McDonnell Douglas X-36

The McDonnell Douglas X -36 Tailless Fighter Agility Research Aircraft is a scaled-down prototype of an aircraft that does not require the usual vertical stabilizer.


In order to control the aircraft Canards, split ailerons and an advanced thrust vectoring can be used. The X -36 has a very unstable phase, which is why a computerized fly- by-wire system is being used.

The X -36 was built at a scale of 1:4 to a normal fighter aircraft and is controlled from a virtual cockpit on the ground by a pilot, which is supplied with video images from the plane.

The first flight took place on 17 May 1997 and it was a total of 25 test flights carried out. The handling of the aircraft was surprisingly good and it was reported that all expectations were met or exceeded in the project.

Sometimes the plane is called the Boeing X -36, as Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged during the project period.

Possible development

The X -36 is the development model of a possible future fighter aircraft with extreme maneuverability and good stability at both ends of the speed scale. Despite the potential of the X -36 no announcement from Boeing was made that a system based on the X -36 aircraft would be built.

General data