Valkyrie Sighting

Here’s a photo of Dr. Werner Dahm from the Airman Magazine story Good, Clean Science: Top Scientist Directs Research to Save Money and the Environment:

Because science is so crucial to the Air Force, the service created the position of Chief Scientist in 1950. Dr. Werner Dahm is the current chief scientist and is the primary science adviser to senior Air Force leaders. With a background in aeronautical engineering, he also directs which programs the $2 billion budget is spent on. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Stan Parker)

Because science is so crucial to the Air Force, the service created the position of Chief Scientist in 1950. Dr. Werner Dahm is the current chief scientist and is the primary science adviser to senior Air Force leaders. With a background in aeronautical engineering, he also directs which programs the $2 billion budget is spent on. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Stan Parker)

Get a load of that painting of the XB-70. Click photo for a better look.

Sweet.

Meanwhile,

Recently, Dr. Dahm and members of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board showed striking impacts on fuel economy that can be obtained by flying aircraft in formation to take advantage of the vortex produced from each wing tip through flight.

He said by having as few as two aircraft fly in formation, a 14 percent improvement in fuel efficiency could be realized. What’s even more impressive is that it isn’t just the trailing aircraft that reaps the benefits, both aircraft benefit.

“If the trailing aircraft can fly in the ‘sweet spot’ produced from the lead plane it decreases the drag on both,” he said. “The main challenge is that sweet spot is constantly shifting, so pilot fatigue increases if they have to stay in that spot manually. Technology can solve that by relatively simple software that automatically uses trim adjustments find the sweet spot and stay in it.”

Dr. Dahm said the aircraft can be separated by a considerable distance and still see most of the benefit and that even dissimilar aircraft benefit from flying in formation.

“The benefit small aircraft see when they fly in formation with large aircraft can be so large that the fuel savings can actually equal the fuel those small aircraft would need flying solo.”

No bump drafting allowed, though.

Comments

  1. They illustrated the concept in the movie Stealth (lousy movie, but cool special effects). I think they called it “swarm logic” where the 3 or 4 aircraft would go hypersonic and automatcially adjust their relative position based on the velocity and the location of the “sweet spot”.

    Again, it was fiction in the movie, but I often wondered if DOD weren’t working on something like that for their combat aircraft.

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