“I flew one of these on Yavin, Endor, Bakura, Coruscant, Corellia and a few missions over Cambodia, Laos an 'Nam”
In the year 1999, scientists working for the McDonald's-Douglas company, which supplies fighter planes as well as fast food for the United States and other countries, produced the world's first futuristic orbital-flight-capable fighter plane.
The X-wing fighter was the most advanced tactical fighter plane in the world never to successfully fight tactically.
The McDonald's-Douglas Superior-Handling Aerodynamics Team (competitor to Lockheed Martin's "Skunk Works") was approached by the United States Air Force in late 1997 to develop a spacecraft capable of atmospheric as well as outer-space flight. The SHAT team eagerly accepted the opportunity to engage in the research and development effort, expecting windfall sales results from the production of a, innovative and unique airframe.
As the SHAT was comprised mostly of well-educated scientists with advanced higher-learning degrees, they had all seen the Star Wars movies multiple times. This unfortunately had a very strong influence on the course of their R&D activities. When they finally provided the USAF finished schematics of their mock-ups, the Government received from SHAT diagrammed replicas of both the TIE fighter and X-wing fighters.
The Government conducted an exhaustive, multi-million dollar source selection between the two designs. The competition, which included computer simulations and repeated viewings of the Star Wars films, lead to the USAF determination that the winning design was in fact the winning design from the movies. Negative aspects which quashed the potential TIE-fighter development revolved around the possibility of citizenry familiar with the trilogy mistaking TIE fighters for actual Empire craft and triggering a Nuclear Holocaust.
The X-wing was not without its drawbacks, however, as the tight time schedules and lack of sufficient rest for the SHAT team led to design oversights. Most notable among these was the missing fourth wing, causing most internal members of the team to sarcastically refer to it as a T-Wing, a Y-Wing, or a Maxi-pad (with wings).
The scientists started construction of the prototype X-wing on January 12th, 1999. On January 21st, George Lucas found out about the project and threatened to sue McDonald's-Douglas if they didn't kill the project. Quick thinking by McDD's executive leadership led to a cross-marketing approach whereby the McDD aircraft would bear the LucasFilms insignia. Lucas, never one to turn down any marketing opportunity, quickly signed on to the team in exchange for an applique decal on one of the landing gear struts.
By October 17th, 1999, McDD had finished the general structure of the X-wing, and was making plans for its maidenhead flight. The Mayor of San Francisco wanted the X-wing to fly over the Golden Gate Bridge on New Year's Eve 1999. They had until then to fully complete the plane.
Weapons Systems Design
Each of the X-wing fighter's three wings were tipped with dangerous projectile-launching systems commonly referred to as a gun. These guns were on motorized mounts which enabled them several degrees of freedom - 5 up, 3 down, 2 left, and 2 right. At a distance of 10 miles, this means that the X-Wing was capable of placing projectiles anywhere approximately .8 miles above its horizon, .5 miles below it, and some smaller number left or right.
The McDD X-wing used a sophisticated targeting system. A person, sitting in the cockpit of the X-wing fighter, would use a Joystick to point a projectile weapon at a target. By firing a round and observing its trajectory, the person could later determine whether to alter the trajectory of subsequent rounds in order to ensure a hit.
While the X-wing is in motion, it is very difficult to use this aiming system. The system becomes practically worthless when the targets are also in motion.
Assuming the targeting systems functioned effectively, however, projectiles had the distinct possibility of inflicting minor body damage to target craft or causing moderate surprise to enemy pilots.
Test Flight and the Main Problem
The first test flight was done on the December 30, 1999. It was discovered that, despite calculations, the X-wing could fly at a maximum altitude of 20 feet, at a top speed of 30 km/h. While this lead to a major increase in budget from the USAF, it came at a severe cost: The Golden Gate Bridge was 746 ft above the water.
If the fighter attempted to clear the bridge, shear forces would tear the craft apart. The McDD team welded sturdy metal plates at all major load points on the craft, however this only made the plane heavier and reduced its maximum altitude into the single digits.
Then MD had an idea. They planned to fire the X-wing fighter over the bridge using a large crossbow-type device, hoping it would soar into the air, fly over the bridge and land in a searing meteoric crash, killing the pilot but avoiding any other civilian casualties.
On the night of December 31st, 1999, MD prepared the large crossbow with the prototype X-wing fighter. The X-wing was scheduled to "fly" over the bridge at exactly 12:00. At 11:59, MD fired the crossbow.
The X-wing was shot forward at speeds well in excess of its design limitations, causing it to shred like a hurled glop of wet flour on a direct collision course with the bridge.
Failure to Launch and Evasive Manuevers
In a desperate attempt to save the experimental fighter, the pilot triggered the fighter's three guns. Alas, the bridge withstood the assault. The pilot activated the hyper drive, taking the X-wing far away from the bridge.
It seemed that the fighter was a success, although experts were concerned that removing the fourth wing also got rid of 25% its firepower, in addition to the known problems with its cripplingly limited velocity and altitude capabilities.
The loss of the fighter's fourth wing enraged Star Wars fans everywhere. How could this new fighter be of any use if it didn't look like an X? Soon, they formed a resistance movement hoping to destroy the project and restore the X-wing to its former glory. They collected as many weapons and vehicles as possible. They bought M-16s and AK-47s. They converted buses into armored personal transports and Hummers into makeshift tanks.
Soon, they stormed the factory. The factory turned to its last hope, the X-wings themselves. Pilots soared several feet into the air, firing down at the enraged fans. The fans fought back, hurling rocks at the X-wings. After a riot that raged on for a seemingly interminable fourteen minutes, the factory was destroyed.
After the humiliation of the X-wing fighter at the battle, McDonald's-Douglas canceled the X-wing project. The destroyed X-wings remain in a top-secret hangar at the McDD headquarters in Long Beach, however it is rumored that McDD built another X-wing for a wealthy Middle eastern oil baron named Darth Vader, although the US State Department has checked their records and has found that there was no Mr. Vader was on the terror watch list.