The F-Family

F-15:F-15 ACTIVE NOZZLES -- This November 13, 1995, photograph of the F-15 Advanced Controls Technology for Integrated Vehicles (ACTIVE) at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., shows the aircraft on a test stand at sunrise. Not shown in this photograph are the aircraft's two Pratt & Whitney nozzles that can turn up to 20 degrees in any direction. These nozzles give the aicraft thrust control in the pitch (up and down) and yaw (left and right) directions. This will reduce drag and increase fuel economy or range as compared with conventional aerodynamic controls, which increase the retarding force (drag) acting upon the aircraft. Ground testing of a new thrust-vectoring concept employing the nozzles took place during the first two weeks of November and went well, with flight tests beginning in February-March 1996. These test could result in significant performance increases for military and commercial aircraft. The research program is the product of a collaborative effort by NASA, the Air Force's Wright Laboratory, Pratt & Whitney, and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace. (NASA Photo)

F-16: TLAMINAR FLOW FLIGHTS BEGIN -- The laminar flow control panel on the left wing (dark area, forward center) of NASA's F-16XL is highly visible in this photo taken Oct. 13, 1995, during the first functional check flight of the aircraft following the experimental panel's installation. The laminar flow research project, being flown at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., is investigating the use of a suction system built into the experimental panel and wing to remove the thin turbulent layer of air that flows naturally across the aircraft wing. Elimination of the turbulent layer of air can reduce aerodynamic drag and help reduce aircraft operating costs by improving fuel consumption. Data from the NASA research project may lead to the use of a similar suction system to achieve laminar flow on a future U.S. supersonic transport. (NASA Photo)

F-18:CONTROL RESEARCH -- NASA's F-18 from the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. soars over the Mojave Desert while flying the current phase of the HARV (High Alpha Research Vehicle) program. A set of control surfaces called strakes have been installed in the nose of the aircraft. The strakes, outlined in gold and white, are expected to provide improved yaw control at steep angles of attack. Normally folded flush, the units -- four feet long and six inches wide -- can be opened independently to interact with the nose vortices to produce large side forces for control. Current testing will involve evaluation of the strakes by themselves as well as combined with the aircraft's Thrust Vectoring System. The strakes were designed by NASA's Langley Research Center, then installed and flight tested at Dryden. (NASA Photo)

  PRETTY PAIR: Flying over snow covered mountains are two of the experimental aircraft that were flown at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. The Fly-By-Wire aircraft (1972-1985) and the Supercritical Wing (1971-1973), which were U.S. Navy f-8 aircraft. The F-8's were extensively modified to carry the two advanced aeronautical concepts. The Fly-By-Wire aircraft tested a control scheme that used an electronic flight control system coupled with a digital computer instead of the conventional mechanical flight controls. The new concept was the forerunner of all-electric control systems now used in military and commercial aircraft. The Supercritical Wing evaluated in flight a new airfoil shape that reduced the operating costs of aircraft by permitting them to cruise at increased speeds with no increase in costs.