NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center is flight testing two new supersonic shockwave probes to determine their viability as research tools.
The probes were designed by Eagle Aeronautics of Hampton, Va., under a NASA Research Announcement, and manufactured by Triumph Aerospace Systems of Newport News, Va. The probes were first tested in a wind tunnel at NASA's Langley Research Center, also in Hampton.
The new probes are being flown on NASA Dryden's F-15B research test bed aircraft.
Supersonic flight over land is severely restricted in the United States and elsewhere because the sonic booms created by the shock waves propagating from supersonic aircraft are an annoyance to many and can damage private property.
Sonic boom researchers hope the Eagle Aero probes will aid their understanding of supersonic shockwaves. The ultimate goal of NASA's sonic boom research is to find ways to control the shockwaves and lessen the noise, so that it may be possible for supersonic flight to become more routine.
"Using these probes can be a real benefit in understanding and modeling the generation of shock waves and their associated sonic booms," said Dryden research engineer Dan Banks. "They could allow us to accurately define the near-instantaneous flight conditions of the aircraft being probed, while defining that airplane's flow field. At the same time, the probes provide flight condition data on the host aircraft," Banks said.
The primary objective of the flight series is to determine the feasibility of using the Eagle probes for air-to-air shockwave probing. Additional objectives include determining the durability and robustness of the probes in flight, their sensitivity to flight conditions, and the accuracy of the software.
During the initial flight test phase, the probes are attached to an adapter that hangs on the aircraft's centerline instrumented pylon, or CLIP. A large splitter plate separates the CLIP from the F-15B. This helps protect to the aircraft in the unlikely event of flutter, or damaging vibration, that might cause the probes to break off the CLIP.
Visit: Biology (2nd Edition) Brooker, Widmaier, Graham, Stiling