073 – Flight Testing at NASA Dryden
In this episode I talk with NASA Dryden Test Pilot Dick Ewers about his work now and in the past. We start by revisiting his test pilot training at the US Navy Test Pilot School, and proceed to talking about his involvement in early F-18 flight testing. We then compare this work to the F-18 work he does today, using the aeroelastic wing and autonomous air refuelling projects as examples. We conclude our conversation by discussing his pole overflights with the DC-8, as well as his hurricane penetration flights with that same aircraft.
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Just wanted to say thanks for doing this podcast. As aircrew on the KC-10A, it was fascinating to hear about the autonomous refueling projects in development. Although, to be honest, the day a UAV pulls up behind my jet is the day I start to question my sanity. If a UAV screws up, no big deal for it since it’s unmanned, but my jet still has people on board and midair collisions still aren’t fun.
Either way, the future sure sounds interesting!
A note on the wingtip vortices, sometimes our fighters (the more experienced guys at least) will fly in the efficient sweet-spot off of and behind our wingtips, since our KC-10 generates some pretty BIG vortices, especially when heavy on fuel!
They only do this for maybe 20 minutes at a time when slightly short on fuel and we don’t have quite enough fuel on board to top everyone up to what they want.
Not sure exactly how much fuel the fighters save, but the pilots say it’s significant.
Keep up the awesome work!
thanks for your nice feedback! Maybe at some point in the future the tankers will also be UAVs, so the midair is “among robots” then :-)
Less technical content than most OT podcasts – but just a wonderful enthusiastic speaker with a fantastic story to tell
Wow really nice episode again! …and you are right this Pilot just loves his job – you can hear it. Nice music at the end!
Please stay more in this aviation track – please don’t get me wrong the other episodes are interessting as well but the flight stuff is allways a dot better.
We’ll continue to do both. But my personal bias will make sure there will be enough aviation stuff :-)
Wow, what a Guy, what an episode! That fellow possess so much knowledge and interesting stories and details! Wish it could have been a 12 hour interview! Maybe a part 2 with Dick? Awesome!!
Very enjoyable episode from a good storyteller.
Agree, good storyteller :-)
What an interesting chap. Makes flying a fighter sound like driving a car. Very good description of the development of in-flight re-fueling. Just like in the pic – “Look Ma, No Hands”.
I just listened to this while ironing my shirts on a Saturday night…
And I’m just amazed and in awe, for this is probably the most fun podcast ever. In English, that is, I can’t stand your accents in German… ;)
Should you ever find yourselves on vacation near the Bodensee, give me a shout, and I’ll buy you some drinks if you like!
Most people complain about my Schwäbisch, not about my English accent :-)
I will take you up on the offer of the drinks when I am down there :-)
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