The American company Grumman was the developer of the experimental X-29 aircraft that first flew on December 14, 1984. It was based on an F-5A Freedom Fighter airframe, but it also used some elements from the F-16. The X-29's most notable feature was its forward-swept wings, making it look in some ways as though it was flying backwards! Indeed, it was only the world's second aircraft to fly with such a wing configuration, with the first having been the German WWII-era Junkers Ju 287. In addition, the X-29 used advanced technologies such as carbon-fiber composite materials, canard control surfaces and a digital fly-by-wire system that was necessary due to its inherently unstable aerodynamic design. This computerized flight control system input up to 40 corrections per second. Just two X-29 aircraft were produced and NASA used them for a test program. The first supersonic flight occurred in 1985, and the General Electric F404 turbofan engine enabled a maximum speed of Mach 1.8.
Dragon Warbirds has recreated a 1/144 scale miniature of the second X-29 prototype (serial no. 82-0049) resplendent in the correct colors and markings. Aircraft No.2 performed 120 flights under Phase 2 of the test program. It was differentiated from the first in that it was fitted with a spin recovery parachute mounted at the base of the rudder. The reason for this was that the aircraft was destined to be engaged in Phase 2 research concerning high angles of attack (up to 67 degrees). Today the original is on display at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, but now collectors can appreciate their very own model of this unique forward-looking and forward-swept aircraft.