Barbara Selby Headquarters, Washington, DC November 9, 1994 (Phone: 202/358-1983) Michael Mewhinney Ames Research Center

, Moffett Field, CA (Phone: 415/604-9000) RELEASE: 94-186 REMOTE ACCESS WIND TUNNEL AIDS IN HIGH SPEED RESEARCH Aerospace industry engineers are finding that a NASA wind tunnel, specially equipped with a computer and video camera, is saving them time and money in testing a model of a next-generation supersonic transport. Researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, are using the Remote Access Wind Tunnel (RAWT) that allows them to send real-time test data to engineers at aerospace companies nationwide. Test data are sent over the AEROnet national computer via the Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation (NAS) supercomputer facility at Ames. The system also can protect proprietary and secure information. "We have developed a new tool to help our customers," said Phil Snyder, an Ames engineer and the test's principal investigator. "Using the RAWT, there's no need for the aerospace industry to send people here for the test. They can immediately give us their input on what they're seeing, saving our customers a lot of time and money." The wind tunnel uses a computer and color monitor for video conferences. A small video camera mounted on top of the computer enables engineers to see each other as they discuss the test. They wear headphones and small microphones to hear and talk to each other.

The computer program is used to send live images of the engineers at their workstations over the AEROnet computer network to each location. The computer system, which costs $24,000 also enables transmission of live video during wind tunnel testing. -more-2Presently, NASA engineers are testing a Boeing model of a High-Speed Civil Transport (HSCT) as part of NASA's High Speed Research Program. "By using the RAWT for these tests, Boeing estimates they are saving $25,000 a week in personnel costs by not having to have engineers continually on site," said Bruce Gilbaugh, RAWT technical project leader. "We're testing a 2.7 percent model of a Boeing baseline configuration of a full-scale High Speed Civil Transport," Snyder said. "We are using the model to validate computational methods so industry can design the real aircraft in the future. It is critical to design the most efficient aircraft possible," he said. Researchers are testing different fuselage shapes to improve performance of the proposed supersonic transport. They are testing different designs for the housing around the engine -called the nacelle -- to improve aerodynamic efficiency, and they are measuring airflow in front of the engine nacelles to validate computational predictions. They also are studying the distribution of pressure on the wing and fuselage design. Engineers have conducted more than 700 hours of testing on the HSCT model in Ames' nine-by-seven-foot supersonic (speeds above Mach 1) wind tunnel, located in the Unitary Wind Tunnel Complex. The Boeing model weighs about 185 pounds (85 kilograms), is made of stainless steel and aluminum and is more than six feet (1.8 meters) long. "It's very advantageous to have them working with us and not

merely observing, since ultimately they are going to be the users of the information," Snyder said. "The RAWT makes our job a lot easier. By having Boeing and McDonnell Douglas analyze the data at the same time we do, they can give us feedback immediately." "American industry wants to have a major role in building the next supersonic transport," Snyder said. " It's a huge investment, so we decided to team together to conduct research on the technology needed to build this aircraft," Snyder said. -endEditors Note: Photos are available of the RAWT and video computer systems by faxing your request to the NASA Headquarters Broadcast and Imaging Branch at 202/358-4333. The computer system color photo number is 94-HC-270, the black and white photo number is 94-H-300. The RAWT color photo number is 94-HC271, the black and white photo number is 94-H-301. NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe press-release" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. Questions should be directed to (202) 358-4043.