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Autonomous Formation Flight

DFRC Movie # Date Movie Description
EM-0048-02 November 9, 2001 Two F-18s in Autonomous Formation Flight Tests Over California's Mojave Desert
EM-0048-01 September 2001 Two F-18s in Autonomous Formation Flight

The airflow from the wingtips of an aircraft can provide energy, and thereby more efficient flight, to another aircraft flying in an optimum position behind the leader. Engineers and research pilots at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center explored wingtip vortex energy with a pair of F/A-18 jet fighters over California's Mojave Desert.

Central to the NASA Autonomous Formation Flight (AFF) program was a system of software and hardware under development that may enable precise formations to be held without pilot inputs. Results included fuel savings of 14 percent for the follower aircraft, as well as reduced emissions.

Last Modified: February 26, 2001
Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
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