General History

The Oran W. Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel has been in operation since 1961. Built as an open tunnel in the mid 1940’s, the wind tunnel was envisioned to support the aerospace industry in a 700 mile radius area. The 7 ft by 10 ft test section with a 16 ft length makes it the largest low speed wind tunnel in operation in Texas.

Initial open-circuit low speed wind tunnel

Staring in the mid 1950’s with the help of a grant from Temco, the wind tunnel was made into an atmospheric closed circuit by the addition of a steel shell. A six component pyramidal balance was also added in order to complete the transformation to a top research facility.

A portion of the now closed-circuit Low Speed Wind Tunnel

In 1980, Oran W. Nicks came to expand the tunnels productivity after a long career in industry and NASA. After a building and facility clean up, the facility was open for commercial customers to help offset the costs of a full time operation, while giving Texas A&M University researchers full support. Nicks would spend the next 16 years leading the wind tunnel facilities and directing advanced research at Texas A&M. After Nicks’ death in 1998, the facility was renamed the Texas A&M Oran W. Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel in his honor.

Currently, the LSWT is under the direction of Dr. Edward White and is proud to serve as a research bed for local graduate and undergraduate students as well as serve a wide variety of industry clients.