Will airliners always look the way they do today? NASA thinks not, and the US research agency has bold plans to return to the heydays of X-planes. These experimental aircraft promise dramatic increases in speed or reductions in fuel burn, emissions and noise. X-planes are not cheap, and NASA has presented a 10-year, $10.6 billion budget plan to support its research into the next generation of commercial aircraft. This requires a significant hike in spending on aeronautics research, and ...

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