20-Foot Spin Tunnel (645) Models and Tests A-M

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For a good resource on models tested in this facility, see Compilation of Test Data in 111 Free-Spinning Airplane Models Tested in the 15-Foot and 20-Foot Free-Spinning Tunnels. Frank S. Malvestuto, Jr., Lawrence J. Gale, and John H. Wood. 1947. RM-L7E15.


[top] A-1 Skyraider

The Douglas A-1 Skyraider, formerly the AD-1, was an attack aircraft from the late 1940s until the early 1980s. It was designed during WWII as a dive/torpedo bomber. It went through seven versions with minor improvements. Production ended in 1957, however, the aircraft continued in use until all were transferred to the South Vietnamese Air Force after 1972.

Project #AD-3W, 1952.

[top] A2F-1

The Grumman A2F-1 Intruder was the result of a 1957 Navy request for a new two-seat aircraft capable of flying in all weather conditions. The first prototype were ordered in March of 1959. The aircraft took off on its maiden flight on April 19, 1960. The A2F-1 designation stayed with the airplane until late 1962 when it was re-designated the A-6A.

The Grumman design made use of a new and advanced all-weather electronic system, named Digital Integrated Attack Navigation Equipment (DIANE), which included a pair of antennas in the large radome. Early in the flight test program, there were problems with the aft-mounted fuselage speed brakes. These brakes had perforations that were designed to smooth out airflow and prevent buffeting of the tail surfaces. However, early flight tests uncovered handling problems and airflow disruption caused by extension of these speed brakes.

Test project #364 was in June 1959.

[top] A3J-1

The North American A3J-1 became the A-5 Vigilante. This was a carrier based supersonic bomber. It saw extensive service during the Vietnam War in the tactical strike reconnaissance role. Introduced in 1958, it was retired in 1980.

Project #357 in 1957.

[top] A-4 Skyhawk

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable attack aircraft. Introduced in 1956, the aircraft was used in the Vietnam War (during which 362 were lost), the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. Although now retied from US military use, the aircraft still remains in service with non-US users.

October 1953, project #307, A4D-1

These test photos on the TA-4F are from 1976-77, project #475. The TA-4F was a standard A-4F with extra seat for an instructor, 241 built.

[top] A-6

The Grumman A-6 Intruder was a mid-wing attack aircraft used by the Navy and Marines from 1963 to 1997. A specialized derivative was the EA-6B Prowler (see below).

These test photos are from 1985.

[top] EA-6B Prowler

The Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler is an electronic warfare aircraft designed to jam radar systems and gather radio intelligence. It is a modified version of the A-6 Intruder. The first flight was in 1968, however it was not formally introduced until 1971.

1969: Project #427

Test photos date to 1984.

[top] A-7

[top] A-7A

The YA-7A made its first flight in September 1965, and began to enter Navy squadron service late in 1966. The first Navy A-7 squadrons reached operational status early in 1967, and began combat operations over Vietnam by the end of that year.

Project #420 in 1965

[top] TA-7C LTV Corsair

1975: Project 472

[top] A-7D

In November 1965, the USAF announced that it would purchase a version of the A-7, designated the A-7D, for Tactical Air Command. The Air Force ordered the A-7D with a fixed high speed refueling receptacle behind the pilot. The Navy was so impressed with the performance gain of the USAF A-7D that it ordered its own version, the A-7E.

1965 Spin Chute Tests

[top] YA-7F Strikefighter

The Vought YA-7F was a prototype transonic attack aircraft. First flight was in November 1989 after which it was cancelled and never went to production. These test photos for project 522 are from 1989.

[top] A-10 Thunderbolt

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt was a jet developed in the early 1970s to provide close air support (CAS) for ground forces by attacking tanks and other armored vehicles. The first flight was in 1972, and continued in production through 1984.

The A-10 FH-AX, project #460, was tested at NASA Langley from 1971 - 1981.

[top] A-12 Avenger

The A-12 Avenger Advanced Technology Aircraft was the Navy's version of a stealth aircraft. The program was cancelled in January 1991, the largest contract termination in DoD history. Many of the problems associated with this aircraft were attributed to the extensive use of composites.

These photos date from tests in 1990.

