Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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James W. ''Smoke'' Smolka, a research pilot at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, since 1985, was co-project pilot on the F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV) aircraft. Before joining NASA, Smolka was an F-16 experimental test pilot with General Dynamics Corporation for two years at Edwards. He was also a project pilot with the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI) F-16 Joint Test Force located at Dryden. In addition to his work with the F-18 program, Smolka also flies as a pilot on the NASA B-52 launch aircraft, and as a co-project pilot on the F-16XL Supersonic Laminar Flow aircraft. He also participated in F-15 HIDEC flight and engine control system programs, and the AFTI F-111 Mission Adaptive Wing, and F-104 Aeronautical Research Aircraft programs. Smolka has accumulated 5000 hours of flight time since he became a pilot in 1973. NASA used an F-18 Hornet fighter aircraft as its High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV). The aircraft is on loan from the U.S. Navy. The high angle of attack technology program is a joint effort of NASA's Dryden, Ames, Langley, and Lewis Research Centers. Its flight operations were based at Dryden.