Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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NASA's two-seat F-16XL research aircraft is shown in the modification hangar at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, during installation of a titanium ''glove'' on the upper surface of its modified left wing. The aircraft subsequently carried out a 13-month-long, 45-flight research program which investigated drawing off a small part of the boundary-layer air in order to provide laminar--or smooth--flow over a major portion of a wing flying at supersonic speeds. A turbo-compressor in the aircraft's fuselage provided suction to draw air through more than 10 million tiny laser-drilled holes in the glove via a manifold system employing 20 valves. Data obtained during the program could assist designers of future aircraft in developing a more efficient high-speed civil transport.