NASA Ames Wind Tunnel Marks Quarter Century - NBC Bay Area

NASA Ames Wind Tunnel Marks Quarter Century



    The massive structure at the NASA Ames Research Center is hard to miss. It's mouth sucks up air from across the Bay and spits it out with such force planes are not allowed to fly above it. Bob Redell reports. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012)

    NASA celebrated the 25th anniversary Wednesday for one of the largest and most distinctive structures in the Bay Area.

    We are talking about the iconic wind tunnel at NASA Ames Research Center on Moffett Field.  It's a massive square structure on the air base next to Hangar One.

    It's official name is the 

    National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC) located at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

    The wind tunnel was dedicated Dec. 11, 1987.

    “For the past 25 years, the NFAC has supported and is continually engaged in an active research program to conduct aerodynamic and acoustic noise testing on large or full-scale aircraft, spacecraft, rotorcraft and their components,” said Scott Waltermire of the AEDC and the new NFAC site director.

    The wind tunnel is capable of testing a full-size 737 airplane.


    For more than 100 years, wind tunnels have been used to test models of various aircraft as they would appear in flight by moving air past them while stationary. The results are similar as if the object were speeding through the air.

    Almost every major commercial U.S. aircraft built in the past quarter century has been tested in it.