4 x 4-Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel

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Facility 1236
Building exterior

Center: Langley Research Center
Location: Hampton, Virginia
Year Built: 1947
Historic Eligibility:
Important Tests:


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Contents

[top] History

The site of the National Transonic Facility (NTF) was originally the site of Langley’s first large supersonic wind tunnel. The 4 x 4-Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel was a hurried necessity and designing began February 1945 with completion scheduled by the end of 1945. NACA launched the project of building a Mach 2 tunnel within 10 months. Contractors were hired for the mechanical design and actual fabrication of the tunnel. Near the end of 1945, the objective was near completion but a 2-year strike halted production of the compressor and operation didn't begin until 1948.

Many important military and space vehicle tests were conducted in the 4 X 4-Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel. Century Series fighters like the F-102 and F-105, the B-58 supersonic bomber, and the X-2 research aircraft were all tested here. It was such an asset to NACA that it underwent modifications in 1950 for new drive motors which increased the horsepower from 6,000 to 45,000 (continuous) and 60,000 (intermittent). During the early 1970's, operation of the 4 X 4 Supersonic Pressure Tunnel was transferred to the 16-Foot Transonic Tunnel staff. During this period the facility was used for performance tests on military aircraft such as the F-14 and F-15 (See It's yours. No, it's yours.) and for general research on nozzle performance and propulsion airframe integration. The last research run in the facility was conducted on a Single-Engine High-Pressure Air Nacelle Model on September 2, 1976 and the"official" tunnel retirement date was September 3, 1976. The tunnel was decommissioned in 1977, as plans for NTF were conceived. Parts of the 4 X 4 were integrated into NTF's design like drive motors, cooling towers, and surrounding support facilities.

[top] Photos

[top] Facility

1948 Publicity Photo1948 Publicity Photo1948 Publicity Photo1948 Publicity Photo1948 Publicity Photo1948 Aerial1948 Aerial1948 Aerial1948 Aerial1949 4x4 Test1949 Drawing of 4x4 Supersonic Tunnel1949 Map - #32Photo from 1951 Air Scoop of tunnel compressor1968 Exterior Prior to Rehab as NTF1973 Aeriel ViewL-73-7950 4X4 SPT back side


Motor Damage - Damage to the main motor in April 1951 and new motor installation in August

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[top] Personnel and Awards

1950s staff of 4X4 Supersonic Pressure Tunnel1951 Norman Smith1951 Norman Smith


[top] Models

1952-04-30 Semi-Span Delta Wing1958 Air Data Boom1958 Air Data Boom1961 unidentified model1061 unidentified model1962 Shockwaves of X-151966-02-17 Air Powered Nacelle Calibration Model1966-02-17 Air Powered Nacelle Calibration Model1972 Shock Swallowing Probe in 4' SPT4-Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel Poster


Missile Body - 19 April 1951

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Bomb Drop Model - February 1955

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North American A-3-J - August 1960

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L2-221 Little Joe Faring - August 1960

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Grumman Naval Fighter Attack Experimental (VFAX) model Schlieren - Around 1968

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Parachute Test - 6 January 1970

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F-14 Model - 28 October 1970 - 31 August 1971

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Magnus Effects Investigation 5 May 1970 - 1 June 1970

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LFAX Model 10 December 1970 - 15 January 1971

L-70-8740.jpgL-70-8741.jpgL-70-8742.jpgConfiguration 71, 76 Propulsion afterbodyConfiguration 71, 76 Propulsion afterbodyConfiguration 71, 76 Propulsion afterbodyConfiguration 71, 76 Propulsion afterbodyConfiguration 71, 76 Propulsion afterbodyConfiguration 71, 76 Propulsion afterbodyL-71-3335.jpgOil Flow Study for m=22 Config 8Oil Flow Study for m=22 Config 8Oil Flow Study for m=22 Config 8Oil Flow Study for m=22 Config 8Oil Flow Study for m=22 Config 8Oil Flow Study for m=22 Config 8Oil Flow Study for m=2.2 ptj p=1Oil Flow Study for m=2.2 ptj p=1Oil Flow Study for m=2.2 ptj p=1Oil Flow Study for m=2.2 ptj p=1Oil Flow Study for m=2.2 ptj p=1Oil Flow Study for m=2.2 ptj p=1Oil Flow Study for m=22 Config 8Oil Flow Study for LFAXOil Flow Study for LFAXOil Flow Study for LFAXOil Flow Study for LFAXOil Flow Study for LFAXOil Flow Study for LFAXOil Flow Study for LFAXOil Flow Study for LFAX


F-15 - 2 February 1971 - 18 January 1972

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McDonnell Douglas Space Shuttle 27 July 1971

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Modified B-1 - March 1973

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Isentropic Total Pressure Probe - 6 December 1971 - 14 May 1973

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Twin Plug and Cascade Plug - 10 March 1972 - 31 April 1972

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Grumman Twin-Engine Spacing Study - June 1968

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Jet Exhaust 1976 (includes last run in tunnel 9-2-1976)

March: Twin Nonaxisymmetric NozzleMarch: Twin Nonaxisymmetric NozzleMarch: Twin Nonaxisymmetric NozzleAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle.  Last run in 4'SPTAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle.  Last run in 4'SPTAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle.  Last run in 4'SPTAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle - Ed Durham and Troy Wilson1976-08-17 to 09-02 Jet Exhaust of Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle. Last run in 4'SPTAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle - Troy Wilson, Ng Ging and Ed Durham1976-08-17 to 09-02 Jet Exhaust of Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle. Last run in 4'SPTAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle - Ng Ging and Ted Carson1976-08-17 to 09-02 Jet Exhaust of Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle. Last run in 4'SPTAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle - Troy Wilson, Ed Durham, Ng Ging and Ted Carson1976-08-17 to 09-02 Jet Exhaust of Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle. Last run in 4'SPTAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle - Ng Ging and Ed Durham1976-08-17 to 09-02 Jet Exhaust of Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle. Last run in 4'SPTAugust:Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle - Ted Carson1976-08-17 to 09-02 Jet Exhaust of Axisymmetrical Boattail Nozzle in Mach 2.2 Free Stream Flow

[top] Films

1950s: Body Vapor Screen Tests Langley 4-by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel. M=2.0

1959: Test of Preliminary Hysail Model in the 4'x4' Supersonic Pressure Tunnel; Nozzle set for M=20 (Actual Mach No. 1.86; Stagnation Pressure 1.0-1.5)

Convair B58A Model in Langley 4' SPT for Test No. 233


[top] Documents

Wind-Tunnel Calibration of a Combined Pitot-Static Tube and Vane-Type Flow-Angularity Indicator at Mach Numbers of 1.61 and 2.01. 1956. Archibald R. Sinclair and William D. Mace. TN 3808.

Characteristics of Nine Research Wind Tunnels. NACA. 1957.

Measurement of Static Pressure on Aircraft. William Gracey. TR 1364.

1965 Brief Description of Langley's 4 X 4 Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel (TM X-1130)

1966 Technical Facilities Resume for the 4 X 4 Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel

1966 Technical Facilities Resume for the 150 Cubic Feet Space Vacuum

1966 Summary of new High Vacuum Space Structures Facility

1974 Technical Facilities Resume for 4 X 4 Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel

1974 Technical Facilities Resume for 150 Cubic Feet Space Vacuum

1974 facility resume for the Space Vacuum which was removed in 1977 to build the NTF

1977 Facility Resume

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