[515-565] Notes


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Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Epilogue





1. 63 Stat. 410. For the fall text of ibis law, see Alex Poland, Model Research: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958, NASA SP-4103 (Washington, 1985), 2:399-400

2. Bush's remark was recalled by Ralph E. "Mike" Cushman Special Programs Coordinator, Office of the Comptroller, NASA HQ, during my telephone conversation with him 16 May 1984. Mr. Cushman worked as procurement and supply officer at NACA headquarters from 1947 to. 1958.

3. Michener, Space (New York: Random House, 1982), p. 173.

4. NACA Tech. Rpt. (TR) 411, printed in Eighteenth Annual Report of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1932 (Washington, 1983), p 29. (Hereafter NACA annual reports will be cited in the form AR 1932)

5. At various times the Committee attempted to determine the proportion of its work devoted to basic research. Only by using the most liberal interpretation of the word did the NACA conclude that 15 to 20, percent of its research activities were "basic." One NACA veteran believes in retrospect that a more realistic figure would have been about 5 percent. See Ira H. Abbott, "A Review and Commentary of a Thesis by Arthur L. Levine, Entitled 'A Study of the Major Policy Decisions of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.' Dated 1963," NASA HQ History Office Archive (HQA) HHN-35, Apr. 134, p. 157.

6. Constant, The Origins of the Turbojet Revolution (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980), p. 156

7. Preface to Applied Wing Theory New York: McGraw-Hill, 1932), I.E.Garrick p. vii.

8. I. E. Garrick interview with author, 24 Sept. 1981.

9. Arnold Pacey, The Maze of Ingenuity: Ideas and Idealism in the Development of Technology (Cambridge, Mass., and London, England: MIT Press, 1976), p. 15

10. Ibid.

11. For a close examination of the history of U.S. government laboratories, see Hans Mark F and Arnold Levine,. The Management of Research Institutions: A Look at Government Laboratories, NASA SP-481 (Washington, 109.5).


Chapter 1



1. Announcement of the. "First Annual Banquet of the Aeronautical Society" 1911, in file entitled "Materials Collected by Roland for NACA History." NASA HQ History Office Archive (HQA), Washington. (These. materials, along with those collected by Walter Bonney between 1971 and 1975 during his unfinished work on an NACA history, were to be retired to the Washington National Records Center in a single accession.) The events of this April 19111 meeting of the American Aeronautical Society are described by Alex Roland in Model Research: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958, NASA SP-4103 (Washington, 1985), pp. 4-5.

2. Chief, Bureau of Construction and Repair, to Secretary of the Navy, "Relative to Proposed Establishment of an Aeronautical Laboratory in Washington," 20 Apr. 1911, in Roland's "Materials," HQA; Richard C. Maclaurin, "The Sore Need of Aviation," Aero Club of America Bulletin, Aug. 1912, p. 7. See also Lee M. Pearson, "The Role of the U.S. Navy in Establishing a National Aeronautical Research Agency," paper read before the History of Science Society, New York City, 28 Dec. 1956, copy in Roland's "Materials." For contemporary insight into the applications of hydrodynamics to the calculation of the forces acting on airplane wings and airship bodies, see Ludwig Prandtl, "Application of Modern Hydrodynamics to Aeronautics," NACA Tech. Rpt. (TR) 116, 1921. (This paper, translated by the staff of the NACA, was prepared by Prandtl at the NACA's special request for a detailed treatise on the hydrodynamic-aerodynamic relationship.)

3. Albert F. Zahm, Aeronautical Papers (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1950), 1:245.

4. Quoted from Roland, Model Research, p. 2; Rep. Gilbert Hitchcock (R., Neb.), Brooklyn Eagle, 13 Mar. 1904.

5. See J. Laurence Pritchard, "The Dawn of Aerodynamics," Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society 61 (Mar. 1957): 176, and N. H. Randers Pherson, "Pioneer Wind Tunnels," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 93 (19 Jan. 1935).

6. Model Research, p. 5.

7. Charles D. Walcott, "Minutes of First Meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Langley Aerodynamical Laboratory, May 23, 1913"; reprinted in Model Research, app. H, no. 3, pp. 585-591. George E. Downey, Comptroller of the Treasury, to Walcott, 17 Mar. 1914, in "Secretary's File, 1909-1924," in Roland's "Materials."

8. H.R. 20975, U.S. Congress, Congressional Record, 63/3, 1915, pp. 4600-26, 4694-716, 5209-16. The full text of the law establishing the NACA is reprinted as app. A of this book.

