NASA Meatball The First Century of Flight: NACA/NASA Contribution to Aeronautics blank graphic 2000–03 space shuttles image
1915 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000–03
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1970 subheader
Airfoil Picture

1970—Richard T. Whitcomb invented the Supercritical Airfoil to delay the drag rise that accompanied transonic airflow.

F-8C Digital Fly-By-Wire Control Picture

1972—F-8C Digital-Fly-By-Wire Control System was tested. The use of electrical and mechanical systems to replace hydraulic systems for aircraft control surface actuation was flight-tested.

The NASA 737 Aircraft Picture

1974–1997—The NASA 737 research aircraft was used for flight-testing a variety of large transport aircraft technologies, such as “glass cockpits,” airborne wind shear detection, microwave landing systems, and head-up displays.

QSRA Aircarft Picture

1974–1981—Powered Lift Technology Quiet Short-haul Research Aircraft (QSRA) program developed and demonstrated technologies necessary to support short-takeoff and high-lift cargo aircraft. These technologies were employed on the C-17 Globemaster III.



Army-Bell XV-15 Picture

1976–1978—The NASA-Army-Bell XV-15 tiltrotor research aircraft hovered (1976) and then demonstrated conversion and forward flight (1978) as the first tilting rotor vehicle to solve the problems of “prop whirl.” Its success directly led to the V-22 Osprey development.



Winglets Aircarft Picture

1979–1980—Winglets, or small wings, which were applied at the tips of the aircraft’s main wing to improve vehicle aerodynamics, were first flown. Originally used on KC-135 aircraft to improve fuel efficiency, they are now universally accepted.

HiMAT Aircraft Picture

1979–1983—Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology (HiMAT) introduced on first unpiloted subscale flight-test vehicle. The outcome was used to validate technologies for future fighter aircraft. The extensive uses of composites, winglets, and canards appeared on other aircraft.

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Updated October 28, 2002
Steve Garber, NASA History Web Curator
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edited by Lisa Jirousek
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