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Marny Skora
Phone: 757/864-6121; 757/344-6111 (mobile)

Bill Uher
Phone: 757/864-3189; 757/344-6811 (mobile)

RELEASE: 04-060

September 20, 2004


16-Foot tunnel fan blades
16-Foot fan blades with Grady McCoy. These laminated wooden fan blades move the air to provide the wind (test medium) of the wind tunnel.
NASA image: EL-1997-00111

After 63 years of research across the entire flight range, NASA Langley Research Center's 16-Ft. Transonic Wind Tunnel is running its final test. This test – a NASA-Air Force-Boeing cooperative study of a single-engine test demonstrator launch configuration – underscores the tunnel's legacy: research from propeller-driven aircraft through scramjets.

Retiring the tunnel is part of a national initiative to optimize government-owned wind tunnels. A NASA-Department of Defense alliance studying investment planning in wind tunnel assets recommended the shutdown in 2002.

Media are invited to witness the final test at 9:30 a.m., Friday, September 24. Reporters wishing to participate should call Bill Uher at 757-864-3189 by 3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, to arrange for credentials and entry on to the Center.

Shuttle model testing
NASA model of space shuttle installed in Langley's 16 foot Transonic Tunnel.
NASA image: EL-1997-00091

Since November 1941, the tunnel has supported Agency initiatives, all major aircraft companies and most major military programs in their development stages and in ongoing propulsion integration research. Its heritage reads like a "Who's Who" of famous aircraft and spacecraft: Corsair, Bell X-1, Buffalo, Thunderbolt, Hustler, Aardvark, Eagle, Hornet, Harrier, Galaxy, X-15, Apollo, Reusable Launch Vehicle, Shuttle, Tomcat, B-1, B-2, X-43, to name a few. The 16-Ft. tunnel tested everything from high-speed propellers to the shapes of the first atomic weapons to today's scramjet-powered vehicles.

Additional information on the 16-Ft. Transonic Tunnel and all Langley wind tunnels is available on the Internet at:

Additional information about NASA and Langley is available on the Internet at:

LARC Home Page

Aerial view of the 16-ft Transonic wind tunnel
An aerial view of the 16-Ft. Transonic Tunnel.
NASA image: 1997-L-02913




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