Aerospace & Mechanical
Engineering

Society for Experimental Test Pilots Tours the Dryden Wind Tunnel

Downwash behind wing.
Prof. Geoff Spedding describes to the test pilots the downwash measured behind the wing of his research group's bird-inspired airplane shape.

During their 60th Annual Symposium and Banquet, The Society for Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) visited USC’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering on September 21. Two groups of about 25 pilots listened to a brief lecture by department chair, Geoff Spedding, learning about current projects and recent results, before taking a tour of the Dryden wind tunnel.

“I think they appreciated it quite a lot because it’s the sort of thing that some of them can remember from their school days and college days,” Spedding said.

The SETP is an international organization that promotes air safety and sound aeronautical design and development. To become a member, pilots must be actively engaged in experimental or developmental flight testing. After joining, the organization provides assistance in professional development and aid to the families of deceased members.

Among the visiting groups were members that have flown the Blackbird, the F-22, the F-17 and the U-2, reaching speeds up to Mach 2.2.

Yohanna Hanna describes his research.
Ph.D. candidate, Yohanna Hanna (right), describes his experimental work, currently in progress in the Dryden Wind Tunnel, to members of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

This was one of two outreach days organized by SETP’s Captain Kyle Turco, who also set-up a tour of the SpaceX facility.

Before heading back to their symposium in Anaheim, the group awarded Spedding with a plaque, thanking the department for hosting the visit.

—AK