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HiMAT Research Vehicle
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Rockwell HiMAT Test Flight
The HiMAT program was designed to enhance transonic maneuverability of future U.S. fighter aircraft of the 20th century. The subscale aircraft bridged the gap between wind tunnel testing, simulators, ground tests and full-scale manned flight testing.
Rockwell, the prime contractor, developed and built two HiMAT aircraft and delivered them to NASA, who performed the first flight in July 1979. HiMAT was launched from a B-52 at about 45,000 feet.
Unmanned, HiMAT was controlled by a NASA test pilot from the ground facility. The ground cockpit contained the normal flight controls -- throttle, stick, rudder pedals and sensor displays. A computer converted the pilot's actions into electronic signals telemetered to the craft, where an onboard computer sent signals through the digital fly-by-wire system to the flight control surfaces. Telemetry equipment aboard HiMAT relayed thousands of bits per second of real-time flight data back to ground computers.
The craft was capable of speeds of more than 1-1/2 times that of sound. HiMAT was designed to demonstrate maneuvering performance 60 percent better than advanced fighters. The main emphasis during flight testing was on high-G maneuvers in the transonic flight regime (600 to 800 mph), where superior performance is the most difficult and significant.
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air to air
B-52 Stratofortress (Model 464)
Edwards Air Force Base
flight test livery
full body views
HiMAT Research Vehicle
historic production status
NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center
North American Rockwell
one of a kind aircraft