Text Size
Dryden Flight Research Center - Flight Research Milestones 1970s - Aeronautics Research Broadened
March 21, 2013

Gary Krier was an aerospace research pilot and engineer at Dryden.Gary Krier was an aerospace research pilot and engineer at Dryden. He was the first pilot to fly the F-8 Digital Fly-by-Wire aircraft and the Integrated Propulsion Control System F-111 with digital fuel and inlet control. (NASA Photo) The aeronautical disciplines studied during this time included the supercritical wing; digital fly-by-wire; lifting bodies; and high-speed, high-altitude flight. The Center was renamed the Dryden Flight Research Center to honor Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, one of the United States' most preeminent aeronautical engineers.

Oct. 31, 1979 - Last research flight of the NASA YF-12 research program. With Fitz Fulton as pilot, and Victor Horton flight test engineer on a YF-12A, one of three YF-12's flown during the program. Nearly 300 research flights explored high-speed, high-altitude flight, and yielded information on thermal stress, aerodynamics, high-altitude environment, propulsion, and flight control systems.

Oct. 26, 1977 - Last of 13 captive and free-flight tests with Space Shuttle prototype Enterpriseproving the shuttle glide and landing characteristics.

Mar. 26, 1976 - NASA Flight Research Center was dedicated in honor of the late Hugh L. Dryden. NASA personnel numbered more than 560. Aug. 5, 1975 - NASA pilot John Manke landed X-24B lifting body on the Edwards runway, showing that a space shuttle-like vehicle could be landed safely on a designated runway after returning from orbit.

Aug. 1974 - A Boeing 747 (tail number 905) was used for the first time in the wake vortex research program to study ways of reducing the turbulence trailing behind large aircraft before the 747 was sent to Boeing for modification as a future Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

May 25, 1972 - First flight of aircraft with all-electric fly-by-wire flight control system, the NASA F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire research aircraft, with Gary Krier the pilot. Concept now used in many aircraft, including space shuttles.

Oct. 14, 1971 - A Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche became a testbed to develop remotely piloted aircraft techniques from a ground-based cockpit. Concept lead to successful projects such as three-eighths scale F-15/spin research vehicle, Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology (HiMAT) vehicle, and Boeing 720 jetliner purposely flown to a controlled crash landing in an FAA test of anti-misting fuel additive.

Mar. 9, 1971 - First flight of supercritical wing flown by NASA pilot Tom McMurtry. Unusual wing shape, tested on a modified F-8, increased flight efficiency and lowered fuel usage. Concept now used widely on commercial and military aircraft.

Oct. 14, 1970 - NASA Research pilots Tom McMurtry and Hugh Jackson reached a Dryden single-day record of six missions flown, in an F-104B while deployed to obtain data for the "Big Boom" experiments that sought to focus the energy from a sonic boom over a limited area.

June 2, 1970 - Bill Dana conducted the first flight of the M2-F3 lifting body.

March 5, 1970 - First NASA checkout flight of YF-12A, Fitz Fulton pilot.

Image Token: 
Image Token: 
Page Last Updated: August 15th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator