History

AEDC 16-ft Supersonic Tunnel

This 1960 photo shows three men standing inside Arnold Engineering Development Complex’s 16-ft supersonic wind tunnel facility. The wind tunnel was capable of Mach numbers between 1.60 and 4.75 through a test section 4.8 meters wide and 20.2 meters long. It served as a large-scale testing facility for aircraft and propulsion systems. Like many large-scale and high-speed wind tunnel facilities in the United States, it is no longer active. In recent years, many unique wind tunnel facilities at NASA, military bases, and universities have been closed down, depriving researchers and engineers of the ability to include large-scale testing in their design and development of new technologies. These facility closures leave a substantial gap between the speeds and Reynolds numbers achievable in small-scale experiments and computational fluid dynamics and those experienced in flight. (Photo credit: P. Tarver)

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