Putting a literal and metaphorical twist on conventional designs, researchers at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and Langley Research Center investigated a new aircraft aerodynamic wing scheme.

Al Bowers, NASA Armstrong chief scientist, has been researching wing configuration with increasingly complex, boomerang-shaped, subscale aircraft. This summer, Bowers worked with groups of NASA Armstrong student interns on a related delta-wing-shaped aircraft with wing design twist principles that could one day lead to a Mars airplane.

A six-foot-span wind tunnel configuration was used to research a model of the Prandtl-d, or Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Lower Drag.

"The wing is very stable and well behaved," Bowers said. "Some of this we knew already, but there were parts that were a little surprising, like how the wing maintains control even when it is completely stalled. These things are hard to know from intuition; it's only having the data in hand that tells us about the real behavior."

No further wind tunnel tests are planned, but some of the next flight tests will capture the aerodynamic pressures over the wing.


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