9. The rider on the naval appropriation bill was based closely on House J.R. 413, 63/3, 1 Feb. 1915.

10. Wing-warping was the technique by which a pilot imparted helical twist to the wings by manually raising or lowering either wing. The technique derived from a method for the aerodynamic control of large kites developed from an understanding of the flight of birds. See Tom D. Crouch, A Dream of Wings (New York, 1981), p. 230.

11. David Noble provided a New Left analysis of this development in his 1977 book, America by Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism (New York: Knopf). Noble concluded that the American patent system "gradually fostered the corporate control of the process of invention itself and thus facilitated the commercially expedient retardation, as well as promotion, of invention" (p. 85). For an alternative appraisal, see Floyd L. Vaughn, The United States Patent System: Legal and Economic Conflicts in American Patent History (Norman, Okla., 1956).

12. Alice Quinlan, "World War I Aeronautical Research: A Comparison of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the National Research Council," NASA HHN-135, 1974, HQA.

13. AR 1917, pp. 31-32.

14. Griffith to Executive Committee, 4 Apr. 1918, in Roland's "Materials."

15. David Kite Allison, New Eye for the Navy: The Origin of Radar at the Naval Research Laboratory, NRL report 8466 (Washington, 1981), p. 14.

16. House Naval Affairs Committee, Hearings on Estimates Submitted by the Secretary of the Navy, 1916 (64/1, 1916), p. 1811.

17. P. 20. Scriven apparently expected the NACA always to serve military interests and to endorse all military requests for congressional appropriations. See Brig. Gen. George P. Scriven to Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 16 Apr. 1915, in Roland's "Materials."

18. Josephus Daniels to the president, 30 Nov. 1915; reprinted in Model Research, app. H, no. 8, p. 602.

19. The NACA's longtime executive secretary, John F. Victory, too often told the story that navy men disguised themselves as fishermen and army officers as hunters, when inspecting the Hampton site, in order to keep land prices down. Alex Poland dismisses the story as apocryphal: "It is true that the notion of a joint site was discussed with navy representatives present," Roland noted in Model Research (p. 340 n. 20), "but [the navy] quickly squelched any expectations the NACA may have had about [its] participation."

20. "Report of the Subcommittee on a Site for Experimental Work and Proving Grounds for Aeronautics, 23 November 1916," in Milton Ames Collection, Box 1, NASA Langley Research Center Historical Archive (LHA). Board members included Lt. Col. G. 0. Squier, Capt. T. D. Milling, Capt. V. E. Clark, and Capt. R. C. Marshall, Jr. See also AR 1917, p. 20.

21. Squier to Chairman, NACA Executive Committee, 10 Nov. 1916, in Roland's "Materials." See also Squier to Adj. Gen. of the Army, "Acquisition of Land for Aviation Purposes, 4 December 1916." (Supporting document 2 to "History of Langley Field, Inception to 1 March 1935," unpublished and undated, USAF Tactical Air Command HQ History Office, Langley Field, Va.)

22. See A. H. Glennan, Acting Surgeon General, to naval constructor Holden C. Richardson, USN, NACA, 18 Nov. 1916, copy in Milton Ames Collection, Box 1, LHA; Charles D. Walcott to G. 0. Squier, 23 Nov. 1916, in Roland's "Materials."

23. AR 1916, p. 19.

24. "Uncle Sam's Eagles Saved Hampton: Advent of State's Dry Era Threatened Historic City until Trio of Local Patriots Sold Old Plantations to Army for Flying Field and Stopped Real Estate Toboggan," Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sunday magazine, 13 Jan. 1935.

25. Word of the government's search for land may have spread to Hampton via newspaper stories, political or military contacts, or perhaps even through a direct inquiry. Walcott had written to a Mr. C. W. Baker, of Aberdeen, Md., on 16 Oct. 1916 about a possible site. Harry Holt, Jr., told the author 10 Sept. 1981 he believes his father may have heard about the proposed airfield through Gen. Billy Mitchell or Virginia's U.S. Senator Thomas S. Martin, The Hampton Monitor headlined "Big Aviation Plant May Locate Here" on 27 Oct. 1916, but a meeting the same day between the committee of Hamptonians and Capt. Richard C. Marshall, Signal Corps, strongly suggests earlier knowledge of the government's interest. The exact price paid by }Iolt and Groome for their options to sell the land is unknown to this author; however, Holt, Jr., told me in a private conversation that he remembers his father coming home one day and informing the family "that if this deal with the government fell through, he would be broke."

