Bringing the Tunnel to Industry and Academia

NASA has always justified its existence by making itself available for outside research. In an effort to advertise the services and capabilities of Langley’s wind tunnels, NASA published the technical memorandum, "Characteristics of Major Active Wind Tunnels at the Langley Research Center,” by William T. Shaefer, Jr., in July 1965. Unlike the NACA’s goal of assisting industry through the use of its pioneering wind tunnels at a time when there were few facilities to rely upon, NASA’s wind tunnels first and foremost met the needs of the Agency’s fundamental research and development. Secondary to that priority were projects that were important to other Government agencies. Two specific committees han­dled U. S. Army, Navy, and Air Force requests concerning aircraft and missiles and propulsion projects. Finally, the aerospace industry had access to NASA facilities, primarily the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnels, on a fee basis for the evaluation of proprietary designs. No NASA wind tun­nel was to be used for testing that could be done at a commercial facil­ity, and all projects had to be "clearly in the national interest.”[625]

NASA continued to "sell” its tunnels on through the following decades. In 1992, the Agency confidently announced:

NASA’s wind tunnels are a national technological resource. They have provided vast knowledge that has contributed to the development and advancement of the nation’s aviation industry, space program, economy and the national security. Amid today’s increasingly fierce international, commercial and technological competi­tion, NASA’s wind tunnels are crucial tools for helping the United States retain its global leadership in aviation and space flight.[626]

According to this rhetoric, NASA’s wind tunnels were central to the continued leadership of the United States in aerospace.

As part of the selling of the tunnels, NASA initiated the Technology Opportunities Showcase (TOPS) in the early 1990s. The program distrib­uted to the aerospace industry a catalog of available facilities similar to a real estate sampler. A prospective user could check a box marked "Please Send More Information” or "Would Like To Discuss Facility Usage” as part of the process. NASA wind tunnels were used on a space-available basis. If the research was of interest to NASA, there would be no facility charge, and the Agency would publish the results. If a manufacturing concern had a proprietary interest and the client did not want the test results to be public, then it had to bear all costs, primarily the use of the facility.[627]

The TOPS evolved into the NASA Aeronautics Test Program (ATP) in the early 21st century to include all four Research Centers at Langley, Ames, Glenn, and Dryden.[628] The ATP offered Government, corpora­tions, and institutions the opportunity to contract 14 facilities, which included a "nationwide team of highly trained and certified staff, whose backgrounds and education encompass every aspect of aerospace test­ing and engineering,” for a "wide range” of experimental test services that reflected "sixty years of unmatched aerospace test history.” The ATP

and, by extension, NASA maintained that they could provide clients test results of "unparalleled superiority.”[629]





9- by 15-Foot Low-Speed Wind Tunnel

Mach 0 to 0.2


14- by 22-Foot Subsonic Tunnel

Mach 0 to 0.3


20-Foot Vertical Spin Tunnel

Mach 0 to 0.08


Icing Research Tunnel

Mach 0.06 to 0.56


1 1-Foot Transonic Unitary Plan Facility

Mach 0.2 to 1.45


National Transonic Facility

Mach 0.1 to 1.2


Transonic Dynamics Tunnel

Mach 0.1 to 1.2


10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel

Mach 0 to 0.4/2.0 to 3.5


8- by 6-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel

Mach 0.25 to 2.0/0.0 to 0.1


4-Foot Supersonic Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel

Mach 1.5 to 2.9/2.3 to 4.6


9- by 7-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel

Mach 1.55 to 2.55


Propulsion Systems Laboratory

Mach 4


8-Foot High-Temperature Tunnel

Mach 3, 4, 5, 7


Aerothermodynamics Laboratory

Mach 6, 10


Wake Vortex Research

The 1970s inauguration of widebody jumbo jets posed special prob­lems for smaller aircraft because of the powerful streaming wake vor­tices generated by aircraft such as the Boeing 747, Douglas DC-10, and Lockheed L-1011. After several unexplained accidents caused by aircraft
upset, and urged by organizations such as the Flight Safety Foundation and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) asked NASA and the U. S. Air Force to initiate a flight-test program to evaluate the effect of the wingtip vortex wake gen­erated by large jet transport airplanes on a variety of smaller airplanes. The program began in December 1969 and, though initially ended in April 1970, was subsequently expanded and continued over the next decade. Operations were performed at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, under the supervision of the NASA Flight Research Center in cooperation with the Ames Research Center and the U. S. Air Force, using a range of research aircraft including 747, 727, and L-1011 airliners, and smaller test sub­jects such as the T-37 trainer and QF-86 drones, supported by extensive wind tunnel and water channel research.[848]

Wake Vortex Research

The Boeing 747 subsequently modified as carrier aircraft for the Space Shuttle Orbiter furnished NASA the opportunity to undertake vortex upset using the Lear Jet and Cessna T-37 trainer shown here flying formation on the larger aircraft. NASA.

Subsequently, in 1972, NASA intensified its wake vortex research to seek reducing vortex formation via aerodynamic modification and addition of wind devices. By the beginning of 1974, Alfred Gessow, the Chief of Fluid and Flight Dynamics at NASA Headquarters, announced the Agency was optimistic that wake vortex could be eliminated "as a constraint to airport operations by new aerodynamic designs or by ret­rofit modifications to large transport aircraft.”[849] Overall, the tests, and ones that followed, had clearly demonstrated the power of wake vortices to constrain the operations GA aircraft; light jet trainers and business aircraft such as the Lear Jet were buffeted and rolled, and researchers found that the vortices maintained significant strength up to 10 miles behind a widebody. As a result of NASA’s studies, the FAA introduced a requirement for wake turbulence awareness training for all pilots, increased separation distances between aircraft, and mandated verbal warnings to pilots during the landing approach at control-towered air­ports when appropriate. NASA has continued its wake turbulence studies since that time, adding further to the understanding of this fascinating, if potentially dangerous, phenomenon.[850]

Working with Sandia—Avocet and SHIRP

Low-cost RPRVs have contributed to the development of hypersonic vehi­cle concepts and advanced cruise-missile technology. The first such proj­ect undertaken at Dryden originated with the Sandia Winged Energetic Reentry Vehicle (SWERVE).

