Young boys of a couple of generations ago loved to get dizzy, flying their yellow Cox PT-19 with its buzzing .049 Babe Bee engine in endless circles. The “pilot” was connected to the plane via a pair of control lines that allowed the model planes to climb and dive…and occasionally crash.
That’s why the X-47B is so exciting. It’s a lot bigger and faster, and is truly unmanned. This video shows some of the highlights of the Northrop Grumman aircraft’s test flights last summer.
Sometime next year the X-47B is slated to make its first landing on an aircraft carrier. An F-18 has already repeatedly landed on the USS Harry S Truman — with a pilot in the cockpit but his hands off the controls. That’s confidence in your machine.