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NASA F-8 Supercritical Wing Collection

Creator:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Langley Research Center  Search this
Names:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Langley Research Center  Search this
North American Aviation, Inc  Search this
Whitcomb, Richard, 1921-  Search this
Extent:
5.85 Cubic Feet (13 boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Reports
Drawings
Manuscripts
Correspondence
Notes
Photographs
Publications
Date:
1964-1972
Summary:
The supercritical wing concept was developed by Dr. Richard T. Whitcomb of the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Whitcomb's airfoil was designed to delay formation of shock waves at high speeds.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains documents gathered from Langley Research Center on the development of the supercritical wing concept and the F-8 test bed program. The material primarily consists of notes and reports covering the wind tunnel development, flight testing, and evaluation of the concept. The collection also includes general and press information about the program.
Series and Subseries Organization:
The NASA F-8 Supercritical Wing Collection is divided into four series:

Series 1 - Background Information

The Background Information Series contains publicity material, articles, general information, and technical reports. The technical reports are then arranged chronologically.

Series 2 - Wind Tunnel Testing

Test reports of the Wind Tunnel Testing Series are arranged numerically, and reports are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series 3 - Development and Flight Testing

The Development and Flight Testing Series begins with work statements and requests for proposal (RFP) information. These are followed by notes arranged in chronological order. Developmental technical reports are in alphabetical order by folder title. The flight test reports are arranged chronologically. These reports are then followed by photographs.

Series 4 - Evaluation of the Supercritical Wing

Evaluation reports on the Supercritical Wing Series are in chronological order
Biographical Note:
Richard T. Whitcomb (1921- ) was born in Evanston, Illinois. His family later moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, where Whitcomb attended public schools. He received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1943. Following graduation he accepted a position with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the forerunner of NASA) at Langley Laboratories, Virginia. Whitcomb devoted much of his career to research in the problems of supersonic flight.

In the early 1950s Whitcomb discovered the transonic area rule concept. This rule amounts to a sensitive balance of fuselage and wing volume, which minimizes drag at transonic speeds. This concept was applied to post World War II fighters and resulted in operational military aircraft capable of supersonic flight.

Whitcomb earned international acclaim through his accomplishments with the area rule concept and the supercritical wing. Until his retirement from NASA he worked on aircraft energy efficiency and new winglet configurations.
Historical Note:
The supercritical wing concept was developed by Dr. Richard T. Whitcomb of the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Whitcomb's airfoil was designed to delay formation of shock waves at high speeds.

In comparison with conventional wing cross sections, the supercritical wing was flattened on top, delaying the formation of shock waves and moving them further aft along the wing to increase total wing efficiency. To compensate for the lift lost with the flattened wing top, the rear lower surface was shaped with a deeper, more concave curve. The Mach number (the speed of the aircraft calculated as a percentage of the speed of sound) at which the relative airflow reaches the speed of sound at some point on the airframe is called the critical Mach number. Below the critical Mach number the flow is said to be subcritical, and above the critical Mach number it is called supercritical. The initial wind tunnel tests of the supercritical wing indicated that the new airfoil shape could allow highly efficient flight near the speed of sound of approximately 660 mph at cruising altitudes.

Initial designs for the supercritical wing were produced in 1964. The development of the supercritical airfoils included three phases: slotted (1964-1966); integral (1967); and thickened trailing edge integral (1968-1969). Flight testing of the supercritical wing began in 1971 and ended in December 1972. A Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) F-8 aircraft modified with the supercritical wing was used in these tests, making its first flight on 25 March 1955. The LTV F-8 was a single place land or carrier based supersonic aircraft equipped with radar to provide an all-weather capability. Its most unusual feature was the hydraulically operated variable incidence wing.

The blunt leading edge of the supercritical wing led to better takeoff, landing, and maneuvering characteristics. Subsonic transports, business jets, STOL (short takeoff and landing) aircraft, and remotely piloted vehicles made use of the supercritical wing technology, using less fuel and flying more efficiently than aircraft with conventional wings.

The F-8 Supercritical Wing Collection was received by the National Air and Space Museum in July 1984 from NASA's Langley Research Center. The collection was assembled originally by Dennis W. Bartlett Richard Whitcomb's colleague at Langley's 8-Foot Transonic Dynamics Tunnel. The material in the collection came from the offices and warehouses of the tunnel facility.
Provenance:
NASA, gift, 1984, XXXX-0104, unknown
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
Rights:
Permissions Requests
Topic:
Vought F-8 (F8U) Crusader Family  Search this
Airplanes -- Flight testing  Search this
Aerodynamics  Search this
Transonic wind tunnels  Search this
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Periodicals  Search this
Genre/Form:
Reports
Drawings
Manuscripts
Correspondence
Notes
Photographs
Publications
Citation:
NASA F-8 Supercritical Wing Collection, Acc. XXXX-0104, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.XXXX.0104
See more items in:
NASA F-8 Supercritical Wing Collection
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-xxxx-0104
Additional Online Media:

Proceedings of the conference on high-speed aeronautics, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, January 20-22, 1955. Edited by Antonio Ferri, Nicholas J. Hoff, and Paul A. Libby

