10/31/2007. The Supercritical Wing (SCW) was designed by Dr. Richard
Whitcomb, chief of the Transonic Aerodynamics Branch, Langley Research
Center, Hampton, Virginia. Compared to a conventional wing, the SCW is
flatter on the top and rounder on the bottom with a downward curve at
the trailing edge. This design reduces the effect of shock waves on
the upper surface near Mach 1, which in turn reduces drag.
A standard F-8A (BuNo. 141353) was supplied by the USN, North American
produced the wing in 1969, and the aircraft was modified by NASA at
the Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. The first flight took
place on March 9, 1971, with Tom McMurtry at the controls, the last
flight was made on May 23, 1973.