Sandia National Laboratories developed the SWERVE under an exploratory tactical nuclear weapon program. With a slender cone-shaped body and small triangular fins that provided steering, the SWERVE was capable of maneuvering in the range from Mach 2 to Mach 14. Several flight tests in the late 1970s and early 1980s demonstrated maneuver­ability at high speeds and high angles of attack. Three SWERVE vehi­cles of two sizes were lofted to altitudes of 400,00 to 600,000 feet on a Strypi rocket and reentered over the Pacific Ocean. The SWERVE 3 test in 1985 included a level flight-profile segment to extend the vehicle’s range. Because technologies demonstrated on SWERVE were applica­ble to development of such hypersonic vehicles as the proposed X-30 National Aero-Space Plane (NASP), Sandia offered to make a SWERVE – derived vehicle available to defense contractors and Government agen­cies for use as a hypersonic testbed.[972] During the early 1980s, NASA’s Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST) began studying technologies that would enable development of efficient hypersonic aircraft and aerospace vehicles. As part of the program, OAST officials explored the possibility of a joint NASA-Sandia flight program using a SWERVE-derived vehicle to provide hypersonic entry and flight data. Planners wanted to use the capabilities of both NASA and Sandia to refine the existing SWERVE configuration to enable data measurement in specific flight regimes of interest to NASA engineers.[973] The SWERVE shape was optimized for hypersonic performance, but for a transatmo­spheric vehicle to be practical, it had to be capable of subsonic opera­tion during the approach and landing phases of flight. In 1986, Sandia and NASA officials agreed to participate in a joint project involving an unpowered, radio-controlled model called Avocet. Based on the SWERVE shape, the model retained the slender conical fuselage but featured the addition of narrow-span delta wings. It was approximately 9 feet long and weighed about 85 pounds, including instrumentation. For flight tests, the Avocet vehicle was dropped from a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub owned by Larry G. Barrett of Tehachapi, CA. The test plan called for 30 to 40 flights to collect data on low-speed performance, handling qualities, and stability and control characteristics.[974] Dryden engineers Henry Arnaiz and Robert Baron managed the Avocet project. R. Dale Reed worked with Dan Garrabrant and Ralph Sawyer to design and build the model. Principal investigators included Ken Iliff, Alex Sim, and Al Bowers. Larry Schilling developed a simulation for pilot training. James B. Craft, Jr., and William Albrecht served as systems and operations engineers, respec­tively. Robert Kempel and Bruce Powers developed the flight control sys­tem. Eloy Fuentes provided safety and quality assurance. Ed Schneider served as primary project pilot, with Einar Enevoldson as backup.[975] All tests were conducted at the China Lake Naval Weapons Center, about 40 miles northeast of Edwards. The model was carried to an altitude of about

8,0 feet beneath the wing of the Super Cub and released above a small dry lakebed. Schneider piloted the vehicle from a ground station, using visual information from an onboard television camera. After accomplishing all test points on the flight plan, Schneider deployed a parachute to bring the vehicle gently to Earth. Testing began in spring 1986 and concluded November 2. Results indicated the configuration had an extremely low lift-to-drag ratio, probably unacceptable for the planned National Aero­Space Plane then being considered in beginning development studies.[976] In 1988, Sandia officials proposed a follow-on project to study the Avocet configuration’s cruise and landing characteristics. Primary objectives included demonstration of powered flight and landing characteristics, determination of the long-range cruise capabilities of a SWERVE-type vehicle, and the use of Avocet flight data to determine the feasibility of maneuvering and landing such a vehicle following a hypersonic research flight. The new vehicle, called Avocet II, was a lightweight, radio – controlled model weighing just 20 pounds. Significant weight reduction was made possible, in part, through the use of an advanced miniature instrumentation system weighing 3 pounds—one-tenth the weight of the instrumentation used in Avocet I. Powered by two ducted-fan engines, the Avocet II was capable of taking off and landing under its own power.

NASA Dryden officials saw several potential benefits to the projects. First was the opportunity to flight-test an advanced hypersonic config­uration that had potential research and military applications. Second, continued work with Sandia offered access to a wealth of hypersonic experience and quality information. Third, Avocet II expanded the NASA – Sandia SWERVE program that had become the heart of NASA’s Generic Hypersonic Program, a research project initiated at Dryden and managed by Dr. Isaiah Blankson at NASA Headquarters. Finally, the small-scale R/C model effort served as an excellent training project for young Dryden engineers and technicians. Moreover, total costs for vehicle, instrumen­tation, flight-test operations, miscellaneous equipment, data analysis, and travel were estimated to be $237,000, truly a bargain by aeronauti­cal research standards.[977] In 1989, a team of researchers at Dryden began work on Avocet II under the direction of Robert Baron. Many of the orig­inal team members were back, including William Albrecht, Henry Arnaiz, R. Dale Reed, Alex Sim, Eloy Fuentes, and Al Bowers. They were joined by engineers Gerald Budd, Mark Collard, James Murray, Greg Noffz, and James Yamanaka. Charles Baker provided additional project man­agement oversight. Others included ground pilot Ronald Gilman, crew chief David Neufeld, model builder Robert Violett, and instrumentation engineer Phil Hamory. James Akkerman built and supplied twin ducted – fan engines for the model.[978] For flight operations, the team traveled to the remote test site in a travel trailer equipped with all tools and supplies necessary for onsite maintenance and repair of the model. After setting up camp on the edge of a dry lakebed, technicians unloaded, preflighted, and fueled the model. If the configuration had been changed since the pre­vious flight, an engineer performed a weight-and-balance survey prior to takeoff. When the crew chief was satisfied that the vehicle was ready, the flight-test engineer reviewed all pertinent test cards to ensure that each crewmember was aware of his responsibilities during each phase of flight. The ground pilot followed a structured sequence of events outlined in the test cards in order to optimize the time available for research maneuvers.

