This article first appeared in the January 1986 Flight Test News.

Rockwell International’s North American Aircraft Operations has just received a $400,000 NASA contract for the design of a pivoting wing for a supersonic aircraft.

Like the B-1B swing-wing, the pivoting wing is set in the conventional aircraft flight position for take-off and landing operations. However, for faster flight, the wing is pivoted so that one side is swept forward and the other side is swept aft, forming an oblique angle with the aircraft’s fuselage. In the oblique wing configuration, the aircraft encounters less air resistance in high-speed flight. The pivoting wing capability offers greater flight efficiency at both low- and high-speed flight.

This contract covers phase “B” of a joint NASA/Navy program to design, develop and flight test an aeroelastically tailored, pivoting-oblique wing for transonic and supersonic flight evaluation.

The phase “B” contract is part of a four-phase procurement program for modifying the NASA Ames-Dryden F-8 fly-by-wire research aircraft to a supersonic, oblique-wing configuration.

The contract includes preliminary design of the oblique wing, its pivot assembly and flight control laws for use in the F-8’s computers. It also will define the aircraft’s flight envelope and assess the operational capabilities of oblique wings for potential naval applications.

Follow-up contract phases will provide detailed design, fabrication, ground testing and flight support for a 12-month flight program of approximately 40 flights.

The F-8 Oblique Wing program will expand upon the AD-1 oblique-wing aircraft subsonic research conducted by the Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility from 1979 through 1982.

This article first appeared in the January 1986 Flight Test News.

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