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NASA

Last Updated 3 June, 2003

Over a span of about 23 years from 1967 to about 1990, records indicate around six General Dynamic F-111 Aardvark aircraft at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. During this time span, four areas of significant flight testing stand out. The first tests occurred during the late 1960s when NASA worked on evaluating problems with the early F-111A (#63-9771 and #63-9777) for the Air Force and Navy. The early 1970s through the late 1980s brought the second and third phases of testing with an on-going effort to improve the F-111A (#63-9778). The second phase called transonic aircraft technology (TACT/F-111A) added an highly efficient supercritical wing and later the third phase applied advanced wing (Mission Adaptive Wing-MAW) flight control technologies and was called Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI/F-111A). The fourth effort, utilizing an F111E (#67-0115), ran from 1973 to 1976, and used an engine with an electronic control system (fly-by-wire) in place of the traditional hydro-mechnical system. This program called the integrated propulsion control system (IPCS) helped validate the Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC) concept.

During the same period as F-111 TACT program, an F-111E Aardvark (#67-0115) was flown at the NASA Flight Research Center to investigate an electronic versus a conventional hydro-mechanical controlled engine. The program called integrated propulsion control system (IPCS) was a joint effort by NASA's Lewis Research Center and Flight Research Center, the Air Force's Flight Propulsion Laboratory and the Boeing, Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney companies. The left engine of the F-111E was selected for modification to an all electronic system. A Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-9 engine was modified and extensively laboratory, and ground-tested before installation into the F-111E. There were 14 IPCS flights made from 1975 through 1976. The flight demonstration program proved an engine could be controlled electronically, leading to a more efficient Digital Electronic Engine Control System flown in the F-15.


F-111A
This late 1960s photograph shows an early General Dynamics F-111A Aardvark in flight at the NASA Flight Research Center. The wings on this aircraft did not have a supercritical airfoil design.
In 1967 the NASA Flight Research Center received the first of two F-111A aircraft (the number six prototype, Serial #63-9771) to evaluate.
The number six prototype F-111A (Serial #63-9771) at the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
These early F-111s had problems with their engines and suffered from repeated compressor surges and stalls. After extensive testing, NASA, the Air Force, and General Dynamics arrived at a major inlet redesign to resolve the problems. The second F-111A (#63-9777) arrived at the Center in 1969 and was used for a handling-qualities study.

Photo Number: ECN-2092 - Photo Date: 1968
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/F-111A/index.html
01-63-9771_a
02-63-9771_b
AFTI - Advanced Fighter Technology Integration - F-111A # 63-9778
Photo Number: EC85-33205-07 Photo Date: 1985
This NASA Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility photograph shows a modified General Dynamics AFTI/F-111A Aardvark with supercritical mission adaptive wings (MAW) installed. The four dark bands on the right wing are the locations of pressure orifices used to measure surface pressures and shock locations on the MAW. The El Paso Mountains and Red Rock Canyon State Park Califonia, about 30 miles northwest of Edwards Air Force Base, are seen directly in the background.
With the phasing out of the TACT program came a renewed effort by the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory to extend supercritical wing technology to a higher level of performance. In the early 1980s the supercritical wing on the F-111A aircraft was replaced with a wing built by Boeing Aircraft Company System called a “mission adaptive wing” (MAW), and a joint NASA and Air Force program called Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI) was born.

This NASA Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility photograph shows a modified General Dynamics AFTI/F-111A Aardvark with supercritical mission adaptive wings (MAW) installed. In this photograph the AFTI/F111A is seen banking towards Rodgers Dry Lake and Edwards Air Force Base. image 1968
03-639778
04-63-9778
05-63-9778
06-63-9778
07-63-9778
TACT / TACT - Transonic Aircraft Technology - F-111A #63-9778)
The General Dynamics TACT/F-111A (Serial #63-9778) banks over the Mojave Desert. Note the fully loaded racks of inert pratice bombs which were carried for weapon loads evaluations on the supercritical wing (SCW) that was the main feature of the Transonic Aircraft Technology F-111 research program. Intense interest in the results of the earlier F-8 SCW program spurred NASA and the U.S. Air Force to modify the number 13 F-111A for the TACT program. This aircraft participated in a major research and flight testing program that spanned nearly 20 years, beginning in 1971 at the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, California.
Photo Number: ECN-5033 - Photo Date: January 1976
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/F-111TACT/HTML/ECN-5033.html

This photograph shows a modified General Dynamics TACT/F-111A Aardvaark with supercritical wings installed. The aircraft, with flaps and landing gear down, is in a decending turn over Rogers Dry Lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base.
Photo Number: ECN-3931 - Photo Date: 1974
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/F-111TACT/HTML/ECN-3931.html

Starting in 1971 the NASA Flight Research Center and the Air Force undertook a major research and flight testing program, using F-111A (#63-9778), which would span almost 20 years before completion. Intense interest over the results coming from the NASA F-8 supercritical wing program spurred NASA and the Air Force to modify the General Dynamics-Convair F-111A to explore the application of supercritical wing technology to maneuverable military aircraft. This flight program was called Transonic Aircraft Technology (TACT)
Photo Number: ECN-3931 - Photo Date: 1974
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/F-111TACT/HTML/ECN-3931.html


The General Dynamics TACT/F-111A Aardvark is seen In a banking-turn over the California Mojave desert. This photograph affords a good view of the supercritical wing airfoil shape.
Photo Number: ECN-3945 - Photo Date: 1974
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/F-111TACT/HTML/ECN-3945.html

Reference for all images - http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/index.html-
no copyright applies - released for general non commercial use.
Hi resolution images are available by going to the above Nasa website home page.

09-63-9778-F-111A-1976
10-63-9778-F-111A-1974
11-63-9778-F-111A-1974
IPCS - Integrated Propulsion Control System
During the same period as F-111 TACT program, an F-111E Aardvark (#67-0115) was flown at the NASA Flight Research Center to investigate an electronic versus a conventional hydro-mechanical controlled engine. The program called integrated propulsion control system (IPCS) was a joint effort by NASA's Lewis Research Center and Flight Research Center, the Air Force's Flight Propulsion Laboratory and the Boeing, Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney companies. The left engine of the F-111E was selected for modification to an all electronic system. A Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-9 engine was modified and extensively laboratory, and ground-tested before installation into the F-111E. There were 14 IPCS flights made from 1975 through 1976. The flight demonstration program proved an engine could be controlled electronically, leading to a more efficient Digital Electronic Engine Control System flown in the F-15.
08-67-0115-F-111E-1975

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