Typically, the pilot flew a figure-eight ground track that produced the longest-possible steady, straight-line flight segment between turns at each end of the test range. The ground pilot controlled the Avocet II using a commercially available nine-channel, digital pulse-code modu­lation radio-control system. Since loss of the vehicle was considered an acceptable risk, there was no redundant control system. Software per­mitted preprogrammed mixing of several different control functions, greatly simplifying vehicle operation. After landing, recorded test data were downloaded to a personal computer for later analysis.[979] Initial taxi tests revealed that the model lacked sufficient thrust to achieve takeoff. Modifications to the inlet solved the problem, but the model had a very low lift-to-drag ratio, which made it difficult to maneuver. The turn­ing radius was so large that it was nearly impossible to keep the model within visual range of the ground pilot, so the flight-test engineer pro­vided verbal cues regarding heading and attitude while observing the model through binoculars. The pilot executed each research maneu­ver several times to ensure data quality.[980] The first flight took place November 18, 1989, and lasted just 2 minutes. Ron Gilman lost sight of the model in the final moments of its steep descent, resulting in a hard landing. Over the course of 10 additional flights through February 1991, Gilman determined the vehicle’s handling qualities and longitudinal sta­bility, while engineers attempted to define local flow-interference areas using tufts and ground-based high-speed film.[981] The instrumentation system in the Avocet II vehicle, consisting of a Tattletale Model 4 data logger with 32 kilobytes of onboard memory, provided research-quality quantitative analysis data on such performance parameters as lift-curve slope, lift-to-drag ratio, and trim curve. An 11-channel, 10-bit analog – to-digital converter capable of operating at up to 600 samples per sec­ond measured analog signals. The 2.2-ounce device, measuring just 3.73 by 2.25 by 0.8 inches, also featured a 128-kilobyte memory expansion board to increase data-storage capability.

The pilot quantified aircraft performance by executing a quasistatic pushover/pull-up (POPU) maneuver. Properly executed, a single POPU maneuver could simultaneously characterize all three of the desired flight-test parameters over a wide angle-of-attack range. Structural vibra­tion at high-power settings—such as those necessary to execute a POPU maneuver—caused interference with onboard instrumentation. Attempts to use different mounting techniques and locations for both engines and accelerometers failed to alleviate the problem. Eventually, engineers developed a POPU maneuver that could be flown in a steep dive with the engines at an idle setting. In this condition, the accelerometers pro­vided usable data.[982] Researchers at Dryden teamed up with Sandia again for the Royal Amber Model (RAM) project, later renamed the Sandia Hybrid Inlet Research Program (SHIRP). This project included tests of subscale and full-scale radio-controlled models of an advanced cruise missile shape designed by Sandia under the Standoff Bomb Program. The goal of the SHIRP experiments was to provide flight-test data on an experimental inlet configuration for use in future weapons, such as the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, then under development. Sandia engineers designed an engine inlet to be "stealthy”—not detect­able by radar—yet still capable of providing good performance charac­teristics such as a uniform airflow with no separation. Airflow exiting the inlet and entering the turbine had to be uniform as well. The design of the new inlet was complex. Instead of a standard rectangular chan­nel, the cross-sectional area of the inlet varied from a high aspect ratio V-shape at the front to an almost circular outlet at the back end.[983] Sandia funded Phase I flight tests of a 40-percent-scale RAM from August 1990 through August 1991. Because the project was classified at the time, flight operations could not take place at Dryden. Instead, the test team used secure range areas at Edwards Air Force Base North Base and China Lake Naval Weapons Center.[984] The first flight took place in August 1990 at China Lake. Typically, the model was released from the R/C mother ship at an altitude of about 600 feet. The ground pilot performed a series of gliding and turning maneuvers, followed by a controlled pullup prior to impact. Results from the first four flights indicated good longitudinal and directional stability and neutral lateral stability.

The next three flights took place in February 1991 at North Base, just a few miles northeast of Dryden. During the first of these, a recov­ery parachute deployed at 150 feet but came loose from the vehicle. The ground pilot made a horizontal landing on the runway centerline. On the next flight, the vehicle exhibited good controllability and stability in both pitch and yaw axes at airspeeds between 35 and 80 miles per hour (mph). The pilot elected to land on the runway rather than use the recovery parachute. The final 10 flights took place at China Lake, ending July 13, 1991.[985] During fall 1991 and early 1992, researchers proposed tasks and milestones for the second phase of testing, and in February 1992, RAM Phase II was reorganized as the unclassified SHIRP proj­ect. During spring 1992, however, conditions arose at both Sandia and Dryden that required modification of the proposed schedule.

In support of a Sandia initiative to conduct a prototype flight dem­onstration program, the stabilizing and lifting surfaces for the baseline Standoff Bomb were reevaluated based on the most recent wind tunnel data and taking into account the current mass properties and flight pro­files. This revised geometry was used for the definition of wind tunnel models to collect data on static aerodynamics, diffuser distortion, and total pressure loss. In order to use the revised definition for the SHIRP flight-test models, the schedule had to be compromised.[986] An initial flight-test series in December 1992 involved launching a subscale model called Mini-SHIRP from the R/C Mothership. The team also constructed two full-scale vehicles, each 14 feet long and weighing about 52 pounds. SHIRP-1 was uninstrumented, unpowered, and lacked inlets. SHIRP-2 featured the experimental inlet configuration and was pow­ered by two electric ducted-fan engines to extend the glide range and provide short periods of level flight (10-15 seconds). The ground pilot controlled the vehicle through a fail-safe pulse-code modulation radio­uplink system. The test vehicles were equipped with deployable wings and pneumatically deployable recovery parachutes. The two full-scale vehicles, tested in 1993, were launched from the modified Rans S-12 (also known as "Ye Better Duck”) remotely piloted ultralight aircraft.

Flight operations began with takeoff of the mother ship from North Base followed by launch and landing of the test article in the vicinity of Runway 23 on the northern part of Rogers Dry Lake. The SHIRP flights demonstrated satisfactory lateral, longitudinal, and directional static and dynamic stability. The vehicle had reasonable control authority, required only minimal rudder deflection, and had encouraging wing-stall char­acteristics.[987] NASA project personnel included Don Bacon, Jerry Budd, Bob Curry, Alex Sim, and Tony Whitmore. Contractors from PRC, Inc., included Dave Eichstedt, Ronald Gilman, R. Dale Reed, B. McCain, and Dave Richwine. Todd M. Sterk, Walt Rutledge, Walter Gutierrez, and Hank Fell of Sandia worked with NASA and PRC personnel to analyze and document the various test data. In a September 1992 memoran­dum, Gutierrez noted that Sandia personnel recognized the SHIRP effort as "an opportunity to learn from the vast flight-test experience avail­able at Dryden in the areas of experimental testing and data analysis.”

