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A. F. Museum Update

Mon Dec 22, 2003 10:49 pm

Hello everyone,

The B-2 is on display in the Cold War Gallery. It has very dramatic lighting and two large screens video's going featuring the airplane. Under the left wing and pointed in the opposite direction is the X-45 UCAV. It almost looks like a mother and her offspring.

Remember that airframe was (actually still is) a structural test airframe and never flew. Look at the right wing below the inlets for the right engines and you will see the plates that were installed after they tested this airframe to failure. The fracture has been covered up though. There is also one plate that can be seen on the upper surface just behind the leading edges in front of the engine inlet. The airplane is on the floor, but will soon be placed on 5' high metal bases. So if you can visit it now, you'll get a better look than later on.

An interesting note on the airplane is that there are no pitot probes, to assist in its stealthiness I assume (oops, you know about assume??), but the are groups of 4 static ports that I can see. One on the bottom inboard of each wing in a staggered layout; one on the top of each wing just behind the leading edge and close to the cockpit; one on top of the cockpit bulge just behind the windscreens. Since this is a electronic airplane, I would hope all of these static ports feed pressure transducers and are not part of a pitot-static pneumatic plumbing system. This plane would have this tubing running all over the place.

From what little I've learned, airspeed is measured by the pressure differential across the airframe and that might be what all these static ports are for. Of course, there must be another way to measure airspeed at the beginning of the take-off as I wouldn't think there is sufficient airflow to make the static ports work properly.

To change the subject, in the Vietnam War section of the Modern Flight Hangar, the frameworks for several exhibits are in place and artifacts and commentaries on that war are being added. One under the right wing of the B-52D is complete.

Remember, the museum is closed on Christmas and New Years Day and between those two days, attendance is heavy. With the increase in the security level, access to the Presidential and R & D hangars maybe more closely controlled (It wasn't last Saturday, but.............). Check with the info desk by the Berlin Wall exhibit immediately upon arrival, if your plans include visiting those 2 hangars.

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