Boeing might be taking the last crucial steps to prepare for its first crewed Starliner capsule spaceflight, but it’s also busy turning sci-fi into reality right here on Earth — by helping Disney build X-wing large-scale starfighters to celebrate the opening of the “Rise of the Resistance” ride at Disney World in Florida.
Earlier this week when the ride opened during an evening ceremony, X-wings “roughly the size of a family van” flew over the event, as described by The Drive, which first identified earlier spy shots of the vehicles as potentially being based on Boeing’s aerial cargo drone. Boeing has since confirmed its involvement, but they aren’t providing more info than that the X-wings were indeed their aircraft.
In the clip below, you can see the X-wings ascend vertically into the night sky, then hover and rotate before heading out. Don’t go squinting to see if you can spot Poe Dameron at the controls, however — these are unpiloted drones based most likely on the Cargo Air Vehicle design Boeing has recently shown off, which sports six rotors (you can see them in close-ups of the X-wing included in the gallery at the end of this post).
Astute observers and Star Wars fans will note that the X-wings feature the split-engine design introduced in the T-70 variant that are flown by the Resistance in the current trilogy, as opposed to the full cylinder engine design on the T-65 from the original trilogy. That makes perfect sense, since the Rise of the Resistance ride takes place during an encounter between the Resistance and the First Order during the current trilogy timeline.
As for Boeing’s CAV, it recently completed a three-minute test flight during which it demonstrated forward movement, after flying outdoors during a hover test for the first time earlier this year. The cargo drone is designed for industrial applications, and can carry up to 500 lbs of cargo… but it’s still in the testing phase, which makes this Star Wars demonstration even more interesting.