In acknowledging the excellent teaming opportunity for both Sandia and NASA, he added that, "Dryden has an outstanding rep­utation for parameter estimation of aerodynamic characteristics of flight-test vehicles.”[988]

XB-70 Early Flight-Testing Experience

A byproduct of this and other incidents was that Ship 1 was eventually limited to Mach 2.5 because of flight safety concerns of the skin shed­ding. But Ship 2 made its first flight July 17, 1965, and it had numerous improvements. Skin bonding had been improved, an automated air inlet control system had been installed, wing dihedral had been increased to 5 degrees to improve lateral directional stability, and fuel tank No. 5 could now be filled. NASA planned to use Ship 2 for its research program; an extensive instrumentation package recording over 1,000 parameters such as temperature, pressure, and accelerations was installed in the weapons bay for use when NASA took over the direction of the flight – test program. Ship 2 still had some of the gremlins that seemed to haunt the XB-70, mainly connected to the complex landing gear. Flight 37 on AV-2 resulted in the pilots having to do some in-flight maintenance when the nose gear door position prevented proper retraction or extension of the nose gear. The activity was widely advertised as the pilot using "a paperclip” to short an electrical circuit to allow exten­sion (actually, there were no paperclips on board; USAF pilot Joseph Cotton fashioned the device from a wire on his oxygen mask). But AV-2 showed that the high-speed skin-shedding problem had indeed been solved. Beginning in March 1966, AV-2 routinely spent 50 minutes to 1 hour at speeds from Mach 2.5 to Mach 2.9. And on May 19, AV-2 reached the (contractual) holy grail of 32 minutes at Mach 3 (actually up to 3.06). Skin stagnation temperature was over 600 °F. With accom­plishment of that goal, NASA moved to put a new pilot in the program.

NASA X-15 veteran test pilot Joe Walker had been undergoing delta wing training and preparation to fly the B-70 as the program moved to the second stage of flight test. National Sonic Boom Program (NSBP) tests were flown June 6, 1966, to prepare for the official change over to NASA on June 15, but on June 8, disaster struck, dramatically chang­ing the program.

Подпись: 10That day, AV-2 took off on a planned flight-test mission that would include a photo session at the end of the sortie with a number of other aircraft powered by engines made by General Electric.[1083] One of the air­craft was a Lockheed F-104N Starfighter flown by Joe Walker, who was observing the mission as he prepared to fly the B-70 on the next sor­tie. During the photo shoot, which required close formation flight, his F-104 was seen to fly within 30-50 feet of the Valkyrie’s right wingtip, which had been lowered to the 20-degree intermediate droop position. As the photo session ended, the F-104 tail struck the XB-70 wingtip, causing the F-104 to roll violently to the left and pass inverted over the top of the bomber, shearing off most of the twin vertical tails and caus­ing the Starfighter to erupt in flames, killing Walker. The XB-70 subse­quently entered an inverted spin, from which recovery was impossible. Company test pilot Joe Cotton ejected using the complex encapsulated ejection seat and survived; USAF copilot Carl Cross did not eject and died in the ensuing crash. The accident was not related to the Valkyrie design itself; nevertheless, the loss of the improved Ship 2 and its com­prehensive instrumentation package meant that AV-1 would now have to become the NASA research aircraft. A new instrumentation package was installed in AV-1, but the Mach 2.5 speed limit imposed on AV-1 for the skin shedding problem and the workload-intensive manual inlets meant the program orientation could be less of an analog for the national SST program, which was now approaching the awarding of contracts for an SST with speeds of Mach 2.7 to 3.

Aircraft Icing: The Tyranny of Temperature

By James Banke

Подпись: 12 The aerospace environment is a realm of extremes: low to high pres­sures, densities, and temperatures. Researchers have had the goal of improving flight efficiency and safety. Aircraft icing has been a prob­lem since the earliest days of flight and, historically, researchers have artfully blended theory, ground-and-flight research, and the use of new tools such as computer simulation and software modeling codes to ensure that travelers fly in aircraft well designed to confront this hazard.


NE FEBRUARY EVENING in the late 1930s, a young copilot strode across a cold ramp of the Nashville airport under a frigid moon­lit sky, climbing into a chilled American Airlines DC-2. The young airman was Ernest Gann, later to gain fame as a popular nov­elist and aviation commentator, whose best-remembered book, The High and the Mighty, became an iconic aviation film. His captain was Walter Hughen, already recognized by his peers as one of the greats, and the two men worked swiftly to ready the sleek twin-engine trans­port for flight. Behind them, eight passengers settled in, looked after by a flight attendant. They were bound for New York, along AM-23, an air route running from Nashville to New York City. Preparations com­plete, they taxied out and took off on what should have been a routine 4-hour flight in favorable weather. Instead, almost from the moment the airliner’s wheels tucked into the plane’s nacelles, the flight began to deteriorate. By the time they reached Knoxville, they were bucking an unanticipated 50-mile-per-hour headwind, the Moon had vanished, and the plane was swathed in cloud, its crew flying by instruments only. And there was something else: ice. The DC-2 was picking up a heavy load of ice from the moisture-laden air, coating its wings and engine cowlings, even its propellers, with a wetly glistening and potentially deadly sheen.[1197]

Suddenly there was "an erratic banging upon the fuselage,” as the propellers began flinging ice "chunks the size of baseballs” against the fuselage. In the cockpit, Hughen and Gann desperately fought to keep their airplane in the air. Its leading edge rubber deicing boots, which shattered ice by expanding and contracting, so that the airflow could sweep it away, were throbbing ineffectively: the ice had built up so thick and fast that it shrouded them despite their pulsations. Carburetor inlet icing was building up on each engine, causing it to falter, and only delib­erately induced back-firing kept the inlets clear and the engines run­ning. Deicing fluid spread on the propellers and cockpit glass had little effect, as did a hot air hose rigged to blow on the outside of the wind­shield. Worst of all, the heavy icing increased the DC-2’s weight and drag, slowing it down to near its stall point. At one point, the plane began "a sudden, terrible shudder,” perilously on the verge of a fatal stall, before Hughen slammed the throttles full-forward and pushed the nose down, restoring some margin of flying speed.[1198]

