Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this is an excellent history of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. This volume adds another dimension to the existing literature about the history of the Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC). This is the first book to provide an overview of the entire 50 years of the Center's history from several perspectives. In this book, Lane Wallace also provides insights into the process of research engineering. She differentiates between flight testing and flight research, and she describes the "technical agility" of researchers at Dryden - a quality that has been an enormously important ingredient in the process of discovery through flight here in the Mojave Desert. She has also captured the spirit of the role flight research plays in the aeronautics research and development chain. Lane Wallace has included some "behind-the-scenes" events that provide additional insight into the human side of this highly technical discipline. Dryden frequently puts the innovations and ideas of others to the ultimate test of real flight conditions. The products of theory, wind-tunnel testing, and computational fluid dynamics—often developed elsewhere— are absolutely critical ingredients in the process of aeronautical discovery. In this book, Lane Wallace has captured very effectively many of the ways in which Dryden has cooperated with its partners over the past half-century to advance the process of aeronautical discovery that has so often begun with Dryden's partners.
An important part of the Dryden spirit was bequeathed by its first Director, Walter C. Williams. He joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in August of 1940. During World War II, he was a project engineer in the evaluation of several fighter aircraft—the P-47, P-51, and F6F—looking at handling qualities, low- and high-speed flight characteristics. As a member of Hartley A. Soule's stability and control branch at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, he was one of the NACA's foremost research airplane advocates. He led the first NACA team at Muroc and became the first Director of what was to become DFRC. He had tremendous experience in the flight testing of high-performance aircraft. As Dick Hallion noted in On the Frontier, Walt "was an inquisitive, take-charge sort of engineer, a man who believed that useful research had to confront actual problems and not be limited to studying theoretical aspects of aeronautical science."
Chapter One: A Place for Discovery * The Role of Flight Research * Supporting National Priorities * Dryden Contributions * Conclusion * Chapter Two: The Right Stuff * The Place * A Unique Approach * The People * The Partnerships * Conclusion * Chapter Three: Higher, Faster * Breaking the Sound Barrier * The X-Planes * The X-15 * The Lifting Bodies * Jet-Powered Speed Research * High Flight Revisited * Conclusion * Chapter Four: Improving Efficiency, Maneuverability & Systems * Efficiency * The Supercritical Wing/Mission Adaptive Wing * Winglets * The AD-1 Oblique Wing * Laminar Flow Research * Maneuverability * HiMAT * The X-29 * The F/A-18 HARV * The X-3 * Aircraft Systems * Digital Fly-By-Wire * Digital Engine Control/Integrated Control Research * Self-Repairing Flight Controls and Propulsion Control Research * The F-15 ACTIVE * The F-18 SRA * Conclusion * Chapter Five: Supporting National Efforts * Supporting the Space Program * Early Efforts * Lunar Landing Research Vehicles (LLRVs) * The Space Shuttle * Space Shuttle Support Research * Dryden's B-52 Launch Aircraft * Safety and Problem Solving Efforts * Aircraft Design Problems * Aviation Safety * Conclusion * Chapter Six: Future Directions * Current Projects * Future Directions * The Role of Flight Research * A Unique Flight Research Resource