Full-Scale Wind Tunnel
Open test section of the Full-Scale Tunnel
|Architect||Smith L. DeFrance|
|NRHP Reference #||85002796|
|Added to NRHP||October 3, 1985|
|Designated NHL||October 3, 1985|
|Designated VLR||February 18, 1986|
In 1929, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics began construction of the nation's and the world's first full-scale wind tunnel. The design team was led by Smith J. De France. The tunnel was completed in 1931 at a cost just under $900,000. It was a double-return tunnel capable of moving air at speeds up to 118 miles per hour (190 km/h) through its circuit. It had a 30 ft by 60 ft (9.1 m x 18.3 m) open throat, which is capable of testing aircraft with spans of 40 ft (12.2 m).The wind tunnel is a double-return, atmospheric pressure tunnel with two fans powered by 4,000 hp electric motors.
The tunnel was used to test virtually every high-performance aircraft used by the United States in World War II. For much of the war, when it was operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the full-scale tunnel was the only tunnel in the free world large enough to perform these tests.
After the war, many types of aircraft were tested in the tunnel including the Harrier Jump Jet fighter, the F-16, the American supersonic transport, the Space Shuttle and Lunar Landing Test Vehicle. The wind tunnel was in use through the 2000s, modified to allow new testing procedures, such as free-flight and high angle of attack.
It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1985. However, despite this designation and the efforts of some aviation historians, demolition of the tunnel began in 2010.  It was documented before its demolition, with the fan blades being salvaged for display. What impact this will have on its NHL designation remains to be seen.
- "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- "Full Scale 30- By 60-Foot Tunnel". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
- Harry A. Butowsky (May 15, 1984). PDF (32 KB). National Park Service. and PDF (32 KB)
- NASA Langley's National Historic Landmarks
- Michael Klesius (Sep 10, 2009). "Last Breath". Air & Space Magazine. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- Denise Lineberry (July 30, 2010). "Langley's Full-Scale Tunnel Lives On". The Researcher News. NASA Langley Research Center. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- "Additional Photos for 30 X 60 Full-Scale Tunnel: Demolition". NASA Langley Research Center. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- Langley Full-Scale Tunnel: The Largest University-Operated Wind Tunnel In The World, at Old Dominion University
- Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
- NASA Langley Cultural Resources: Full Scale Tunnel