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F-18 HARV in high-alpha flight with smoke generator

F-18 HARV in high-alpha flight with smoke generator

Movie Number   EM-0013-01
Movie Date   late 1980s
Formats   160x120 15-fps QuickTime Movie (3,455 KBytes)
320x240 30-fps QuickTime Movie (2,403 KBytes)
320x240 30-fps MPEG-1 Movie (8,917 KBytes)
F-18 HARV Still photos of the F-18 HARV are available in several resolutions at

NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, used an F-18 Hornet fighter aircraft as its High Angle-of-Attack (Alpha) Research Vehicle (HARV) in a three-phased flight research program lasting from April 1987 until September 1996. The aircraft completed 385 research flights and demonstrated stabilized flight at angles of attack between 65 and 70 degrees using thrust vectoring vanes, a research flight control system, and (eventually) forebody strakes (hinged structures on the forward side of the fuselage to provide control by interacting with vortices, generated at high angles of attack, to create side forces).

This combination of technologies provided carefree handling of a fighter aircraft in a part of the flight regime that was otherwise very dangerous. Flight research with the HARV increased our understanding of flight at high angles of attack (angle of the wings with respect to the direction in which the aircraft was heading), enabling designers of U.S. fighter aircraft to design airplanes that will fly safely in portions of the flight envelope that pilots previously had to avoid.

Keywords   F-18; High Angle-of-Attack Research Vehicle; HARV; Alpha; NASA; Dryden Flight Research Center; strakes; yaw rate expansion; pitch; roll; smoke
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