[top] A-26

The Douglas A-26 Invader (designated B-26 from 1948-1965) was a light bomber and attack aircraft. It was retired from US military in 1972, and finally from the Colombian Air Force in 1980. The project made use of the then-new NACA 65-215 laminar flow airfoil for the wings. The aircraft first flew in July 1942 but there were problems with engine cooling which led to cowling changes and omission of the propeller spinners on production aircraft, plus modification of the nose landing gear after repeated collapses during testing.

Project #98 in September 1942.

[top] A-39

The Kaiser-Fleetwings A-39 was a proposal for an attack aircraft. It was to be armed with four .50 caliber machine guns and two 37 mm cannons. The A-39 was canceled before any prototypes were built.

Model testing was also conducted in the Two-Dimensional Low-Turbulence Tunnel (see report).

Project #104 in September 1943.

[top] AD-1

The NASA AD-1 (Ames-Dryden-1) was an aircraft which successfully demonstrated an aircraft wing that could be pivoted obliquely from zero to 60 degrees during flight. It was first flown in 1979 and retired in 1982. Although the aircraft was associated with Ames and Dryden, this model was tested at Langley, project #492, in 1979-1981.

AD-1 at Dryden in 1980

[top] AM Mauler

The Martin AM Mauler (originally BTM) was an attack aircraft of the US Navy. Although designed during World War II, the Mauler did not enter service until 1948 due to problems with the tail hooks. The aircraft remained in front line service until 1950 and in reserve squadrons until 1953. In service the Mauler earned the nickname "Able Mable" because of its remarkable load carrying ability.

Two prototypes, the XBTM-1, were built. Project #127 photos are from December 1944 - May 1945.

[top] Apollo Capsule and Launch Escape

The Apollo spacecraft was composed of three parts designed to accomplish the American Apollo program's goal of landing astronauts on the Moon by the end of the 1960s and returning them safely to Earth. The Command Module was the only part of the spacecraft that returned with the crew to the Earth's surface.

The dynamic stability of the capsule was test Project #405 in 1962-64.

North American Aviation Photos of Apollo

[top] AT-15

One of the first projects for the former Stearman Aircraft Company, later Boeing, was a trainer for bomber crews. Breaking from tradition in which a specialized trainer was built for each function, this new aircraft would provide a complete range of training in a single airplane. Only two prototypes, designated XAT-15, were built. Due to shortage of materials the aircraft was built of welded steel tube covered with plywood and wooden wings and tail unit. The two prototype aircraft were delivered, but plans to build over 1,000 were cancelled on the United States' entry into World War II.

XAT-15 Project #77 in September 1941.

[top] AT-21

Early in WWII, the Army Air Corps began to appreciate the value of heavier armament for bombers and crews trained in the most effective deployment of these weapons. The first prototype ordered, the XAT-13, was intended to provide team training for a bomber aircraft's entire crew. Testing and evaluation of the single prototype resulted in a specialized gunnery trainer designated the AT-21 Gunner. First used in 1943, the AT-21 was retired in 1944.

XAT-13 Project #80 in September 1941.

[top] AV-8B Harrier

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II is a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) ground-attack aircraft. First flight was in 1981.

1981: Project 501

These test photos are from 1983.

Project #496: AV-8B Rockets in 1983

Test 553, 16-Foot Tunnel

Test 563, 16-Foot Tunnel

[top] Australian Trainer

This design can be identified by the intake and turbine over the nose. This was a cooperative project with Australia.


Project #507 photos date to 1984.


Also, see report.

[top] Ayers Thrush Commander

The Ayres Thrush, formerly the Snow S-2, the Aero Commander Ag Commander and the Rockwell Thrush Commander, is an American low-wing agricultural aircraft. Sold off several times, the production rights to the aircraft and the production were purchased by the Ayers facility at Albany, Georgia, a firm which had been built on retro-fitting turboprop engines to Thrush Commanders. On June 30, 2003, Ayres' assets were purchased by Thrush Aircraft, the current producer of the aircraft.

Langley had also initiated a program of research on the Thrush with tests in the Full-Scale Tunnel, the Vortex Facility, and full-scale flight tests in that time frame.

Test photo is from 1979.

[top] B-1

The Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a variable sweep bomber. It was first envisioned in the 1960s with the first flight in December 1974. The initial B-1A version was developed in the early 1970s, but its production was canceled, and only four prototypes were built. The project was not revitalized until the 1980s.

