A Horten Flies Again

The Horten name and flying wing concept was on show last week at the Aero Friedrichshafen show in Germany.

B&W photo of a flying wing being prepared on the tarmac
A Horten H.IX V2 being prepared for flight at Oranienburg in Feb 1945
(Photo: US Army Public Domain)

Seventy-five years after the Horten brothers designed a flying wing in response to Herman Goering’s demand for a bomber that could carry a 1,000 kg bomb load for 1,000 kilometres at 1,000 kph, a new startup aircraft manufacturer bearing their name, Horten Aircraft, has developed a flying wing light aircraft.

The Horten HX-2 is a 2-seater aircraft with a 10 metre wingspan and a 100 hp Rotax engine powering a pusher propeller. It has been developed over three years and now has just 15 flights (6 hours) on its logbook.

The point about blended wing designs is efficiency – all surfaces generate lift – resulting in less drag and greater fuel efficiency. So far, they have been used primarily by the military for stealth bomber (U.S. B-2 Spirit) and UAV roles.

Despite the attraction of fuel savings, the civil aviation industry has been reluctant to adopt flying wing designs for a number of practical reasons. Passengers like windows, are likely to get airsick if they are not seated on the centreline, and can’t be evacuated quickly enough with limited emergency exits.

White painted flying wing taxiing on tricycle undercarriage
Horton HX2 on the ground (Photo: Horten Aircraft)

The HX-2 is expected to have a range of up to about 3,500 km (2,175 miles), a cruise speed of 270 km/h (167 mph). It has been designed to accommodate alternative propulsion technologies.


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