Author:
Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn  Search this
Editor:
Ferri, Antonio 1912-  Search this
Physical description:
vi, 392 pages. illustrations, portraits. 23 cm
Type:
Congresses
Date:
1955
[c1955]
Topic:
Aerodynamics, Supersonic  Search this
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Call number:
TL573 .B87 1955
TL573.B87 1955
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_84068

Transonic aerodynamics : technical papers selected from the Transonic Perspective Symposium, Moffett Field, California, February 18-20, 1981 / edited by David Nixon

Author:
Transonic Perspective Symposium (1981 : Moffett Field, Calif.)  Search this
Nixon, David 1947-  Search this
Ames Research Center Aerodynamics Research Branch  Search this
United States Office of Naval Research Fluid Dynamics Branch  Search this
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics  Search this
Physical description:
xxvi, 669 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Congresses
Date:
1982
C1982
Topic:
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Call number:
TL571 .T77 1981
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_149503

Investigation of very low blockage ratio boattail models in the Langley 16-foot transonic tunnel / David E. Reubush

Author:
Reubush, David E  Search this
United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration  Search this
Langley Research Center  Search this
Physical description:
64 p. : ill. ; 27 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1976
Topic:
High-speed aeronautics  Search this
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Drag (Aerodynamics)--Testing  Search this
Call number:
TL571 .R48 1976
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_748769

Theory of transonic astrophysical flows / Sandip K. Chakrabarti

Author:
Chakrabarti, Sandip K  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 203 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1990
C1990
Topic:
Astrophysics  Search this
Relativistic fluid dynamics  Search this
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Numerical calculations  Search this
Call number:
QB461.C44 1990X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_406654

Transonic aerodynamics [by] C. Ferrari and F. G. Tricomi. Translated by Raymond H. Cramer

Author:
Ferrari, Carlo 1903-  Search this
Tricomi, F. G (Francesco Giacomo) 1897-  Search this
Physical description:
ix, 653 p. illus. 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1968
Topic:
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Call number:
TL571.F4513X 1968
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_423446

General theory of high speed aerodynamics / editor, W.R. Sears

Author:
Sears, William Rees 1913-  Search this
Physical description:
xiv, 758 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1954
Topic:
High-speed aeronautics  Search this
Aerodynamics, Supersonic  Search this
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Call number:
TL571 .G32 1954
TL571.G32 1954
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_426039

Fluid dynamics for the study of transonic flow / Heinrich J. Ramm

Author:
Ramm, Heinrich J  Search this
Physical description:
ix, 200 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1990
Topic:
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Call number:
TL571.R27 1990X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_390231

Unsteady transonic flow / Mårten T. Landahl

Author:
Landahl, Mårten  Search this
Physical description:
x, 134 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1989
1961
C1989
Topic:
Unsteady flow (Aerodynamics)  Search this
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Call number:
TL574.U5L36 1989X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_395747

Transonic aerodynamics; copies of papers presented at a specialists' meeting of the Fluid Dynamics Panel of AGARD held in Paris, France, 18-20 Sept. 1968

Author:
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development Fluid Dynamics Panel  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (various pagings) illus. 30 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1968
[1968]
Topic:
Aerodynamics, Transonic--Congresses  Search this
Call number:
TL571.N67X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_190819

Discussions following the presentation of papers at the AGARD Fluid Dynamics Panel Specialists' Meeting on Transonic Aerodynamics

Author:
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development Fluid Dynamacs Panel  Search this
AGARD Fluid Dynamics Panel Specialists' Meeting on Transonic Aerodynamics (1968 : Paris)  Search this
Physical description:
vi, 38 p. 30 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1968
Topic:
Aerodynamics, Transonic--Congresses  Search this
Call number:
TL571 .N67X 1968a
TL571.N67X 1968a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_196792

The theory of transonic flow. Translated from the German by J. R. Moszynski

Author:
Guderley, K Gottfried 1910-  Search this
Physical description:
344 p. illus. 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1962
Topic:
Aerodynamics, Transonic  Search this
Call number:
TL573 .G813X
TL573.G813X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_39801

From Archangel to Senior Crown : design and development of the Blackbird / Peter W. Merlin ; Ned Allen, editor-in chief

Title:
Design and development of the Blackbird
Author:
Merlin, Peter W. 1964-  Search this
Allen, Ned  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 202 p. : ill. ; 23 cm. + 1 CD-ROM (4 3/4 in.)
Type:
Electronic resources
Place:
United States
Date:
2008
C2008
20th century
Topic:
SR-71 Blackbird (Jet reconnaissance plane)--History  Search this
A-12 Blackbird (Jet reconnaissance plane)--History  Search this
Aerodynamics, Transonic--Research--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_905994

Lockheed Blackbird family : A-12, YF-12, D-21/M-21 & SR-71 photo scrapbook / compiled by Tony R. Landis

Author:
Landis, Tony  Search this
Physical description:
127 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 28 cm
Type:
Pictorial works
Sources
Place:
United States
Date:
2010
C2010
20th century
Topic:
SR-71 Blackbird (Jet reconnaissance plane)  Search this
SR-71 Blackbird (Jet reconnaissance plane)--History  Search this
Aerodynamics, Transonic--Research--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_961821

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