This model was tested from 1972 - 1974 as project #464.

[top] B-29

Boeing's B-29 Superfortress is one of the most famous aircraft of WWII and the Korean War. It was one of the largest aircraft to see service in World War II and a very advanced bomber for its time. It was used to carry out the atomic bombings that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was not retired from military service until 1960.

Boeing submitted its proposal in May 1940,in competition with designs from Consolidated Aircraft,Lockheed, and Douglas. Boeing received an order later in 1940 for three flying prototypes, given the designation XB-29.

The first flight was in September 1942. These photos from Project #92 are from May of that year.

[top] B-57

The Martin B-57 Canberra was developed in 1944 and made its first flight in May of 1949. The US Air Force chose the B-57 to reinforce its aging Douglas B-26 Invader fleet from a flight demonstration of several aircraft in 1951. The B-57 made a record breaking flight across the Atlantic Ocean, without refueling, in only four hours and forty minutes. It won hands-down over all the others for its time.

NASA contracted with the Air Force to operate research missions that were part of the Earth Resources Technology Satellite program (ERTS). NASA chose the WB-57F for its High Altitude Research Program. The two WB-57's were then assigned the numbers NASA 926 and NASA 928 and operate out of Johnson Space Center.

Project #428, 1965

[top] B-58

See also 648 for rotary balance tests. Test #391 in 1960.

[top] BD-5

The BD-5 was a series of small, single-seat homebuilt aircraft created in the late 1960s by US aircraft designer Jim Bede and introduced to the market primarily in "kit" form by the now-defunct Bede Aircraft Corporation in the early 1970s.

Test photos are from 1976, project #477.

[top] Bell/Boeing JVX

This is the predessessor to the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, capable of both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL). This DoD joint-services experimental aircraft (JVX) program started in 1981. These test photos are from 1984.

[top] Beech 76 Duchess

The Duchess is a cantilever low-wing monoplane with an all-metal structure, four seats, retractable tricycle undercarriage and a T-tail. First flight was in 1974 with formal introduction in 1978. Although no longer in production, it remains in flight schools across the country. See also a video of flight test.

Photo from 1979.

[top] Blended Wing Body

Photos from project #548 taken in 1999.

[top] BT-14

The BT-14 basic trainer was an advanced improvement of North American's N-16 series, with a metal covering replacing the fabric skin, and powered by a 450 hp (336 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985-25 radial piston engine. Of the 251 delivered, no original aircraft survive, but several Yale variants have been painted or partially modified as BT-14s.

Project #72 in February 1941.

[top] BTD-1

The Douglas BTD Destroyer was a torpedo bomber developed during World War II. The first production BTD-1s were completed in June 1944. With the end of the war in 1945, only 28 aircraft had been delivered, and production was cancelled. The Douglas team were already working on developing a single seat BT2D that became the Douglas #A-1 Skyraider.

The prototype, XSB2D, was designed to replace both the Curtiss 2B2C Helldiver and the Douglas SBD Dauntless. The prototype first flew on 8 April 1943, demonstrating excellent performance, and orders for 358 SB2D-1s quickly followed. The Navy changed its requirements, however, and Douglas re-worked the SB2D, producing the BTD-1 Destroyer. The orders for SB2Ds were converted to BTD-1s.

XSB2D-1 - Prototype two seat torpedo/dive bomber. Two built.

SB2D-1 - Proposed production version of XSB2D-1. 358 ordered, but order converted to BTD-1 before any completed

BTD-1 - Single seat variant. 26 built.

Photos of XSB2D-1 from Project #94 in September 1942.

Photos of BTD-1 from Project #123 taken in May 1944.

See testing in building 1146 and Early Flight Research.

[top] C-23 Sundowner

The Beechcraft Musketeer is a family of low-wing light aircraft in production from 1963 - 1983. The model C-23 was available as Custom or Sundowner.

These tests were part of the General Aviation Spin tests. See also Cessna 172, Yankee, and Piper T-Tail. Related video: Stall/Spin Evaluation of a Twin-Engined General Aviation Airplane. Related report: Flight Investigation of the Effects of an Outboard Wing-Leading-Edge Modification on Stall/Spin Characteristics of a Low-Wing, Single-Engine, T-Tail Light Airplane, Stough, H. Paul, III; DiCarlo, Daniel J.; and Patton, James M., Jr., NASA TP 2691, 1987.


