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Nov. 18, 2002

Jonas Diño
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650/604-5612 or 650/604-9000



News media representatives are invited to observe wind tunnel tests and displays of original Wright Brothers artifacts on November 20, 2002 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST, in building N260 at NASA Ames Research Center. Artifacts, many not displayed for more than 50 years, include original hand-written documents and prototype wing models from the Wright Brothers Aeronautical Engineering Collection. Prototype wing models will be tested in NASA's wind tunnels to confirm data originally collected by the Wright Brothers. NASA and Wright Again Project engineers will be available for interviews. From San Francisco, take US 101 south; from San Jose, take US 101 north to the Moffett Field exit. US media, bring valid picture ID. Foreign media should call Jonas Diño at 650/604-5612 to request clearance to attend.


The excitement of 100 years of flight will come to life as NASA recreates tests conducted by the Wright Brothers in preparation for their historic first flight in North Carolina.

On Nov. 18-22, engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, in collaboration with the Wright Again Project will test original airfoils (wing prototypes), created by the Wright Brothers for the 1903 Wright Flyer. The airfoils will be tested in NASA Ames' 2-foot by 2-foot low-speed wind tunnel in building N260 according to the procedures detailed in the Wright Brothers' original test records. All results will be posted on the Internet for students, educators and aviation enthusiasts to follow. Accompanying the airfoils are other rarely displayed Wright Brothers documents, replicas of the force measurement balances and glider models.

"One of NASA’s missions currently is to inspire the next generation of explorers, and educational programs of this type fit in perfectly. This project is unique in that we will have some of the Wright Brothers' original artifacts to test and display here at NASA Ames" said Dr. Rabindra Mehta, NASA research scientist. "I think this is going to be exciting not only for us, but also for the local population, in particular, the younger generation."

Sponsored the National Business Aviation Association, Washington, DC, the Wright Again project is a partnership between Cislunar Aerospace Inc., San Francisco, Calif., and The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia, Penn., which houses the Wright Aeronautical Engineering Collection. Wright Again recreates the Wright Brothers' flight activities between 1899 and 1903 with lesson plans and additional educational material available on the Wright Again Project website.

"2003 will be the 100-year anniversary of the first powered flight. Part of the project is to go through and recreate the different steps and show students the mathematics and the engineering that the Wrights went through," said Dr. Jani Macari Pallis, principal investigator of the Wright Again Project. "We'll be seeking the same lift and drag characteristics that the Wrights were looking for, to determine which airfoil shapes had the best performance."

During the tests at NASA Ames, the original 1901 wind tunnel data will be compared to data collected using a modern wind tunnel. Engineers hope that the tests provide researchers and historians insights as to the Wright Brothers' thinking on aerodynamics.

"We suspect that Wilbur and Orville Wright would be delighted to see how their designs perform against modern engineering standards," said Karen Elinich, director of educational technology at The Franklin Institute Science Museum. "When Orville placed the Wright Aeronautical Engineering Collection in the care of The Franklin Institute, he could hardly have imagined that these objects would one day be on display at an agency like NASA."

More information about the Wright Again Project can be found on the Internet at:

Related Images and audio can found at:

High quality audio files suitable for radio broadcast are available at this URL:


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