WBWT About

The Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel is a modern aerodynamic testing facility with a wide variety of commercial, scientific, and educational purposes:

  • Wind tunnel testing by outside users, including commercial companies and government agencies. View specifications.
  • Graduate and undergraduate research projects
  • Graduate and undergraduate education 

Interested in working with us? Get in touch.

Our Facility

The Wright Brother’s Wind Tunnel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a 7.75′ H x 12′ W x 18′ L test section. It is a subsonic, closed-circuit, closed return, atmospheric wind tunnel currently classified as having the largest test section of any wind tunnel in academia. The tunnel has a maximum speed of about 300mph. The Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel Facility is also home to two additional, smaller Hangar Tunnels with test section sizes of 1.5′ H x 1.5′ W and 2′ H x 3′ W.

Since its dedication in 1938, the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel has become a campus landmark used for education, research, industry, and outreach. In 2017, the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) announced it would replace the tunnel with a brand-new facility thanks to a lead funding commitment from Boeing. In addition to support from Boeing, the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel replacement and Building 17 renovation were made possible thanks to gifts from Becky Samberg and the late Arthur “Art” Samberg ’62 and MathWorks for the MIT Wind Tunnel Instrumentation Platform Project, which is helping MIT build and operate a state-of-the-art modern data test driver and data acquisition system.

This diagram shows the key components of the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel from a top-down view. When the tunnel is activated, air circulates counterclockwise around the closed circuit. The unique shape of the fan blades was explicitly designed to work with the boundary layer (noted in blue), a natural phenomenon that occurs whenever air interacts with an object’s surface.
Image: Mark Drela

Operations

Todd Billings

Technical Instructor, MIT AeroAstro

David Robertson

Technical Instructor, MIT AeroAstro

Joshua Segall

Operator, Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel

Administration

Sara Cody

Communications Officer, MIT AeroAstro

Annie Dunlap

Communications Coordinator, MIT AeroAstro

Marie Gentile

Environmental Health & Safety

Brían O'Conaill

Administrative Officer, MIT AeroAstro

Anthony Zolnik

Infrastructure Manager, MIT AeroAstro