Подпись: 12After a half hour of desperate flying that "had the smell of eternity” about it, the battered DC-2 and its drained crew entered clear skies. The weather around them was still foreboding, and so, after trying to return to Nashville, finding it was closed, and then flying about for hours searching for an acceptable alternate, they turned for Cincinnati, Hughen and Gann anxiously watching their fuel consumption. Ice— some as thick as 4 inches—still swathed the airplane, so much so that Gann thought, "Where are the engineers again? The wings should somehow be heated.” The rudder was frozen in place, and the elevators and ailerons (controlling pitch and roll) moveable only because of Hughen and Gann’s constant control inputs to ensure they remained free. At dawn they reached Cincinnati, where the plane, bur­dened by its heavy load of ice, landed heavily. "We hit hard,” Gann recalled,"and stayed earth-bound. There is no life left in our wings for bouncing.” Mechanics took "two hours of hard labor to knock the ice from our wings, engine cowlings, and empennage.” Later that day, Hughen and Gann completed the flight to New York, 5 hours late. In the remarks section of his log, explaining the delayed arrival, Gann simply penned "Ice.”[1199]

Gann, ever after, regarded the flight as marking his seasoning as an airman, "forced to look disaster directly in the face and stare it down.”[1200] Many others were less fortunate. In January 1939, Cavalier, an Imperial Airways S.23 flying boat, ditched heavily in the North Atlantic, breaking up and killing 3 of its 13 passengers and crew; survivors spent 10 cold hours in heaving rafts before being rescued. Carburetor icing while flying through snow and hail had suffocated two of its four engines, leaving the flying boat’s remaining two faltering at low power.[1201] In October 1941, a Northwest Airlines DC-3 crashed near Moorhead, MN, after the heavy weight of icing prevented its crew from avoiding terrain; this time 14 of 15 on the plane died.[1202]

Подпись: 12Even when nothing went wrong, flying in ice was unsettling. Trans World Airlines Captain Robert "Bob” Buck, who became aviation’s most experienced, authoritative, and influential airman in bad weather fly­ing, recalled in 2002 that

A typical experience in ice meant sitting in a cold cockpit, windows covered over in a fan-shaped plume from the lower aft corner toward the middle front, frost or snow covering the inside of the windshield frames, pieces as large as eight inches growing forward from the wind­shield’s edges outside, hunks of ice banging against the fuselage and the airplane shaking as the tail swung left and right, right and left, and the action was transferred to the rudder pedals your feet were on so you felt them saw back and forth beneath you The side winds were frosted, but you could wipe them clear enough for a look out at the engines. The nose cowlings collected ice on their lead­ing edge, and I’ve seen it so bad that the ice built forward until the back of the propeller was shaving it! But still the airplane flew. The indicated airspeed would slow, and
you’d push up the throttles for more power to overcome the loss but it didn’t always take, and the airspeed some­times went down to alarming numbers approaching stall.[1203]

Подпись: 12Icing, as the late aviation historian William M. Leary aptly noted, has been a "perennial challenge to aviation safety.”[1204] It’s a chilling fact that despite a century of flight experience and decades of research on the ground and in the air, today’s aircraft still encounter icing conditions that lead to fatal crashes. It isn’t that there are no preventative measures in place. Weather forecasting, real-time monitoring of conditions via sat­ellite, and ice prediction software are available in any properly equipped cockpit to warn pilots of icing trouble ahead. Depending on the size and type of aircraft, there are several proven anti-icing and de-icing systems that can help prevent ice from building up to unsafe levels. Perhaps most importantly, pilot training includes information on recognizing icing con­ditions and what to do if an aircraft starts to ice up in flight. Unfortunately the vast majority of icing-related incidents echo a theme in which the pilot made a mistake while flying in known icing conditions. And that shows that in spite of all the research and technology, it’s still up to the pilot to take advantage of the experience base developed by NASA and others over the years.

In the very earliest days of aviation, icing was not an immediate con­cern. That all changed by the end of the First World War, by which time airplanes were operating at altitudes above 10,000 feet and in a variety of meteorological conditions. Worldwide, the all-weather flying needs of both airlines and military air service, coupled with the introduction of blind-flying instrumentation and radio navigation techniques that enabled flight in obscured weather conditions, stimulated study of icing, which began to take a toll on airmen and aircraft as they increasingly operated in conditions of rain, snow, and freezing clouds and sleet.[1205]

The NACAs interest in icing dated to the early 1920s, when America’s aviation community first looked to the Agency for help. By the early 1930s, both in America and abroad, researchers were examining the pro­cess of ice formation on aircraft and means of furnishing some sort of surface coatings that would prevent its adherence, particularly to wings, acquiring data both in actual flight test and by wind tunnel studies. Ice on wings changed their shape, drastically altering their lift-to-drag ratios and the pressure distribution over the wing. An airplane that was per­fectly controllable with a clean wing might prove very different indeed with just a simple change to the profile of its airfoil.[1206] Various mechan­ical and chemical solutions were tried. The most popular mechanical approach involved fitting the leading edges of wings, horizontal tails, and, in some cases, vertical fins with pneumatically operated rubber "de-icing” boots that could flex and crack a thin coating of ice. As Gann and Buck noted, they worked at best sporadically. Other approaches involved squirting de-icing fluid over leading edges, particularly over propeller blades, and using hot-air hoses to de-ice cockpit windshields.