These model tests were conducted in 1981.

[top] C-82

The Fairchild C-82 Packet was a twin-engine, twin-boom cargo aircraft. It was used briefly following WWII. It first flew in 1944 and was produced until 1948. The aircraft was underpowered and its airframe inadequate for heavy lifting. A quick redesign under the designation XC-82B, overcame all of the C-82A's initial problems.

Project #100 in October 1942.

[top] Cessna 172 Skyhawk

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk was first flown in 1955 and is still flown today.

1977: Project #482

These test photos date to 1978-79. These tests were part of the General Aviation Pin tests. See also C-23 Sundowner, Yankee, and Piper T-Tail. Related video: Stall/Spin Evaluation of a Twin-Engined General Aviation Airplane. Related report: Flight Investigation of the Effects of an Outboard Wing-Leading-Edge Modification on Stall/Spin Characteristics of a Low-Wing, Single-Engine, T-Tail Light Airplane, Stough, H. Paul, III; DiCarlo, Daniel J.; and Patton, James M., Jr., NASA TP 2691, 1987.

[top] Cessna 208 Caravan

The Cessna 208 Caravan is a single turboprop. The prototype first flew in December 1982. This test photos date from 1982.

[top] Cessna C-210

The Cessna 210 Centurion is a six-seat, high-performance, retractable-gear single-engine general aviation aircraft which was first flown in January 1957 and produced by Cessna until 1985.


Test photos, project #462, date to 1979.

[top] Curtiss BT2C

One of four competitors when the Navy asked for a carrier-based attack plane capable of dive bombing and torpedo bombing. Work was begun in December 1943 and first flight was in January 1946. Only nine were completed before the work was abandoned and the relationship the Navy had with Curtiss since 1911 came to a close.

These test photos date to April 1946.

[top] DC-3

The speed and range of the Douglas DC-3 revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its first flight was on the 32nd anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, December 17, 1935. There was not a prototype.

During World War II, many civilian DC-3s were drafted for the war effort and just over 10,000 US military versions of the DC-3 were built. The armed forces of many countries used the DC-3 and its military variants for the transport of troops, cargo, and wounded. The last military aircraft was retired in 1982.

Project #82 in September 1941.

[top] F2H

The McDonnel F2H Banshee was a carrier-based aircraft operating from 1948 - 1961. The prototype, the XF2D-1, was built late in 1946, a project that survived the end of WWII. The second product version, the F2H-2, was more widely used. Only 56 of the F2H-1 were built.

Project #194 in early 1946.

[top] F3H

The McDonnell F3H Demon was a swept-wing Navy jet fighter. Production of the F3H-1N was hastily ordered even before the first flight of the XF3H-1 prototype in 1951. The first test flights of the operational design did not occur until January 1953. The engine was a major disappointment, producing only half of the expected power. Worse, it was temperamental and unreliable. Of 35 F3H-1N aircraft flown with the J40 engine, eight were involved in major accidents.

This test photo of Project #319 was in 1954.

[top] F-4 Phantom II

The F-4 was a long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy. The Phantom made its maiden flight on 27 May 1958 with Robert C. Little at the controls. By the 1960s, it also had become a major part of the Marines and Air Force. It was used extensively during the Vietnam War where it served as the principal air superiority fighter for both the Navy and Air Force. Introduced in 1960, it was retired from US military use after Desert Storm. It is still active in foreign military service.

[top] F-4 Spin Test

The aircraft was subject to adverse yaw during hard maneuvering and was subject to irrecoverable spins during aileron rolls. These test photos from 1967, project #334, were spin tests on the the RF4C and the F-4.



Reconnaissance RF-4Cs made their debut in Vietnam in October 1965.

[top] F4H-1

The XF4H-1 prototype was designed to carry four semi-recessed missiles, and to be powered by two J79-GE-8 engines. Wind tunnel testing had revealed instability requiring a modification to the wings. On 25 July 1955, the Navy ordered two XF4H-1 test aircraft and five YF4H-1 pre-production fighters.

