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an indispensable ingredient: flight research and aircraft designFlight research-the art of flying actual vehicles in the atmosphere in order to collect data about their behavior-has played a historic and decisive role in the design of aircraft. Naturally, wind tunnel experiments, computational fluid dynamics, and mathematical analyses all informed the judgments of the individuals who conceived of new aircraft. But flight research has offered moments of realization found in no other method. Engineer Dale Reed and research pilot Milt Thompson experienced one such epiphany on March 1, 1963, at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. On that date, Thompson sat in the cockpit of a small, simple, gumdrop-shaped aircraft known as the M2-F1, lashed by a long towline to a late-model Pontiac Catalina. As the Pontiac raced across Rogers Dry Lake, it eventually gained enough speed to make the M2-F1 airborne. Thompson braced himself for the world s first flight in a vehicle of its kind, called a lifting body because of its high lift-to-drag ratio. Reed later recounted what he saw:
Document ID
20050201678
Document Type
Other - Collected Works
Authors
Gorn, Michael H.
(NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Edwards, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Aerospace Design: Aircraft, Spacecraft, and the Art of Modern Flight
Subject Category
Aircraft Design, Testing and Performance
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other