Подпись: 12Lewis A. "Lew” Rodert—the best known of ice researchers—was a driven and hard-charging NACA engineer who ardently pursued using heat as a means of preventing icing of wings, propellers, carburetors, and windshields.[1207] Under Rodert’s direction, researchers extensively instrumented a Lockheed Model 12 light twin-engine transport for icing research and, later, a larger and more capable Curtiss C-46 transport. Rodert and test pilot Larry Clausing, both Minnesotans, moved the NACAs ice research program from Ames Aeronautical Laboratory (today the NASA Ames Research Center) to a test site outside Minneapolis. There, researchers took advantage of the often-formidable weather con­ditions to assemble a large database on icing and icing conditions, and

on the behavior of various modifications to their test aircraft. These tests complemented more prosaic investigations looking at specific icing problems, particularly that of carburetor icing.[1208]

Подпись: 12The war’s end brought Rodert a richly deserved Collier Trophy, American aviation’s most prestigious award, for his thermal de-icing research, particularly the development and validation of the concept of air-heated wings.[1209] By 1950, a solid database of NACA research existed on icing and its effects upon propeller-driven airplanes.[1210] This led many to conclude that the "heroic era” of icing research was in the past, a judg­ment that would prove to be wrong. In fact, the problems of icing merely changed focus, and NACA engineers quickly assessed icing implications for the civil and military aircraft of the new gas turbine and transonic era.[1211] New high-performance interceptor fighters, expected to acceler­ate quickly and climb to high altitudes, had icing problems of their own, typified by inlet icing that forced performance limitations and required imaginative solutions.[1212] When first introduced into service, Bristol’s otherwise-impressive Britannia turboprop long-range transport had persistent problems caused by slush ice forming in the induction system of its Proteus turboprop engines. By the time the NACA evolved into the

National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958, the fundamen­tal facts concerning the types of ice an aircraft might encounter and the major anti-icing techniques available were well understood and widely in use. In retrospect, as impressive as the NACA’s postwar work in icing was, it is arguable that the most important result of NACA work was the establishment of ice measurement criteria, standards for ice-prevention systems, and probabilistic studies of where icing might be encountered (and how severe it might be) across the United States. NACA Technical Notes 1855 (1949) and 2738 (1952) were the references of record in estab­lishing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards covering aircraft icing certification requirements.[1213]

The Early Days

Early NACA research on stalling and spinning in the 1920s quickly con­cluded that the primary factors that governed the physics of stall behav­ior, spin entry, and recovery from spins were very complicated and would require extensive commitments to new experimental facilities for stud­ies of aerodynamics and flight motions. Over the following 85 years, efforts by the NACA and NASA introduced a broad spectrum of spe­cialized tools and analysis techniques for high-angle-of-attack condi­tions, including vertical spin tunnels, pressurized wind tunnels to define the impact of Reynolds number on separated flow phenomena, special free-flight model test techniques, full-scale aircraft flight experiments, theoretical studies of aircraft motions, piloted simulator studies, and unique static and dynamic wind tunnel aerodynamic testing capability.[1275]

By the 1930s, considerable progress had been made at the NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory on obtaining wind tunnel aerodynamic data on the effectiveness of lateral control concepts at the stall and understanding control effects on motions.[1276] A basic understand­ing began to emerge on the effects of design variables for biplanes of the era, such as horizontal and vertical tail configurations, wing stagger,
and center-of-gravity location on spinning. Flight-testing of stall char­acteristics became a routine element of handling quality studies. In the race to conquer stall/spin problems, however, simplistic and regretta­ble conclusions were frequently drawn.[1277]

Подпись: 13The sudden onset of World War II and its urgency for aeronauti­cal research and development overwhelmed the laboratory’s plodding research environment and culture with high-priority requests from the military services for immediate wind tunnel and flight assessments, as well as problem-solving activities for emerging military aircraft. At that time, the military perspective was that operational usage of high-angle – of-attack capability was necessary in air combat, particularly in classic "dogfight” engagements wherein tighter turns and strenuous maneu­vers meant the difference between victory and defeat. Tactical effective­ness and safety, however, demanded acceptable stalling and spinning behavior, and early NACA assessments for new designs prior to indus­try and military flight-testing and production were required for every new maneuverable aircraft.[1278] Spin demonstrations of prototype aircraft by the manufacturer were mandatory, and satisfactory stall character­istics and recoveries from developed spins required extensive testing by the NACA in its conventional wind tunnels and vertical spin tunnel.

The exhausting demands of round-the-clock, 7-day workweeks left very little time for fundamental research, but researchers at Langley’s Spin Tunnel, Free-Flight Tunnel, Stability Tunnel, and 7- by 10-Foot Tunnels initiated a series of studies that resulted in advancements in high-angle-of-attack design procedures and analysis techniques.[1279]

On the Up and Up: NASA Takes on V/STOL

Подпись: G. Warren HallOn the Up and Up: NASA Takes on V/STOLOn the Up and Up: NASA Takes on V/STOLOn the Up and Up: NASA Takes on V/STOLThe advent of vertical flight required mastery of aerodynamics, pro­pulsion, and flight control technology. In the evolution of flight charac­terized by progressive development of the autogiro, helicopter, and various convertiplanes, the NACA and NASA have played a predom­inant role. NASA developed the theoretical underpinning for vertical flight, evaluated requisite technologies and research vehicles, and expanded the knowledge base supporting V/STOL flight technology.


NE OF THE MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS in the history of avi­ation has been the development of practical Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, exemplified by the emergence of the helicopter in the 1930s and early 1940s, and the vectored-thrust

jet airplane of the 1960s. Here indeed was a major challenge that con­fronted flight researchers, aeronautical engineers, military tacticians, and civilian planners for over 50 years, particularly those of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). While perhaps not regarded by aviation aficionados as being as glamorous as the exper­imental craft that streaked to new speeds and altitudes, early vertical flight testbeds were likewise revolutionary at the other end of the perfor­mance spectrum, in vertical ascents and descents, low-speed controlla­bility, and hover, areas challenging accepted knowledge and practice in aerodynamics, propulsion, and flight controls and controllability.[1330]

The accomplishment of vertical flight was as challenging as inventing the airplane itself. Only four decades after Kitty Hawk were vertical take­off, hovering, and landing aircraft beginning to enter service. These were, of course, the first helicopters: successors to the interim rotary wing auto­giro that relied on a single or multiple rotors to give them Vertical/Short

