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KC-135A in flight - closeup of winglet with attached tufts

KC-135A in flight - closeup of winglet with attached tufts

Photo Number: EC79-11481
Photo Date: August 20, 1979

Formats: 521x480 JPEG Image (63 KBytes)
1111x1023 JPEG Image (320 KBytes)
3000x2764 JPEG Image (3,305 KBytes)

Description: A chase plane view of the tufts on the KC-135 winglet. The use of tufts in flight research dates back to the early days of the NACA, and remains an effective means of observing airflow even today. In this procedure, rows of strings are attached to an airplane's surface, with one end of each string taped to the airplane and the other end free to swing about in the airflow. The movements of the tufts are photographed by on-board cameras or a chase plane. If the tufts are arrayed in neat rows, as seen here, then the airflow is smooth over the airplane's surface. If, however, they are moving about violently, it suggests turbulent airflow. Such motions may indicate high drag, flow separation (such as in a stall), or buffeting. In some cases, tufts will actually point forward, indicating the airflow has reversed direction.

Keywords: KC-135 Images

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