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Horten Aircraft HX-2: Flying wing airplane

Dal Kikin
April 11, 2019

The first designs for flying wings were made at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1910, Hugo Junkers received a patent for his work on flying wings. While many researchers towards the end of the XIXth century were trying to create a motorized machine, some purists and grand precursors such as Lilienthal or Ferber believed that a flying machine should be aerodynamically efficient and easy to fly before installing an engine. We must note in passing that Lilienthal had conceived gliders without a tail section before the year 1900. It is within this time frame that Walter and Reimar Horten developed, and built their first flying wing before reaching the age of twenty after studying the work of von Prandlt (published in 1918) on aerodynamics with the emphasis on the benefits of the thick wing. 

The Horten brothers beside their first glider

The company Horten Aircraft GmbH, named after aircraft engineer Dr. Reimar Horten, has taken over the concept for light aviation. After three years of development, the prototype of a two-seat aircraft side by side has flown in the hands of test pilot Kai Schülter. The device, called HX-2, is one of the novelties presented at the AERO 2019 show in Friedrichshafen.

This aircraft is a highly modern economical two-seat tailless light aircraft without a fuselage. 

"Due to its low aerodynamic resistance, the flying wing flies farther and faster than a comparable aircraft with a fuselage," says Bernhard Mattlener, managing director of the company, a part of the LIFT Air group. "The design of the airframe makes it easily adaptable for installing new propulsion technologies we anticipate will become available in the future.” 

Horten Aircraft is planning further models with unmanned or multi-seat variants on the basis of the current prototype. The aircraft are to be built at the company's headquarters at the Kindel airfield near Eisenach. From there, the prototype takes off and lands for test flights. The flights are used to determine the exact flight performance and flight characteristics.

For now, the prototype of this flying wing continues its flight tests, planned to take place over several months. In the drawers, there are already projects of non-inhabited versions and multiplicative models.

@Photos by Horten Aircraft