IndyCar 101 – Rear Wing Beam Flaps

Jon Beekhuis, the ABC and NBCSN pit reporter and technical expert, gives the lowdown on the rear wing beam flaps added this year to help slow Verizon IndyCar Series cars when they spin backward on superspeedways like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

The Texas A&M University Oran W. Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel was happy to participate in increasing safety for IndyCar drivers.

Ten inducted into Aerospace Alumni Academy

“The Aerospace Engineering Honorary Engineer Award is presented to non-Texas A&M University alumni who have made major contributions to the engineering profession and whose support of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M merits recognition. The two honorees given this distinction were Oran Nicks and John Slattery, Ph.D…” Continue Reading

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Pictured from left to right: Phyllis Nicks – accepting the award on behalf of her husband and former tunnel director Oran W. Nicks, Ed White – current director of the wind tunnel, and Lisa Brown – current test engineer at the tunnel.

Cobb Mobb – A Day at the A&M Wind Tunnel

So what exactly is a day in the wind tunnel like for a cyclist or triathlete? Well, it will vary greatly depending on the testing goals of the company, team or athlete booking the day. On this particular day, The Tri Shop wanted to focus mainly on the aero data numbers of various bikes, wheels, helmets and other accessories they sell at the shop, so I’ll focus here on what happens during that kind of day…  Continue Reading

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Sandia Research Reveals Erosion Reduces Wind Turbine Performance

“Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories revealed that leading-edge erosion on wind turbine blades can have a detrimental effect on wind turbine aerodynamic performance within the second year of operation. Light erosion may lead to a 5% decrease in annual energy production, and heavy erosion may reduce energy production by as much as 25%….”

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A&M Wind Tunnel Prop from Atom Bomb Dropper

“All of the World War II veterans at the A&M College Easterwood Airport wind tunnel aren’t the two-legged human variety. One of the is a big hunk of precision built metal. The propeller used to drive the giant tunnel is one of the four which were on the Enola Gay, the B-29 which dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese. The four-bladed prop was given to the college by the U.S. Air Force. It came from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base museum. These four props were especially built to power the atom bomb carrier. The whereabouts of the other three is not known. When the Air Force found out what sort of prop the wind tunnel people were looking for, they discovered the Enola Gay museum piece fit the requirements perfectly. So now, a piece of aviation equipment which helped mark the end of one deadly, but fast moving, era of air progress, is helping pioneer the aviation industry’s future growth. The big closed circuit wind tunnel was completed late in 1958. Employees of the Engineering Extension Service and the Aggie Aero Department spent almost a year and a half calibrating the facility before they were ready to begin testing. Only two series of tests have been run thus far in the half-million dollar unit, one for Howard Aero of San Antonio and one for Temco. Temco made a $180,000 grant to help build the tunnel. Before the construction of the big closed circuit tunnel, the lab had an open circuit tunnel built in 1945-46. The present lab employs a permanent staff of six, including two engineers. Head of the overall operation is A. D. Cronk, head of the aero department. Cronk supervises the lab for the Engineering Extension Service.”

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