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Oblique Wing Research Aircraft (OWRA)

Oblique Wing Research Aircraft on ramp

Photo Number: E76-30764
Photo Date: August 2, 1976
Formats: 480x576 JPEG Image (129 KBytes)
1024x1229 JPEG Image (463 KBytes)
2400x2881 JPEG Image (2388 KBytes)
This 1976 photograph of the Oblique Wing Research Aircraft was taken in front of the NASA Flight Research Center hangar, located at Edwards Air Force Base, California. In the photograph the noseboom, pitot-static probe, and angles-of-attack and sideslip flow vanes(covered-up) are attached to the front of the vehicle. The clear nose dome for the television camera, and the shrouded propellor for the 90 horsepower engine are clearly seen.
The Oblique Wing Research Aircraft was a small, remotely piloted, research craft designed and flight tested to look at the aerodynamic characteristics of an oblique wing and the control laws necessary to achieve acceptable handling qualities. NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and the NASA Ames Research Center conducted research with this aircraft in the mid-1970s to investigate the feasibility of flying an oblique wing aircraft. The oblique wing rotates about a pivot to allow the wing to be set at its most efficient angle for the speed it is flying. At higher speeds the wing takes advantage of the gains achieved by a swept wing while offsetting some of the drag producing disturbances. The oblique wing concept could result in transonic drag reduction and have the added benefit of producing corresponding fuel savings.

The aircraft's wing was capable of being skewed up to 45 degrees left wing forward. The aircraft was flown in two configurations, the short and long tail version. To aid in the remote piloting task, a television camera was mounted in the nose of the vehicle to provide forward looking views. Power was provided by a 90-horsepower, four cylinder, air-cooled, reciprocating engine.

The flight program was limited to three flights flown over Rosamond dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base, of approximately 1 hour each. After the first flight, longitudinal stability problems required a configuration change. The tail was moved back three feet and this configuration was used for the last two flights. Maneuvers were performed at wing skew angles of 0 to 45 degrees. This program provided information which led to flight testing a piloted aircraft with an oblique wing, called the AD-1.

Keywords: Oblique Wing Research Aircraft (OWRA); Remotely Piloted Research Vehicle; NASA Dryden Flight Research Center; NASA Ames Research Center

Last Modified: September 28, 2006
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