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AD-1 Oblique Wing

The Ames-Dryden (AD)-1 was a research aircraft designed to investigate the concept of an oblique (or pivoting) wing. The oblique wing could be rotated on its center pivot so that it could be set at its most efficient angle for the speed at which the airplane was flying.   AD-1 Home Page

DFRC Photo # Photo Date Image Description
  Skip links in main table AD-1 Oblique Wing Photo Collection Contact Sheet
ECN-13302B July 9, 1980 AD-1 in flight at 60 degree wing sweep
ECN-15846 July 1, 1980 AD-1 in flight at 60 degree wing sweep
ECN-13305 July 9, 1980 AD-1 in flight
EC81-14632 March 31, 1981 AD-1 in flight - photo from below
EC80-12694 April 17, 1980 AD-1 multiple exposure showing wing sweep
E-36067 June 29, 1979 AD-1 cockpit and instrument panel
AD-1 Pilots
ECN-17954 January 1, 1982 AD-1 with test pilot Richard E. Gray

Additional Information

The oblique wing was the brainchild of NASA aeronautical engineer Robert T. Jones, whose analytical and wind tunnel studies at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, California, indicated that an oblique wing, supersonic transport might achieve twice the fuel economy of an aircraft sporting more conventional wings.

Also called the "scissors" wing, it was an offshoot of the variable-sweep-wing concept, which was first investigated with the X-5 research airplanes during the early 1950's. Variable-sweep wings allow an aircraft to take advantage of the lift and handling qualities of a straight wing during the comparatively slow flight of takeoffs and landings, and the reduced drag and the better efficiency of swept-back wings during high speeds and cruise speeds. Variable-sweep wings are common on many high performance aircraft, including the F-14, F-111 and B-1.

The oblique wing on the AD-1 pivoted about the fuselage, remaining perpendicular to it during slow flight and swinging to angles of up to 60 degrees as aircraft speed increased.

The swing wing concept was first evaluated by a small, propeller-driven, remotely-piloted research vehicle (RPRV) flown at Dryden in 1976. These early techniques for gathering data about the oblique wing aircraft were applied to the twin turbojet, piloted AD-1, which was flown from 1979 to 1982.

Research pilots at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, flew the little plane a total of 79 times. Although the oblique wing is still considered a viable concept for large transports, the unpleasant flying characteristics of the AD-1 at extreme wing-sweep angles may have discouraged aircraft designers from adopting this configuration.

Vehicle Information

NASA Tail #: 805
Service Date: 1979 - 1982

Selected Links

AD-1 Movie gallery
AD-1 Graphics gallery
AD-1 Project Fact Sheet

Last Modified: April 16, 1998
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