Take-Off and Landing (V/STOL) performance. Before the end of the Second World War, the helicopter had flown in combat, proved its value as a life­saving craft, and shown its adaptability for both land – and sea-based operation.[1331] The faded promises of many machines litter the path to the modern V/STOL vehicle. The dedicated research accompanying this work nevertheless led to a class of flight craft that have expanded the use of civil and military aeronautics, saving the lives of nearly a half million people over the last seven decades. The oil rigger in the Gulf going on leave, the yachtsman waiting for rescue, and the infantryman calling in gunships to fend off attack can all thank the flight researchers, particularly those of the NACA and NASA, who made the VTOL aircraft possible.[1332]

Подпись: 14Helicopters matured significantly during the Korean war, setting the stage for their pervasive employment in the war in Southeast Asia a decade later.[1333] Helicopters revolutionized warfare and became the iconic image of the Vietnam war. On the domestic front, outstanding helicop­ter research was being carried on at NASA Langley. Of particular note were the contributions of researchers and test pilots such as Jack Reeder, John P. Campbell, Richard E. Kuhn, Marion O. McKinney, and Robert

H. Kirby. In the late 1950s, military advisers realized how much of the Nation’s defense structure depended on a few large airbases and a few large aircraft carriers. Military interests were driven by the objective of achieving operations into and out of unprepared remotely dispersed sites independent of conventional airfields. Meanwhile, commercial air transportation organizations were pursuing ways to cut the amount of real estate required to accommodate new aircraft and long airstrips.[1334]

Подпись: The Vought-Sikorsky V-1 73 "Flying Flapjack” was an important step on the path to practical V/STOL aircraft. NASA. Подпись: 14

Since NASAs inception in 1958, its researchers at various Centers have advanced the knowledge base of V/STOL technology via many special­ized test aircraft and flying techniques. Some key discoveries include the realization that V/STOL aircraft must be designed with good Short Take­Off and Landing (STOL) performance capability to be cost-effective, and that, arguably, the largest single obstacle to the implementation of STOL powered-lift technology for civil aircraft is the increasingly objection­able level of aircraft-generated noise at airports close to populated areas.

But NASA interest in fixed wing STOL and VTOL convertiplanes predates formation of the Agency, going back to the unsuccessful com­bined rotor and wing design by Emile and Henry Berliner tested at College Park Airport, MD, in the early 1920s. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, NACA researcher Charles Zimmerman undertook pioneer­ing research on such craft, his interest leading to the Vought V-173, popularly known as the "Flying Flapjack,” because of its peculiar near­circular wing shape. It led to an abortive Navy fighter concept, the Vought XF5U-1, which was built but never flown. The V-173, however, contrib­uted notably to the emerging understanding of V/STOL aircraft chal­lenges and performance. Aside from this sporadic interest, the Agency’s research staff did not place great emphasis upon such studies until the postwar era. Then, beginning in the early 1950s, a veritable explosion of interest followed, with a number of design studies and flight-test

Подпись: 14 On the Up and Up: NASA Takes on V/STOL

programs undertaken at Langley and Ames laboratories (later the NASA Langley and Ames Research Centers). This interest corresponded to ris­ing interest in the military in the possibility of vertical flight vehicles for a variety of missions.

For example, the U. S. Navy sponsored two unsuccessful experimen­tal "Pogo” tail-sitting turboprop-powered VTOL fighters: the Lockheed XFV-1 and the Convair XFY-1. Only the XFY-1 subsequently operated in true VTOL mode, and flight trials indicated that neither represented a
reasonable approach to practical VTOL flight. The Air Force developed a pure-jet equivalent: the VTOL delta-winged Ryan X-13. Though widely demonstrated (even outside the Pentagon), it was equally impracticable.[1335] The U. S. Army’s Transportation and Research Engineering Command sponsored ducted-fan flying jeep and other saucerlike circular flying platforms by Avro and Hiller, with an equivalent lack of success. Overall, the Army’s far-seeing V/STOL testbed program, launched in 1956 and undertaken in cooperation with the U. S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research, advanced a number of so-called "VZ”-designated research aircraft explor­ing a range of technical approaches to V/STOL flight.[1336] NATO planners envisioned V/STOL close-air support, interdiction, and nuclear attack aircraft. This interest eventually helped spawn the British Aerospace Harrier strike fighter of the late 1960s and other designs that, though they entered flight-testing, did not prove suitable for operational service.[1337]

. Onsite in Zhukovsky

The United States Pilot Evaluation Team (USPET)[1477] arrived in Moscow on Sunday, September 6, 1998, and was met by Professor Alexander Pukhov and a delegation of Tupolev officials. (Ill fortune had struck the team when NASA Langley research pilot Robert Rivers severely broke his right leg and ankle 2 weeks before departure. Because visas for work in Russia required 60 days’ lead time and because no other pilot could be prepared in time, Rivers remained on the team, though it required a great deal of perseverance to obtain NASA approval. Tupolev pre­sented relatively few obstacles, by contrast, to Rivers’s participation.) Pukhov was the Tupolev Manager for the Tu-144 experiment and a for­mer engineer on the original design team for the airplane. At Pukhov’s insistence, USPET was billeted in Zhukovsky at the former KGB san­itarium. Sanitaria in the Soviet Union were rest and vacation spas for the various professional groups, and the KGB sanitarium was similar to a large hotel. The sanitarium was minutes from the Zhukovsky Air

Development Center and saved hours of daily commute time that oth­erwise might have been wasted had the team been housed in Moscow.

Подпись: 15The next day began a very intense training period lasting 2 weeks but was punctuated September 15 by the first flight by American pilots, a subsonic sojourn. The training was complicated by the language differ­ences but was facilitated by highly competent Russian State Department translators. Nevertheless, humorous if not frustrating problems arose when nontechnical translators attempted to translate engineering and piloting jargon with no clear analogs in either language. The training consisted of one-on-one sitdown sessions with various Tu-144 systems experts using manuals and charts written in Russian. There were no English language flight or systems manuals for the Tu-144, and USPET’s attempt over the summer to procure a translated Tu-144 flight manual was unsuccessful. Training included aircraft systems, life support, and flight operations. Because flights would achieve altitudes of 60,000 feet and because numerous hull penetrations had occurred to accommodate the instrumentation system, all members of the flightcrew wore partial pressure suits. Because of the experimental nature of the flights, a man­ual bailout capability had been incorporated in the Tu-144. This involved dropping through a hatch just forward of the mammoth engine inlets. The hope was that the crewmember would pass between the two banks of engines without being drawn into the inboard inlets. Thankfully, this theory was never put to the test.

