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WSU/NIAR facilities to be featured in a Discovery Channel episode tonight

October 13, 2008

The craftsmanship of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) machine shop at Wichita State University (WSU) will be showcased this evening in an episode of a new series on The Discovery Channel.

This week's episode of "Investigation X" is called "UFO Outbreak."

The hour-long episode is to be a “forensic investigation of the mass UFO sightings in Stephenville, Texas; Kokomo, Indiana; and Southwick, Massachusetts.”

The Discovery Channel’s production company visited WSU in September to film in NIAR’s Research Machine Shop and the Department of Aerospace Engineering’s 4x4-inch supersonic wind tunnel. Two models, designed by Charlie Cook of Digital Ranch, created by Jonas Fink of the NIAR CAD/CAM Lab and machined by Mark Murrell, took shape in the shop’s HAAS VF-4 5-axis vertical machining center.

The two models—an aluminum UFO-like disc and a stainless steel fighter aircraft—were then tested for their aerodynamic properties at speeds of about Mach 2 in the supersonic tunnel.

WSU graduate student Armin Ghoddoussi performed the wind tunnel testing, including setup of the color Schlieren system.

“They wanted to compare the shock structure off of a disc and a generic fighter to see if it was possible that the disc passed through air with significantly different characteristics,” said NIAR/WSU research scientist Eddie Irani, who worked initially with Cook to help define the problem and purpose of the models.

The episode will air at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Source: Wichita State University

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