Project #334 in 1960

[top] F-4S

This model is the F-4S version of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. The following photos are of landing gear tests, #514, conducted in 1987.

[top] F-5

[top] F5D-1

The Douglas F5D-1 Skylancer was an all-weather jet fighter for the Navy. The aircraft proved easy to handle and performed well. After four aircraft had been constructed, however, the Navy cancelled its order. The project's test pilot was Alan Shepard.

After the program was cancelled, two of the aircraft were transferred to NASA in the early 1960s. NASA 212 (later becoming NASA 708) was used as a testbed for the American supersonic transport program, fitted with an ogival wing platform. This aircraft was retired in 1968. NASA 213, later becoming NASA 802 was used for simulation of abort procedures for the X-20 DynaSoar. Following the DynaSoar cancellation, it was used as a chase plane and for various other programs until it was retired in 1970.

Tested here in 1955 as Project #329, the aircraft was first flown in April 1956.

[top] F-5E

The Northrop F-5E Tiger was a variant of their F-5A, a light fighter used during the Vietnam War. First flight of the F-5E was in August 1972 and production ended in 1987.

Project #471

[top] F-5F

Project #473

[top] F-5G

The Northrop F-5G, later known as the F-20 Tigershark, was a light fighter. Development began in 1975 and the first flight was in 1982. These test photos are from 1981.

[top] F6F

The Grumman F6F Hellcat was a carrier-based fighter designed to replace the F4F Wildcat. It quickly helped secure air superiority over the Pacific Theater after its introduction in 1943. Hellcats were the least modified fighter of the war, with a total of 12,200 being built in just over two years.

The prototype XF6F-1 first flew on 26 June 1942, followed by the first Double Wasp-equipped aircraft, the XF6F-3, on 30 July 1942.

The XF6F-1 and XF6F-3 were both tested in Project #93 in August 1942.

See Also:

Test 14 in 16-Foot Transonic Tunnel

Test 144 in the Full Scale Tunnel

XF6F Hellcat

[top] F6U

The Vought F6U Pirate was the first jet fighter designed for the Navy during the 1940s. It was judged to be underpowered and unsuitable for combat. Non were issued to operational squadrons and were withdrawn from service by 1950. These test photos of the XF6U-1, project #141, date to April 1946, just months prior to the aircraft's first flight.

[top] F7F

The Grumman F7F Tigercat, designed for the new Midway-class aircraft carriers, was the first twin-engined fighter aircraft to enter service with the US Navy. Although first flown in 1943, it was not used in combat service until the Korean War. The aircraft was retired in 1954.

Two of the prototype XF7F-1 were built. Project #109 photos are from October 1943. The first flight was the following month.

[top] F7U-3

The Chance Vought F7U Cutlass was a Navy carrier-based jet fighter and fighter-bomber of the early Cold War era. The Cutlass suffered from numerous technical and handling problems throughout its short service career resulting in the deaths of four test pilots and 21 other U.S. Navy pilots, earning the nickname Gultless Cutlass. Over one quarter of all Cutlasses built were destroyed in accidents. The poor safety record was largely the result of the advanced design built to apply new aerodynamic theories and insufficiently powerful, unreliable engines.

The F7U-3 became the definitive production version, with 192 built. This model was tested as Project #321 in 1954. The aircraft was retired a few years later in 1959.

[top] F-8

The Chance Vought F-8 Crusader was referred to some as 'Vought's Last Chance' after the failure of the F7U. This Navy aircraft prototype, XF8U-1, was first flown in 1955 and exceeded the speed of sound, setting the national speed record. The Crusader was not an easy aircraft to fly, and was often unforgiving in carrier landings, and the poorly-designed, nose undercarriage made steering on the deck problematic. However, the aircraft did possess some amazing capabilities, as proved when several Crusader pilots took off with the wings folded, climbed to 5,000 feet, and then returned to land successfully.

The last active duty F-8 variants were retired in 1976. Several modified F-8s were used by NASA in the early 1970s, proving the viability of both digital fly-by-wire and supercritical wings.

[top] XF8U-1 / XF-8A

Project #311, 1955

Project #326, 1955

[top] Supercritical Wing

Project #448 in 1970-74. Modified version of F-8 to evaluate the supercritcal wing designed by Richard T. Whitcomb.

