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NASA Meatball NASA Dryden F-16XL Ship #2 banner
F-16XL Ship #2 SLFC - full bottom view in flight F-16XL Ship #2 SLFC - full bottom view in flight

Photo Number: EC96-43548-2
Photo Date: Apr. 1996

Formats: 558x480 JPEG Image (46 KBytes)
1191x1024 JPEG Image (279 KBytes)
2000x1720 JPEG Image (328 KBytes)

Description: A Supersonic Laminar Flow Control (SLFC) experiment covering much of the top of the left wing (not visible in this photograph) is being conducted on NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's #2 F-16XL. The research program began back in October 1995 and this April 18, 1996 flight was one of many to gather data from the experimental wing panel on how to achieve laminar (smooth) airflow over the wing's surface at supersonic speeds.

Researchers say that successful laminar flow on an aircraft the size of a future supersonic jetliner could help reduce gross takeoff weight by as much as 10 percent, leading to increased efficiency and lower operating costs. The laminar flow experiment on the delta-wing F-16XL features an internal suction system that pulls a small part of the boundary layer of air above the wing through millions of tiny laser-cut holes in the outer skin of the experiment, creating laminar flow.

The research program is managed by NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., and involves an aerospace industry team that includes Boeing, Rockwell, and McDonnell Douglas.

Keywords: F-16XL Ship #2; SLFC; Supersonic Laminar Flow Control; left wing; smooth; suction; supersonic jetliner; glove; outer skin

Last Modified: February 6, 2002
Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
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