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At Exposition, NASA Touts The Importance of Being Air
A portable F-16 flight simulator from Dryden was a big hit with visitors to the Aerospace Testing Expo 2005. Supersonic jet testbeds and legendary wind tunnels are the exotic tools promoted by NASA engineers and pilots at Aerospace Testing Expo 2005, Nov. 8-10 at the Long Beach, Calif., Convention Center.

Image left: A portable F-16 flight simulator from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center was a big hit with visitors to the Aerospace Testing Expo 2005 in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 8-10, 2005. NASA photo by Frederick A. Johnsen

The Expo, said to attract 5,000 key players in the global aerospace industry, gave NASA the opportunity to talk about aeronautics research capabilities. Visitors lined up at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center booth to try their hand at piloting a jet flight simulator. Dryden, located in California's Mojave Desert on Edwards Air Force Base, has the capability to make simulations for a wide variety of aircraft.

Dryden is also home to supersonic jet aircraft like an F-15B that recently helped engineers model the trajectories of divots of space shuttle fuel tank insulating foam, to help prepare the shuttle fleet to return to flight. Where else can researchers book an F-15 to carry test fixtures at supersonic speeds? In addition to research conducted by NASA for NASA, the aircraft and facilities showcased at the Expo can be hired by other government agencies and industry. A point of contact for researchers interested in Dryden flight research capabilities is:

Representatives from NASA's Ames Research Center on Moffett Field near San Francisco came to the Expo to talk about wind tunnels. Ames has Agency's West Coast wind tunnel facilities, storied for their pioneering research dating back to World War II. Coupled with computer modeling techniques, wind tunnels remain a viable, and less expensive, alternative to full-scale flight testing, especially in the early stages of an aircraft development program. More information about wind tunnel capabilities at Ames is available online at Joining the Ames crew at Expo 2005 are engineers from NASA's Glenn Research Center near Cleveland, Ohio. Glenn brings a particular kind of wind tunnel expertise to the aerospace community, specializing in tests of engines and powerplant systems in tunnels built for the purpose. Glenn's research test facilities website is

Legendary among NASA aeronautical facilities is the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. At the Expo, Langley engineers like Peter Jacobs and Richard Wahls continue the wind tunnel theme, explaining Langley's various test capabilities including a transonic wind tunnel that can be pressurized and cooled with nitrogen to produce realistic flight regimes for modern tests. The gateway into Langley's testing enterprise online is There's a noticeable linkage between the NASA Centers represented at Aerospace Testing Expo 2005; advanced aeronautical concepts hatched at Langley often are flown in the clear blue desert skies over Dryden. The airframes studied at Ames and Langley can benefit from the powerplant testing at Glenn. It's all part of the first "A" in NASA – Aeronautics.

By Frederick A. Johnsen
NASA Public Affairs