(Note: The background section of this page uses most of the same words as the blended wing body aircraft page of Terra Futura to save time.)
China was the first to experiment with fixed-wing flight. The Chinese were the inventors of the kite. Kites were being flown for thousands of years in China before they came to Europe. Fixed-wing flight began to advance. In 1799, Sir George Cayley came up with a concept called a glider. He finally succeeded in 1853 with his own glider. Other scientists created their own gliders afterwards. Then, on December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers successfully flew the Wright Flyer. This was the first airplane.
Early airplanes used a piston engine that drove a propeller. This was the kind of plane used in World War I. After World War I, planes were used for mail. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic Ocean. This helped bring about passenger planes. The first successful passenger plane was the DC-3 in 1936. The plane was pioneered by Lindbergh's old company which now merged with other airlines to create American Airlines. The DC-3 would be the standard transport plane of World War II. After World War II, planes started to get faster. The DC-6 was the first four-engine pressurized plane of American Airlines. In 1959, American, Pan-Am, and other airlines started buying the Boeing 707, the first successful jet plane. By the early 21st century, the biggest airplane was the Airbus A380, introduced in 2005. By that time, planes were becoming more efficient and more automated. Soon, the designs would be radical.
Flying wings were researched for some time. They were researched a lot during the 1930s and the 1940s. The first successful designs came out in the 1950s. Unfortunately, they turned out unstable despite being more efficient than conventional airplanes. Interest returned in the 1980s for stealth purposes. This resulted in the B-2 Spirit, a stealth bomber operated by the US Air Force. The stability problem was solved by fly-by-wire. By the early 21st century, they were one of the mainstays of the US Air Force. However, highly sophisticated fly-by-wire was expensive. For commercial airliners, there was the blended wing body aircraft.
A blended wing body aircraft like the one produced by Boeing were cross between a conventional aircraft and a flying wing. It looked like an airborne manta ray. Lift increased and drag decreased. Efficiency increased 20%. Range increased to 7,000 miles. The most common configuration for the engines was to have them externally mounted on the rear. Mounting them internally was too expensive. Because the engines on top of the plane, there was no sonic boom. By the mid-21st century, this was the most common plane in the sky. Not only that, it was driverless. However, there was a more specialized flying wing design that was oblique.
Tech Level: 11-12
An oblique flying wing aircraft consisted of a wing and on or more jet engines. To combat instability, the aircraft uses a variable geometry wing design. This used the entire body for lift. The engines were underneath the wing to help improve stability even further. Also, sophisticated computer controls were used. Oblique Flying Wing Aircraft were used for UAVs, but it was only at the end of the 21st century that they started being used for commercial flight, and they were never common.