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 C-140 JetStar in flight

C-140 JetStar in flight

Movie Number   EM-0017-01
Movie Date   1981
Formats   160x120 15-fps QuickTime Movie (1,032 KBytes)
320x240 30-fps QuickTime Movie
320x240 30-fps MPEG-1 Movie (1,694 KBytes)
C-140 Jetstar Still photos of the JetStar are available in several resolutions at

This 18-second movie clip shows the NASA Dryden Lockheed C-140 JetStar in flight with its pylon-mounted air-turbine-drive system used to gather information on the acoustic characteristics of subscale advanced design propellers. Data was gathered through 28 flush-mounted microphones on the skin of the aircraft.

From 1976 to 1987 the NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio -- today known as the Glenn Research Center -- engaged in research and development of an advanced turboprop concept in partnership with Hamilton Standard, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, the largest manufacturer of propellers in the United States. The Advanced Turboprop Project took its impetus from the energy crisis of the early 1970's and sought to produce swept propeller blades that would increase efficiency and reduce noise.

As the project progressed, Pratt & Whitney, Allison Gas Turbine Division of General Motors, General Electric, Gulfstream, Rohr Industries, Boeing, Lockheed, and McDonnell Douglas, among others, also took part. NASA Lewis did the much of the ground research and marshaled the resources of these and other members of the aeronautical community. The team came to include the NASA Ames Research Center, Langley Research Center, and the Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility (before and after that time, the Dryden Flight Research Center). Together, they brought the propeller to the flight research stage, and the team that worked on the project won the coveted Collier Trophy for its efforts in 1987.

To test the acoustics of the propeller the team developed, it mounted propeller models on a C-140 JetStar aircraft fuselage at NASA Dryden. The JetStar was modified with the installation of an air-turbine-drive system. The drive motor, with a test propeller, was mounted on a pylon atop the JetStar. The JetStar was equipped with an array of 28 microphones flush-mounted in the fuselage of the aircraft beneath the propeller. Microphones mounted on the wings and on an accompanying Learjet chase aircraft provided far-field acoustic data.

Between May 21, 1981 and August of 1982, the JetStar completed roughly 45 research flights with three different propellers in varying configurations. Dryden engineers analyzed some of the resultant data, while they sent flight tapes to Hamilton Standard, Lewis, and Langley for analysis there. The results indicated a need for noise-reduction technology to keep the noise levels down to the project goals.

An improved version of the advanced turboprop underwent flight testing in 1987 on a Gulfstream II over Georgia in 1987. These flight tests verified predictions of a 20- to 30-percent fuel savings. However, with the end of the energy crisis, the need for such savings disappeared, and the Advanced Turboprop Project did not lead to the expected industry-wide adoption of the new propeller systems on transport aircraft.

In the 1960s, the same JetStar that was used to test the advanced turboprop had been equipped with an electronic variable-stability flight-control system. Called then a General Purpose Airborne Simulator (GPAS), the aircraft could duplicate the flight characteristics of a wide variety of advanced aircraft and was used for supersonic transport and general aviation research, and as a training and support system for Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests at Dryden in 1977. Over the years, the JetStar has also been used for a variety of other flight research projects, including laminar-flow-control flight tests in the mid-1980s.

Keywords   JetStar; Advanced Turboprop Project; Lewis Research Center; Langley Research Center; Ames Research Center; Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility; Dryden Flight Research Center; Glenn Research Center; Hamilton Standard; swept propeller blades; Pratt & Whitney; Allison Gas Turbine Division of General Motors; General Electric; Gulfstream; Rohr Industries; Boeing; Lockheed; McDonnell Douglas; Collier Trophy; C-140; Learjet; Gulfstream II; energy crisis; GPAS; General Purpose Airborne Simulator; Space Shuttle; Approach and Landing Tests; ALT; laminar-flow-control; Leading Edge Flight Tests
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