Much time was spent with the Tupolev flightcrew for the experi­ment, and great trust and friendship ensued. Tupolev chief test pilot Sergei Borisov was the pilot-in-command for all of the flights. Victor Pedos was the navigator, in actuality a third pilot, and Anatoli Kriulin was the flight engineer. Tupolev’s chief flight control engineer, Vladimir Sysoev, spent hours each day with USPET working on the test plan for each pro­posed flight. Sysoev and Borisov represented Tupolev in the negotiations to perform the maneuvers requested by the various researchers.[1478] An effective give-and-take evolved as the mutual trust grew. From Tupolev’s perspective, the Tu-144 was a unique asset, into which the fledgling free- market company had invested millions of dollars. It provided badly needed funds at a time when the Russian economy was struggling, and

the payments from NASA via Boeing and IBP were released only at the completion of each flight. The Tupolev crewmembers could not afford to risk the airplane. At the same time, they were anxious to be as coop­erative as possible. Careful and inventive planning resulted in nearly all of the desired test points being flown.

The Quest for Safety Amid Crowded Skies

James Banke

Since 1926 and the passage of the Air Commerce Act, the Federal Government has had a vital commitment to aviation safety. Even before this, however, the NACA championed regulation of aeronau­tics, the establishment of licensing procedures for pilots and aircraft, and the definition of technical criteria to enhance the safety of air operations. NASA has worked closely with the FAA and other aviation organizations to ensure the safety of America’s air transport network.

HEN THE FIRST AIRPLANE LIFTED OFF from the sands of Kitty Hawk during 1903, there was no concern of a midair collision with another airplane. The Wright brothers had the North Carolina skies all to themselves. But as more and more aircraft found their way off the ground and then began to share the increasing num­ber of new airfields, the need to coordinate movements among pilots quickly grew. As flight technology matured to allow cross-country trips, methods to improve safe navigation between airports evolved as well. Initially, bonfires lit the airways. Then came light towers, two-way radio, omnidirectional beacons, radar, and—ultimately—Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation signals from space.[181]

Today, the skies are crowded, and the potential for catastrophic loss of life is ever present, as more than 87,000 flights take place each day over the United States. Despite repeated reports of computer crashes or bad weather slowing an overburdened national airspace system, air- related fatalities remain historically low, thanks in large part to the technical advances developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but especially to the daily efforts of some 15,000 air traffic controllers keeping a close eye on all of those airplanes.[182]

The Quest for Safety Amid Crowded Skies

From an Australian government slide show in 1 956, the basic concepts of an emerging air traffic control system are explained to the public. Airways Museum & Civil Aviation Historical Society, Melbourne, Australia (www. airwaysmuseum. com).

All of those controllers work for, or are under contract to, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is the Federal agency respon­sible for keeping U. S. skyways safe by setting and enforcing regula­tions. Before the FAA (formed in 1958), it was the Civil Aeronautics Administration (formed in 1941), and even earlier than that, it was the Department of Commerce’s Aeronautics Bureau (formed in 1926). That that administrative job today is not part of NASA’s duties is the result of decisions made by the White House, Congress, and NASA’s prede­cessor organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), during 1920.[183]

At the time (specifically 1919), the International Commission for Air Navigation had been created to develop the world’s first set of rules for governing air traffic. But the United States did not sign on to the con­vention. Instead, U. S. officials turned to the NACA and other organiza­tions to determine how best to organize the Government for handling

all aspects of this new transportation system. The NACA in 1920 already was the focal point of aviation research in the Nation, and many thought it only natural, and best, that the Committee be the Government’s all­inclusive home for aviation matters. A similar organizational model existed in Europe but didn’t appear to some with the NACA to be an ideal solution. This sentiment was most clearly expressed by John F. Hayford, a charter member of the NACA and a Northwestern University engineer, who said during a meeting, "The NACA is adapted to function well as an advisory committee but not to function satisfac­torily as an administrative body.”[184]

So, in a way, NASA’s earliest contribution to making safer skyways was to shed itself of the responsibility for overseeing improvements to and regulating the operation of the national airspace. With the FAA secure in that management role, NASA has been free to continue to play to its strengths as a research organization. It has provided techni­cal innovation to enhance safety in the cockpits; increase efficiencies along the air routes; introduce reliable automation, navigation, and com­munication systems for the many air traffic control (ATC) facilities that dot the Nation; and manage complex safety reporting systems that have required creation of new data-crunching capabilities.

This case study will present a survey in a more-or-less chronolog­ical order of NASA’s efforts to assist the FAA in making safer skyways. An overview of key NASA programs, as seen through the eyes of the FAA until 1996, will be presented first. NASA’s contributions to air traffic safety after the 1997 establishment of national goals for reducing fatal air acci­dents will be highlighted next. The case study will continue with a sur­vey of NASA’s current programs and facilities related to airspace safety and conclude with an introduction of the NextGen Air Transportation System, which is to be in place by 2025.

Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST)

Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST)Подпись: NASA's work with improving the National Airspace System has won the Agency two Collier Trophies: one in 2007 for its work with developing the new next-generation ADS-B instrumentation, and one in 2008 as part of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, which helped improve air safety during the past decade. NASA.When NASA’s Aviation Safety Program was begun in 1997, the agency joined with a large group of aviation-related organizations from Government, industry, and academia in forming a Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) to help reduce the U. S. com­mercial aviation fatal accident rate by 80 percent in 10 years. During those 10 years, the group analyzed data from some 500 accidents and thou­sands of safety incidents and helped develop 47 safety enhancements.[249] In 2008, the group could boast that the rate had been reduced by 83 percent, and for that, CAST was awarded avi­ation’s most prestigious honor, the Robert J. Collier Trophy.