Mary Sandy Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

(Phone: 202/453-2754)

April 9, 1990

Don Haley Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, Calif. (Phone: 805/258-8381) RELEASE: 90-52 X-29 SHOWS UNEXPECTED MANEUVERABILITY IN "HIGH-ALPHA" FLIGHT The X-29 research aircraft is demonstrating in flight much better control and maneuvering qualities at high angles of attack than wind tunnel tests, computational methods and simulation models predicted. The X-29 is an advanced technology demonstrator aircraft based at NASA's Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, Calif. The current flights, using the second of two X-29s, are investigating high-angle-of-attack characteristics and military utility of the aircraft's unique forward-sweptwing/canard configuration as part of a joint NASA-Air Force program. Angle of attack is an engineering term that describes the angle of an aircraft's body and wings relative to its actual flight path. At extreme angles of attack, also called "high alpha," the airflow around an aircraft can produce conditions in which the wings do not create enough lift to maintain altitude. According to Steve Ishmael, one of NASA's X-29 project pilots, the aircraft's excellent control response in the 25-45 degree angle of attack range was unexpected. "We have much more

control than we thought we would have at these angles," said Ishmael. "We have good roll control and we have modest yaw control. We didn't expect this."

- more -2X-29 project officials do not yet fully comprehend why the plane responds so well in the high alpha regime. Possible explanations include interaction of the canards with vortices of air coming off the nose or some unexpected effect of the plane's forward-swept wings. "This maneuvering capability is really a bonus for us, but we don't fully understand what is causing it," explained Gary Trippensee, X-29 project manager at Ames-Dryden. "It's something we're really looking forward to exploring." The second X-29 reached a 50-degree angle of attack on its 23rd flight in the current research phase of the technology demonstrator program. The aircraft achieves its high alpha controllability without leading edge flaps on the wings for additional lift. It also doesn't have movable vanes on its engines to change or "vector" the direction of thrust, a capability that enhances stability and control at high Alpha. The first X-29, which first flew in December 1984, investigated design, manufacturing and flight control concepts that have potential for development in future aircraft. It was flown 242 times, the most for any of Ames-Dryden's X-aircraft at Ames-Dryden, before it was removed from flight status. The X-29 technology demonstrator program, funded initially by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, is managed by the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Division, Air Force Systems Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Pilots who have flown the X-29 in the current research project are Steve Ishmael and Rogers Smith (NASA), Major Al Hoover (USAF) and Grumman test pilot Rod Womer.

- end NOTE TO EDITORS: A photograph is available to illustrate this release by calling 202/453-8375. Color: 90-HC-156 B&W: 90-H-163

TO: MDS/PRA Group 1615 L Street, N.W. - Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20036 DATE & TIME: April 11, 1990 1:45pm ORDERED BY: Edward Campion NASA Headquarters/LMD 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20546 PHONE: 202/453-8400 PROJECT TITLE: Release No: 90-52 PRINT ORDER: 2239 PRINTING: Camera Ready, lst pg on NASA logo, other pages plain ENCLOSE & MAIL: Release of 2 pages MAIL DATE: April 12, 1990 EXTRA COPIES: Deliver specified quanities to locations below:

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