Northrop X-21A

  Base model:X-21
  Designation System:U.S. Air Force
  Designation Period:1948-Present
  Basic role:Research
  First Flew:1963/04/18

  Length: 75' 2.5" 22.9 m
  Height:25' 6" 7.7 m
  Wingspan: 93' 6" 28.5 m
  Wingarea: 1,250.0 sq ft 116.1 sq m
  Empty Weight: 45,828 lb 20,783 kg
  Gross Weight: 83,000 lb 37,641 kg

  No. of Engines: 2
  Powerplant: General Electric J79-GE-13
  Thrust (each): 9,400 lb 4,263 kg

  Range: 4,780 miles 7,697 km
  Max Speed: 560 mph 901 km/h 487 kt
  Ceiling: 42,500 ft 12,953 m

Examples of this type may be found at
Air Force Flight Test Center MuseumEdwards AFBCalifornia

X-21A on display

Air Force Flight Test Center Museum


Recent comments by our visitors
 (James) Baxter Clifford
 Miami, FL
I was working at the Norair windtunnel when the B-66's came in. The first was delivered without incident; however, the second landed further down the runway, a little faster, and the parachute brake failed to deploy. The pilot retracted the landing gear, and the plane skidded to a stop part way across the street at the west end of the runway.

The concept started when Northop was developing the B-35 and B-49; and a celebrated Swiss expert on boundary layers, Werner Pfenninger (sp?) was hired to pursure the concept. The aircraft, according to reports, worked well, but the maintenance needs of a BLC aircraft doomed the concept.
08/25/2014 @ 10:26 [ref: 68623]
 Richard Reilly
 St, MN
I never worked directly on the X-21 but was employed by Northrop during the period 1954 - 1957 doing basic research on laminar flow that led to the X-21. I was involved in development and testing of small models of wing slot configurations and later wind tunnel and flight tests of configuration so developed. The flight tests were conducted on a Lockheed F-94 fitted with a wing "glove" containing the laminar flow test section.

I left the program in 1957 to work on the design of the inlets for the Northrop F-5.
11/26/2011 @ 14:19 [ref: 50689]
 toronto, ON
...maybe like a golfball in flight, we can dimple the wing and body of aircraft to maximize air flow over that surface.
11/04/2008 @ 08:41 [ref: 22977]
 , OTH
I think the laminar flow control could provide serious solutions to range and efficiency issues, so it's a bit of a shame that this project never fully developed.
09/19/2005 @ 11:39 [ref: 11280]
 Larry Barker
 , CA
The X-21A was the first project I worked on when I got out of college in 1961. My 5 years on the program provided some great learning experiences, so I have nothing but fond memories.
06/28/2005 @ 22:31 [ref: 10614]


Recent photos uploaded by our visitors