aviation emissions by 2050, the team is already picturing what the aircraft will look like soaring above the clouds," NASA said in a statement Thursday.

Boeing relocated a MD-90 to its Palmdale, California, facility in August 2023. [Courtesy: NASA]

Boeing began production work in August, when it relocated a MD-90 to its Palmdale, California, facility. According to NASA, the company has removed the aircraft's engines and begun modifications.

Following production, Boeing will also partner with NASA to test and fly the demonstrator aircraft. Flight testing is expected to begin in 2028.

"The project seeks to inform a new generation of more sustainable single-aisle aircraft—the workhorse of passenger airlines around the world," NASA said.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter