Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We are still working to save the LFST from demolition but we are running out of time!

Please read the article published in Air and Space Magazine concerning the tunnel and take a minute or two to comment on the story. Your comments will let NASA know that this is an issue that people are interested in.

We need your help now!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NASA claims that the LFST has outlived its useful life. This is not the case! In 1995, NASA shut down the LFST. In 1997, Dr. Jim Cross approached NASA to allow Old Dominion University to use the tunnel for hands-on experience for its aerospace engineering students. Dr. Cross and ODU put together a business plan that has been so successful that the LFST has basically paid for the Aerospace Engineering program at ODU. On average, the tunnel costs ODU approximately $400,000 a year to operate but the profit they earned from tests completed at the tunnel for commercial and governmental clients has been about $600,000 per year (except for years when amount was less due to storms like Hurricane Isabel.)
Water is a problem at the LFST but this could be easily solved. Remember, this tunnel was built on a flood plain, has been in existence for 78 years, and is still operational! In 1999, NASA solicited quotes for the demolition of the LFST and because of the asbestos panels on the outside of the facility the bids ranged from $25 million to $41 million. NASA asked for bids earlier this year and has not disclosed what those bid amounts were, but they rejected all of them. They are now soliciting new bids for the demolition. NASA is telling the public that the demolition costs for the LFST will only cost an estimated $4 million. There is no way the costs would be so low, even with newer EPA rules. The taxpayers are going to pay through the nose to destroy an irreplaceable and working testing laboratory. We would be far better off to invest in protecting the LFST and to allow the learning to continue at ODU!
Everyone is complaining about the lack of aerospace engineers in this country. The United States only educates about 75,000 engineers a year-compare this to China and India who educate somewhere between 750,000 to 1,000,000 engineers a year. Closing the LFST is now putting the ODU Aerospace Engineering Department at great risk for closure also. The forward-thinking professors at ODU are trying to do everything possible to help our nation find ways to meet its goal of energy independence with testing and research they have done at the tunnel. You would think that NASA would want to be in the forefront of this new era, instead they are insisting on the tunnel’s closure.
The Space Act Agreement that NASA entered into with ODU for the use of the LFST has proven to be one of NASA’s greatest achievements. The LFST building does need some repairs but it is not dilapidated; it still works and in this case, the asbestos might be advantageous as it will last forever. Keeping the LFST operational would only be a fraction of the cost to demolish it. The LFST’s demolition is bad for education, bad for Virginia, and most importantly, bad for this nation!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Air & Space Magazine has written an article about the closure of this historic wind tunnel. Post your comments after reading the story.

To find out more about the latest tests done at the LFST on Boeing's X-48 prototype.

We need your help to save the wind tunnel! Write your Senators and Congressmen. Forward this blog to people you know. We can make a difference if our voice is heard!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Science needs research; research needs the biggest wind tunnel of them all

Help save the Langley Full Scale Wind Tunnel!

The Langley Full Scale Wind Tunnel (LFST) is slated for destruction by NASA at the end of September 2009, yet this national asset has valuable contributions to make to energy conservation at a time when this has become a pressing national priority.

It does not have to be this way. The wind tunnel belongs to the United States and its citizens. We, the taxpayers, can have a say about the future of the tunnel.

Write the Senators and Congressmen whom serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversee NASA. Write or email your Congressmen and Senators. We have to let them know how we feel about this planned course of action.

--Tell them that tearing down the tunnel now, while it is still operational, makes no sense and is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

--Tell them American science and technology still needs the research the tunnel provides today and in the future.

--Tell them that the educational training and hands on experience for the Old Dominion University and other aerospace engineering students that help keep the tunnel running is a resource we do not want to lose. Students are attracted to the university precisely because of its access to this unique research facility.

--Tell them extensive and ongoing research conducted in this tunnel has pinpointed practical, affordable energy savings efforts totaling more than 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuels per year. And that's just the beginning.

--Tell them we must save the tunnel!

Your actions can make a difference.

To locate Senators on the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversee NASA, use the link:

To locate Congressmen on the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversee NASA, use the link:

To locate your local representative, use the link:

To read some recent articles and learn more about the wind tunnel:

(page 1 Wall Street Journal article, video, and slideshow about the LFST written by Barry Newman on August 26, 2009).

(an editorial written by a LFST customer in The Daily Press from Hampton Roads, VA),0,7514951.story

There is no pressing reason to destroy this incomparable research tool at this time... There is every reason to keep it operating.

Ken Hyde