TECH
04/09/2015 12:53 BST | Updated 07/09/2015 09:59 BST

Drone Nicknamed 'Son Of Concorde' Uses Bending Wings To Break Sound Barrier

Meet X-56A, a drone that takes engineers one step closer to the Son of Concorde -- a supersonic passenger jet that could fly from New York to London in one hour.

What makes X-56A special is its flexible wings that could improve an aircraft's flying efficiency.

supersonic x54

According to NASA's researchers, who are testing the vehicle "unlike the short, stiff wings found on most aircraft today, slender, flexible airfoils are susceptible to uncontrollable vibrations, known as flutter, and may be stressed by bending forces from wind gusts and atmospheric turbulence."

In other words, lightweight, flexible wings are better at responding to vibrations from turbulence known as flutter, that can make an object unstable.

supersonic x54

Nicknamed Buckeye, the research from this drone could one day propel the use of flexible wings in commercial planes as well as jets that travel faster than the speed of sound.

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So far, NASA have tested the X-56A using both stiff and flexible wings.

Buckeye's body is also quite impressive. It is 7.5 feet long, has a 28-foot wingspan, weighs about 480 pounds, and is powered by two small 90-pound thrust JetCat P400 turbojet engines.

Aerospace company, Lockheed Martin built Buckeye after receiving a contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.(AFRL).