Sunday, July 07, 2013

Three museums at the Gillespie Field in El Cahon, one owns Steve McQueen's Stearman

the Allen Airways bought the Stearman at the auction of Steve McQueen's estate...

but while looking at the websites of the others, I discovered that the San Diego Air And Space Museum was gifted the only wind tunnel in San Diego, In March 2006, the Museum acquired the former General Dynamics Low Speed Wind Tunnel (LSWT) at San Diego's Interantional Airport (Lindbergh Field).

The facility is now know as the San Diego Air & Space Technology Center Wind Tunnel, creating another first in the Museum's unique history.

The LSWT, originally began operations under the direction of Consolidated Vultee (Convair) in May 1947. General Dynamics assumed operations in 1961 when the company acquired Convair. General Dynamics' Convair Division (and later Lockheed) operated the facility until a private company took over in 1994. The LSWT remains the only privately held low-speed aeronautical wind tunnel in the United States. (notice the dates, that company held it for only 12 years)

To date, the LSWT has been used extensively in numerous military and civil aerospace development programs, including the F-106, B-58, F-111, F-16, Global Hawk UAV, Tomahawk Cruise Missile, and Advanced Cruise Missile. It has recently served the testing needs of Cessna, Boeing, Gulfstream, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin.

 As the only wind tunnel in the nation capable of performing low-speed flutter testing, Boeing has used the facility extensively to test all its commercial airliners, from the 707 to the new 787 Dreamliner. The facility has also provided testing for nearly 250 professional and amateur bicyclists including Lance Armstrong and the Discovery Cycling Team. In addition, every member of the 2006 US Olympic Luge Team was tested in the wind tunnel. 

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