[top] F9F-9

The F9F-9 was the second prototype of the Grumman Tiger and became the F11 Tiger.

These tests photos were Project #317. With the name change, the F11F-1 was Project #317A.

[top] F-11

The Grumman F-11 Tiger was the first supersonic, single-seat carrier-based Navy fighter aircraft in operation during the 1950s and 1960s. It was originally designed the F11F in 1955 and, under the Tri Services nomenclature, became the F-11A. The F11F was used by the Blue Angels from 1957 - 1969.

The development of the F11F can be traced back to a privately funded 1952 Grumman concept to modernize the F9F-6/7 Cougar by implementing Richard Whitcomb's area rule and other advances.

Test #317A in 1957.

[top] F-14

1970-71: F-14A Project #446

Test photos from 1982

[top] F-15

1981: Project #446

1970: Project #449

1979: 3-surface, project #491

Project #497

1981: F-15 Conformal Tanks

Project #499 to evaluate the effects of conformal tanks on spin characteristics. This configuration became the F-15E with "arm pit tanks" as used in the Middle East.

Other 1981

[top] F-16

[top] YF-16

1972: Project #466

[top] F-16A

1974-80: F-16A Project #474

[top] YF-16 CCV

1977: YF-16 CCV Project #476 The initial YF-16 prototype was reconfigured in December 1975 to serve as the USAF Flight Dynamics Laboratory's Control-Configured Vehicle (CCV) testbed.


1989 This test studied the affect of engine inlet size. Note two different sized engines in photos.

[top] F-16 ATFI

The Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI) F-16 was a one-of-a-king aircraft. It made more than 700 flights in 10 different research programs between 1978 and 2000. The AFTI F-16 was retired Feb. 11, 2001, when it was flown to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and transferred to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

This model was tested in 1980, project #493.

[top] F-16XL

Tests of the General Dynamics F-16XL, a special derivative of the F-16 for which Langley played a key role.

1980 - 1982: Test #494

[top] F-18

1977-79 Project #483

1981 Project #500: F-18 Canard


These test photos of the F-18 HARV are from 1992.

1993: F/A-18E Super Hornet The extended wing root area (called LEX for leading-edge extension) for the Super Hornet is a single curve, whereas the LEX on the earlier Hornets is a compound curve. Also, the engine inlets for the Super Hornet are rectangular while the earlier Hornets have round intakes.

1994: F/A-18E Super Hornet

[top] F-22


[top] F-104

Lockheed's F-104 Starfighter is a supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the US Air Force, where it served from 1958 to 1969. NASA flew a small mixed fleet of F-104 types in supersonic flight tests and spaceflight programs until they were retired in 1994.

These test photos of Project #315 were from February 1954, one month prior to the aircraft's first flight.

[top] F-105

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was a fighter/bomber entered service in 1958. Although it was used for a majority of strike bombing missions during the early years of the Vietnam War; it was the only U.S. aircraft to have been removed from combat due to high loss rates. A total of 833 F-105s were completed before production ended in 1964. Subsequent upgrades improved the reliability. The F-105D's early career was plagued with maintenance problems and in-flight failures, with the entire fleet grounded in December 1961 and then again in June 1962.

These photos are of Project #349 in 1964.

[top] F-111

The General Dynamics F-111 "Aardvark" was developed in the 1960s and first flew in 1964. The aircraft pioneered several technologies for production aircraft, and its design influenced later variable-sweep wing aircraft. In 1961, Department of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara ordered the go ahead of Tactical Fighter Experimental (TFX) to meet requirements of both the Air Force and the Navy.

The TFX (F-111 A/B) was test project #414, conducted in 1968 - 1969.

[top] FH

The McDonnel FH (originally FD) Phantom was a twin-engined jet-fighter designed during WWII however, not formally introduced until after the war. It was the first purely jet-powered aircraft to land on a carrier. Only 62 FH-1s were built before changing to the more powerful F2H Banshee.

Three prototypes were ordered in 1943 and the designation XFD-1. The first was completed in January 1945, but was lost in a fatal crash that November. The next two prototypes were completed the following year and successfully completed take-offs and landings from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt while stationed at nearby Norfolk, VA.

The XFD-1 Project #110 was conducted in March 1945.

