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Recent Flight Research Projects on NASA's F-15B
May 15, 2012

Channeled Center-body Inlet Experiment, 2011

The F-15B research aircraft continued to be an innovative and cost effective tool for flight-test of advanced propulsion concepts in 2011, completing the Channeled Center-body Inlet Experiment, or CCIE.

A primary research objective of the CCIE project was to define the airflow through an experimental jet engine inlet, then compare it to the airflow through a standard inlet. Inside, airflow around two interchangeable center bodies installed in an air inlet tube was measured. The structures were designed to direct and compress airflow internally through the engine.

One center body was channeled; the other had a conventional, smooth shape. The slots cut along the length of the channeled center body simulated a simple device that in an actual inlet would allow optimization of the amount of air flowing into the engine, resulting in improved airflow efficiency at a wide variety of speeds and improved fuel efficiency.

For more information: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/Features/ccie.html

Eagle Aero Probes, 2011

In 2011, #836 was used to flight test two new supersonic shockwave probes to determine their viability as research tools. Sonic boom researchers hope the Eagle Aero probes (Eagle Aeronautics, Hampton, VA) will aid their understanding of supersonic shockwaves. The ultimate goal of NASA's sonic boom research is to find ways to control the shockwaves and lessen the noise, so that it may be possible for supersonic flight to become more routine.

Read more: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/aeronautics/features/shockwave_probes.html

Supersonic Boundary Layer Transition Laminar Flow Studies, 2010 – 2012

In 2010 NASA Dryden partnered with the Aerion Corp. in the first phase of a flight experiment called the Supersonic Boundary Layer Transition, or SBLT, project, an effort accomplished through a Space Act Agreement between the two partners.

NASA Dryden provided the F-15B test bed aircraft, along with the required ground and flight support for the effort. NASA is sharing in the resulting data from the flights, which took the experiment to speeds up to Mach 2.0, or twice the speed of sound.

The flights gathered baseline data on a composite flat plate designed to calibrate instrumentation designed to investigate the extent and stability of natural laminar or smooth airflow at supersonic speeds over a special test airfoil section during second-phase flights scheduled for 2012. Engineers will use the data to determine the effect of airfoil manufacturing tolerances on laminar airflow. Aerion engineers expect the research will lead to development of a highly efficient laminar-flow airfoil design for the firm's planned supersonic business aircraft.

For more on SBLT, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/Features/sblt_tests.html

Quiet Spike, 2006 - 2009

From 2006 to 2009, Gulfstream Aerospace and NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center teamed in a project called Quiet Spike™ to investigate the suppression of sonic booms.

The project centered around a retractable, 24-foot-long lance-like spike mounted on the nose of NASA Dryden's F-15B research test bed aircraft. When the aircraft flew at supersonic speeds, the spike created three small shock waves that travelled parallel to each other all the way to the ground, producing less noise than typical shock waves that build up at the front of supersonic jets.

For more, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/NewsReleases/2006/06-39.html

Space Shuttle Return-to-Flight, 2005

As part of NASA's space shuttle return-to-flight effort following the loss of the shuttle Columbia and its crew during the STS-107 re-entry from space on Feb. 1, 2003, engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center approached NASA Dryden for help in modeling insulating foam loss from the shuttle's external fuel tanks.

The flight test effort, called the Lifting Insulating Foam Trajectory (LIFT) project, used a Dryden-designed foam ejection system to acquired data on how insulating foam debris or "divots" behaved when the small pieces were shed from shuttle external fuel tanks during launch. The LIFT flight test series at Dryden used the center's F-15B Research Testbed aircraft to test these divots in a real flight environment at speeds up to Mach 2.

For more, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/flyout/lift.html

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Page Last Updated: March 21st, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator