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NASA Meatball NASA Dryden F-18 Systems Research Aircraft (SRA) banner
F-18 SRA during flight F-18 SRA during flight

Photo Number: EC96-43623-5
Photo Date: May 1996

Formats: 558x480 JPEG Image (77 KBytes)
1191x1024 JPEG Image (533 KBytes)
2000x1720 JPEG Image (631 KBytes)

Description: This bright blue-and-white twin-jet aircraft may have looked like an ordinary F/A-18 Hornet fighter, but inside its was a different bird. Flown by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, in a multi-year, joint NASA/DOD/industry program, the former Navy fighter was modified into a unique Systems Research Aircraft (SRA) to investigate a host of new technologies in the areas of flight controls, airdata sensing and advanced computing.

One of the more than 20 experiments tested aboard the SRA F-18 was an advanced air data sensing system which used a group of pressure taps flush-mounted on the forward fuselage to measure both altitude and wind speed and direction--critical data for flight control and research investigations. The Real-Time Flush Air Data Sensing system concept was evaluated for possible use on the X-33 resuable space-launch vehicle.

The primary goal of the SRA program was to validate through flight research cutting-edge technologies which could benefit future aircraft and spacecraft by improving efficiency and performance, reducing weight and complexity, with a resultant reduction on development and operational costs.

Keywords: F-18; F/A-18; Hornet; SRA; Systems Research Aircraft; Real-Time Flush Air Data Sensing

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