NASA has been testing a variety of coatings to prevent insects from sticking to airplanes. Initial tests were done in wind tunnels, with large numbers of small insects, mostly Drosophila flies that can be mass reared. NASA is now ready for field testing and has selected “insect infested” Shreveport, LA as a test site. NASA will establish a “Bug Baseline” during flights with uncoated airplanes. They will then test 5 coatings that made the final cut.
The plane is supplied by Boeing Aircraft, which is looking for information that can cut the fuel use of their products and give a compeitive advantage. The plane will gather information on how the size and location of insect strikes affects fuel efficiency. The NASA findings on coatings will be public information.