[top] FJ

The North American FJ Fury was a carrier-capable fighter bomber first flown in 1954. It was intended as an all-weather interceptor.

XFJ-1 Test photos for Project #146 dated June 1946

FJ-4 Test photos for Project #323 dated September 1955.

[top] Flying Wing Research

Flying Wing Research in March 1994

These photos of the 50 degree flying wing rotary balance model are from 1997.

[top] FR-1

The Ryan FR Fireball was the Navy's first aircraft with jet propulsion. Only 66 aircraft were built when the Japanese surrendered, and it was not used in combat. Introduced in 1945, it was retired in mid-1947.

Ryan received a contract for 3 XFR prototypes. The first XFR-1 made its first flight on 25 June 1944 without its jet engine. The second prototype first flew on on 20 September 1944. Test flights confirmed wind tunnel tests that revealed a lack of longitudinal stability. All three prototypes crashed by April 1945.

Project #121 in September 1944

[top] French Trainer

[top] Gemini Capsule

Gemini was NASA's second human spaceflight program, conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo, with ten manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966. Gemini achieved missions long enough for a trip to the Moon and back, perfected extra-vehicular activity (working outside a spacecraft), and orbital maneuvers necessary to achieve rendezvous and docking.

These photos from project #404 are from dynamic stability testing in 1962.

[top] HiMAT

Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology (HiMAT) was a remotely piloted vehicle flown at NASA Dryden. Supporting wind tunnel tests were conducted at NASA Langley.

[top] IAI 1125

The IAI (Israel Aircraft Industries) 1125 evolved from the IAI Westwind. The wings and fuselage were modified on this prototype which first flew in 1984. These test photos are from 1983.

[top] IDF Fighter

General Dynamics was instrumental in the Indigenous Defense Fighter, or IDF. In the late 70s and early 80s when the US was interested in improving relations with China, Taiwan was left to develop a new fighter on its own. With extensive assistance from General Dynamics, Taiwan produced the Ching-kuo Indigenous Defense Fighter. (see FAS website for extensive history.)

These test photos are from 1986.

[top] Inverted Spins

The pilot’s loss of orientation during spins, especially during unintentional inverted spins, was a rising psychological problem which led to a nunber of accidents and near-accidents with both trainer and fighter airplanes during acrobatic maneuvers and after recovery from erect spins. Research included the nature of inverted spins, the optimum control technique for recovery, and some of the apparent reasons for the pilot’s loss of orientation.

Although this research was associated with building 645, the apparatus was located on the first floor of building 646. Researcher was Stan Scher. See also Pilot's Loss of Orientation in Inverted Spins. Stanley H. Scher. 1955. TH-3531.

1955 photos of Project #325 with Stan Scher in simulator

1959 Project #325, Lewis White in simulator

[top] JPATS

Rockwell worked with several other companies in the development of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) under a joint Air Force/Navy training program. This proposed aircraft lost to Beech Aircraft in 1995. These photos are of tests on the Rockwell proposed aircraft taken in 1994.

Cessna was another company which responded to the JPATS RFP with the Cessna 526 Citation Jet. Only two prototypes were ever built. These photos of tests at LaRC are from 1993.

[top] Langley Fighter Study

1968: Project #439 for LFAX-4

This was a special LaRC study of advanced fighters compatible with the F-15 mission (see Partners in Freedom). These photos are of one of several designs. This particular model is a variable sweep configuration.

[top] Lifting Bodies

National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) researchers H. Julian Allen and A. J. Eggers, Jr. made the discovery in 1951 that a blunt shape (high drag) made the most effective heat shield. A cushion of air developing at the nose pushed the shock wave and heated shock layer forward away from the vehicle. The sphere-cone is a spherical section with a frustum or blunted cone attached. The original American sphere-cone was the Mk-2 RV (reentry vehicle), developed in 1955 by the General Electric Corp.

Entry vehicle testing, project #406, was conducted from 1963 - 64. This was part of the pre-shuttle ground and flight studies to examine the flight capability of such advanced configurations.

M2: 1963

The M2 was designed at Ames Research Center and was most famous for the crash sequence at the beginning of the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man in the 1970s.

HL-10: 1964

The HL-10 was designed at Langley Research Center.

M2-F2: 1964

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