The Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft, a modified Dornier 328J aircraft, is a proof-of-concept technology demonstrator with an emphasis, as the name suggests, on the use of advanced composite materials to help improve durability and easier maintenance. In this case, most of the fuselage and the vertical tail made use of lighter-weight composite materials (the wings, engines, crew compartment, and landing gear are from the original Dornier), which dramatically cut the number of parts and mechanical fasteners needed. A joint effort of the Skunk Works and the Air Force Research Laboratory, it first flew in June 2009.
June 23, 2013 8:45 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center photo/Carla Thomas