X-4 Bantam experimental aircraft. Northrop X-4 Bantam in flight. This experimental small twin-jet aircraft was built in 1948 for NACA, the precursor to NASA. It had no horizontal tail surfaces, depending instead on combined elevator and aileron control surfaces (called elevons) for control in pitch and roll attitudes. It was proposed that eliminating the horizontal tail would also do away with stability problems at fast speeds (called shock stall) resulting from the interaction of supersonic shock waves from the wings and the horizontal stabilizers. The idea had merit, but the flight control systems of that time prevented the X-4 from any success.
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