Drucella Andersen Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

February 22, 1993 (Phone: 202/453-2754) Don Nolan Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, Calif. (Phone: 805/258-3447) RELEASE: 93-035 NASA SAVES $1 MILLION ON AERONAUTICS RESEARCH PROJECT NASA and industry engineers have designed and built a new measuring device that will save American taxpayers more than $1 million on a NASA research program. The device is a greatly-improved "inlet rake" that will measure the air flowing into one of the engines on the F/A-18 High-Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV), based at NASA's Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, Calif. Engineers could use the air flow data to help give fighter-type aircraft more power and better handling qualities. "This rake is more compact and requires many fewer changes to the aircraft than those we used in the past. This equals a total savings of more than $1 million in the HARV program budget," said Ronald Ray, Propulsion Group Leader at Dryden. "This new rake actually saved the program," Ray added. "Without it, we would not have enough funding to continue." The new rakes may save NASA even more money. The rake will work on all General Electric F404 engines, so Dryden could use the devices on the facility's other F/A-18s and on the X-31 research plane with minor modifications.

Dryden engineers came up with the idea for the new inlet rake and presented it to General Electric Corp., Evendale, Ohio, who agreed to design and build two of the devices. They will arrive at Dryden 6 weeks ahead of schedule and $60,000 below budget. - more -2The rake is part of a joint effort by Dryden and NASA's Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, to develop and validate better ways to design engine inlets. The rake data will be used to improve computer codes and wind tunnel test techniques. Lewis leads the study. Most of the million-dollar savings results from the simplicity of the new rake, which is centrally mounted like a wagon wheel 8 inches in front of the engine. Installation time for the old design would have been up to 1 year and NASA would have incurred more costs for the extensive modifications required to the F/A-18 HARV aircraft. NASA's high angle-of-attack (or "high alpha") technology program studies what happens when a modern fighter aircraft like the F/A-18 flies forward with its nose tilted up at a sharp angle to its flight path. The research includes simulations on supercomputers, wind tunnel tests and flights with the F/A-18 HARV. "Early computer predictions have shown a greater thrust loss than we originally thought existed," Ray said. "If we can improve engine inlet design, it will increase the power and handling qualities of highly maneuverable aircraft. The new rake will be a vital tool in our search for a better inlet." The high-alpha technology program involves three other NASA field installations: Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif.; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. and Lewis Research Center, Cleveland. - end -

NOTE TO EDITORS: A photograph of the new inlet rake is available by calling the Headquarters Broadcast and Imaging Branch, 202/358-1900. Color: B&W: 93-HC-61 93-H-68