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BASE TAKES NEW STAND MATS TO TEST JETS' THRUST.

Byline: Daily News

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE - An 80-foot-tall test stand for examining vectored thrust characteristics of aircraft and help improve flight performance capabilities is being assembled at Edwards.

Managed by the 412th Test Wing Project Management Directorate, the multiaxis thrust stand, or MATS, consists of three 80-foot towers, which are joined by a T-frame and set to measure ``vectored thrust'' aircraft - jets that swivel their exhaust nozzles to help steer.

According to Carl Schudde, MATS project manager, the stand is key to thrust-testing of future aircraft at the Air Force Flight Test Center.

Schudde said vectored thrust could be described as thrust that comes from multiple directions.

On a regular jet aircraft, the thrust will only come from one direction: the rear. This means traditional aircraft could be tested on a less complex horizontal ground stand.

However, Schudde added that aircraft like the Joint Strike Fighter use vectored thrust and can't be tested on these horizontal stands.

Schudde said horizontal thrust stands can't test the different angles of thrust because the aircraft is being pushed in more than one direction. Once the stand is completed, Edwards testers can suspend an aircraft up to 50 feet high and connect sensors to measure thrust results from any angle.

Data taken from the stand, such as pressures and temperatures, will feed into a control room where it will be compiled and analyzed.

After the data is analyzed, the information will be used to better understand the thrust characteristics of the aircraft.

In addition to its ability to suspend an aircraft, the stand is adjustable as well.

It can be raised and lowered to measure the thrust from short takeoff and vertical landing in aircraft like the JSF.

Prior to coming to Edwards, the MATS had been in operation for about five years with NASA's Ames Research Center in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Because of noise complaints, the stand was shut down.

``When an aircraft is on the stand, it makes a lot of noise,'' Schudde said. ``Since Edwards is such an isolated location, testing can be done at any time with no complaint.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 23, 2002
Words:352
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