In this image of the Grumman X-29, there is an 'arm' just above the exhaust nozzle leading forward and, apparently, attached to the right side of the fuselage. What is this and what is it for?

enter image description here Source: Wikipedia X-29 Article

I realize this is an experimental aircraft, but it doesn't look like sensors (like the probe off the nose), it looks more like a structure for lifting the plane.

  • $\begingroup$ Similar system on a YF-22: What is this red canister on the tail of the YF-22? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 7:45
  • $\begingroup$ Nice virtual single high lift positive cambered airfoil in action. $\endgroup$
    – user21228
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


Two X-29's were built, and the only difference between the two is that #2 has an externally mounted spin recovery chute attached to the tail. That is what you are seeing in this picture. The chute is packed in the tube structure and the "arms" are structural to distribute load.


The only significant difference between the two aircraft was an emergency spin chute deployment system mounted at the base of the rudder on aircraft No. 2.

Here is a video of the chute deployed

And here are more details from NASA on the chute system

The reason that #2 needed this and #1 did not is that #2 was going to be conducting experiments at up to 67° angle of attack, where entering a spin was much more likely. #1's AOA was limited to about 21° and was considered the "phase-1" flight dynamics platform, while #2 was the "phase-2" platform.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ To some extent, I was right, it is an arm for lifting the plane. by its chute, right out of a spin... :) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 0:57

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