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October 11, 1995

Don Nolan-Proxmire
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-4727)

Keith Henry
Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
(Phone: 757/864-6120)

John Childress
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA
(Phone: 805/258-2664)

Langley Rel. 95-099 (Also Headquarters Rel. 95-175)


NASA is flight testing a new aircraft control device that promises to give fighter pilots of the future increased maneuverability and agility in air combat situations.

Two moveable "flipper-like" panels called strakes have been installed on the nose of an F-18 aircraft at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. When opened, the strakes (four feet long, six inches wide, and hinged along the bottom edge) interact with strong vortices of air generated by the nose of the aircraft. This interaction produces side forces which can give a pilot yaw (left or right) control of the aircraft's nose at high angles of attack when conventional rudders lose their effectiveness.

"Angle of attack" is a term used to describe the angle of an aircraft's body and wings in relation to its actual flight path. During maneuvers, pilots often fly at extreme angles of attack, with the nose pitched up while the aircraft continues in its original direction. This can lead to conditions in which the flow of air over the rudder is not enough for the pilot to maintain yaw control.

The strake project, called Actuated Nose Strakes for Enhanced Rolling (ANSER) is managed by the NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. The current flight project is validating extensive wind tunnel and simulation data by Langley and NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

The strake testing is being carried out with the modified F-18 NASA has been using for high angle of attack studies at Dryden since the late 1980s.

About 65 flights to study the strakes at various angles of attack and speeds are planned before the ANSER project is scheduled to conclude at the end of this year.

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