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F-16XL Ship #2 SLFC - Laminar flow research flight over Grand Canyon F-16XL Ship #2 SLFC - Laminar flow research flight over Grand Canyon

Photo Number: EC96-43762-3
Photo Date: Oct. 1996

Formats: 558x480 JPEG Image (86 KBytes)
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Description: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's modified F-16XL conducted testing on laminar flow during an Oct. 1996 research mission over the Grand Canyon. The research involves a delta-winged F-16XL modified with a "glove" which is made of titanium. The glove contained more than 10 million holes and had a suction system attached to the lower surface which wass comprised of tubes, valves and a compressor. During research flight the suction systems pulled a small part of the boundary layer of air through the glove's porous surface to create laminar (or smooth) air flow.

Researchers believe that laminar flow conditions can reduce aerodynamic drag (friction) and contribute to reduced operating costs by improving fuel consumption and lowering aircraft weight.

This Supersonic Laminar Flow Control (SLFC) experiment represented a collaborative effort between NASA and aerospace industry (specifically Boeing, Rockwell, and McDonnell Douglas), with Boeing assembling the panel and McDonnell Douglas designing the suction system.


Keywords: F-16XL Ship #2; titanium glove; Supersonic Laminar Flow Control; SLFC; boundary layer air; smooth; laminar; suction; compressor


Last Modified: February 6, 2002
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