F-16XL Ship #2 Supersonic Laminar Flow Control experiment
The laminar flow control panel on the left wing (dark area, forward center) of NASA's F-16XL #2 is highly visible in this photo taken Oct. 13, 1995, during the first functional check flight of the aircraft following the experimental panel's installation.
The laminar flow research project, flown at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., investigated the use of a suction system built into the experimental panel and wing to remove a small part of the boundary layer of air above the aircraft wing. Researchers believe that the resulting laminar (smooth) flow over a larger portion of the wing can reduce aerodynamic drag and help reduce aircraft operating costs by improving fuel consumption. Data from the NASA research project may lead to the use of a similar suction system to achieve laminar flow on future supersonic transports and fighter aircraft.
13 Oct. 1995
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