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8-Foot Transonic Pressure Tunnel
8-Foot Transonic Pressure Tunnel

Demolition of the 8-Foot Transonic Pressure Tunnel (8-Ft TPT), nearly completed.

The 8-Ft TPT was completed in 1953 to make full use of the capabilities of the then-new "slotted throat" wind tunnel design.

The tunnel could operate at pressures between 0.1 and 2.0 atmospheres, and the air speed in the test section was continuously variable up to Mach 1.2 depending on the size of the model being tested. In 1958, a new plenum section was added, increasing testing capability to Mach 1.3.

In the 1960s, Langley engineer Richard T. Whitcomb and his team tested his revolutionary new airfoil (i.e., wing cross-section) design - which he called the supercritical airfoil - extensively in the 8-Ft TPT.

By the mid-1970s, supercritical wings were being used in the design of a wide variety of commercial and military aircraft, greatly increasing their speed, range, fuel efficiency, takeoff and landing performance, and maneuverability.

More on Supercritical Airfoil:
› centennialofflight.gov
› NASA Fact Sheet (PDF)

Through the 1980s and 1990s, Langley engineers continued to use the 8-Foot TPT for testing, including evaluations of the space shuttle design, and experiments requiring subsonic and transonic capabilities.

The tunnel was closed in 1996.

More on 8-Ft TPT:
› NASA CRGIS

Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator