In this episode I talk with NASA Armstrong’s chief scientist Al Bowers about the research projects he has been involved in during his long career at NASA. We cover deep stall research with a Schweizer sailplane, high-alpha flight and thrust vectoring with the X-29, X-31 and F-18 HARV, aero-tow of fast jets with the F-106, supercritical wings with the F-8, as well as space related projects using the SR-71 and the X-30. This is one of my favourite episodes of all time, since it is a bit of trip down memory lane for me personally, and Al perfectly hits the sweet spot between recounting facts and telling anecdotes.
As part of my trip to the US earlier this year I visited NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. I conducted six interviews over two days, those concerning full scale (“real”) aircraft are in this episode. We start out with Kevin Weinert, with whom we talk about the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge project, essentially a flap made of flexible materials to save fuel and reduce noise. Next up is Jim Less, one of NASA’s F-15 and F-18 pilots; we chat about his flying and various research projects where the jets are utilized (you can see this part as a continuation of Episode 73, where we chatted with Dick Ewers). Finally, we talk about flying the MQ-9 and RQ-4 unmanned aerial vehicles with the pilots Scott Howe and Hernan Posada.
As part of my trip to the US earlier this year I visited NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. I conducted six interviews over two days, the ones concerning subscale research (i.e., on model airplanes) are in this episode. We start with a conversation about flying wings in general and Prandtl-D in particular with Armstrong’s Chief Scientist Al Bowers. Next, we chat about flutter research and the X-56 with project lead Cheng Moua. Finally, we talk to Matt Moholt about his project, the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project.
David Woods has a new book out, so of course he has to talk about it on omega tau :-) His recent book is about the Saturn V launch vehicle, i.e., this time it is about the rocket, not about the spaceship. In this episode we dive into lots of details that we did not cover in the two Apollo episodes (episodes 83 and 97) — make sure you have listened to those before you listen to this one.