HiMAT in flight, NASA history collection
The HiMAT (Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology) subscale research vehicle, seen here during a research flight, was flown by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, from mid 1979 to January 1983. The aircraft demonstrated advanced fighter technologies that have been used in the development of many modern high performance military aircraft. Two vehicles were used in the research program conducted jointly by NASA and the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The two vehicles, flown a total of 26 times, provided data on the use of composites, aeroelastic tailoring, close-coupled canards and winglets. They investigated the interaction of these then-new technologies upon each other. About one-half the size of a standard manned fighter and powered by a small jet engine, the HiMAT vehicles were launched from NASA's B-52 carrier aircraft at an altitude of about 45,000 feet. They were flown remotely by a NASA research pilot from a ground station with the aid of a television camera mounted in the HiMAT cockpits. Technologies tested on the HiMAT vehicles appearing later on other aircraft include the extensive use of composites common now on military and commercial aircraft; rear-mounted wing and forward canard configuration used very successfully on the X-29 research aircraft flown at Dryden; and winglets, now used on many private and commercial aircraft to lessen wingtip drag and enhance fuel savings.
NASA Identifier: NIX-ECN-14273