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Wed, Jul 23, 2003

'Wing-Warping' F/A-18 to Be At Oshkosh

F/A-18 Uses Wright (Not Curtiss) Technology

Let's start the war again: did the Wrights, or Glenn Curtiss, invent truly 'controllable' flight? So far, engineers favor the aileron system invented by Glenn Curtiss; but the courts, and the historians, naturally attributed powered, heavier-than-air controlled flight to the Wrights.

At any rate, the concept of 'wing-warping' is back, and it's high-tech. Now, it's called "Active Aeroelastic Wing" technology. NASA's Active Aeroelastic Wing (AAW) F/A-18A Hornet, the first aircraft to bear the official "Centennial of Flight" logo, will be on display at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture 2003 air show at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

The highly-instrumented NASA research aircraft will be displayed at AeroShell Square adjacent to the "Countdown to Kittyhawk" pavilion at AirVenture from July 29 through August 4.

The modified AAW F/A-18A jet fighter is currently in a flight research program to investigate active control of flexible wings for enhanced maneuverability at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base (CA). A joint program of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), NASA Dryden and Boeing Phantom Works, AAW seeks to demonstrate improved aircraft roll control through aerodynamically induced wing twist on a full-scale manned supersonic aircraft-essentially a 21st century, high-tech update of the primitive wing-warping control system devised by the Wright brothers for their 1903 Wright Flyer. Among other benefits, the concept could allow lighter-weight wings for better maneuverability for future high-performance military aircraft.

Several NASA personnel will be on hand at the EAA AirVenture venue to discuss the program with news media. Among those available for media interviews will be NASA AAW Dryden project managers Larry Myers and Denis Bessette, chief engineer David Voracek, and project pilots Dana Purifoy and Richard Ewers.

FMI: www.dfrc.nasa.gov

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