26. 17 Dec. 1916. Community enthusiasm for the location of the airfield near Hampton can be followed in a series of articles in the Hampton Monitor and the Newport News Daily Press: "U.S. Aviators May Come to Back River, Greatest Confidence in This Entertained by All, Decide by December 1, Biggest Thing for Hampton That Has Occurred since Location of Newport News Shipyards," Monitor, 24 Nov. 1916; "Mammoth Army Aviation School and Experimental Station Will Be Located on Back River near Hampton," Daily Press, 17 Dec. 1916; "Progress at Langley Field Made Each Day, Headquarters Opened by Officer in Charge of Hampton, Work Plant to be Rushed, Railway Organized and Plans and Specifications for Buildings Soon to be Out," Monitor, 2 Feb. 1917; editorial, Monitor, 29 Mar. 1917; "Facing a Crisis," Monitor, 27 July 1917. In July 1918 the Monitor published a special "Aviation Edition" supposedly featuring the construction of Langley Field but actually highlighting area businesses and industries.

27. "J. T. Sloan Will Supervise Building at Langley Field," Hampton Monitor, 8 Feb. 1917.

28. John Werth, Supt. of Construction, to Maj. C. T. Waring, Construction Div., Signal Corps, Langley Field, "Conditions on Langley Field, 6 December 1917"; John L. Boardman, Construction Supt., J. G. White Engineering Corp., to OIC Construction, Langley Field, 6 Sept. 1918; E. 0. Bennett to J. F. Victory, NACA, Washington, 20 Aug. 1918; S. W. Stratton, Secretary of NACA, to Dir. of Military Aeronautics, War Dept.. Washington, "Construction of Wind Tunnel Building at Langley Field." Copies of all the above documents are in the Milton Ames Collection.

29. On the history of the DH aircraft, see Aubrey J. Jackson, DeHavilland Aircraft Since 1909 (London, 1978), pp. 58-66. On the history of the Liberty engine, see Robert Schlaifer, The Development of Aircraft Engines (Harvard University, Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, 1950) and Herschel Smith, Aircraft Piston Engines: From the Manly Baltzer to the Continental Tiara (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981).

30. Cited in Robert I. Curtiss, John Mitchell, and Martin Copp, Langley Field: The Early Years, 1916-1946 (Office of History, 4500th Air Base Wing, Langley AFB, Va., 1977), p. 13. In 1984 and 1985, the Langley AFB Flyer published a series of well-researched historical essays on the early days of Langley Field authored by Col. Charles L. Weidinger. In "What Happened to the Proving Ground?" (16 March 1984, p. 19), Colonel Weidinger examines the role of the Liberty engine development in changing the army's plans for Langley.

31. Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel (New York, 1929), p. 516.

32. Newport News, Va., Daily Press, 12 Oct. 1918.

33. Opinion expressed by Lieutenant Colonel Squier, cited in Langley Field: The Early Years, p. 196 n. 45.

34. Model Research, p. 81. See also Weidinger, "What Happened to the Proving Ground?" Langley Flyer, 16 March 1984.

35. The NACA appeals for formal assignment of property were made by Samuel W. Stratton (to Secretary of War, 12 Dec. 1916), William F. Durand (to Lt. Col. George 0. Squier, 29 Aug. 1917), and Charles D. Walcott (to Secretary of War, 17 Dec. 1918). Colonel Bane expressed his opposition to any NACA control at Langley Field in a letter to Maj. Gen. William L. Kenly, 15 Jan. 1915. Copies of all of the above letters are in the Milton Ames Collection.

36. C. T. Menoher to Acting Secretary of War, with notation of approval, 22 Apr. 1919, Milton Ames Collection.

37. AR 1918, p. 24.

38. Col. Oscar Westover to the NACA, 16 Sept. 1919, copy in Milton Ames Collection.

39. J. H. DeKlyn to Dr. Joseph Ames, with memoranda by DeKlyn and Edward P. Warner, Langley chief physicist, 9 July 1919; J. F. Victory, "Memorandum Regarding Use of Langley Field by NACA," 27 Sept. 1919, in Roland's "Materials"; AR 1920, p. 14.

40. AR 1917, p. 16; AR 1918, p. 24; AR 1919, pp. 14-15.

41. NACA research authorization no. 10, approved by the NACA Executive Committee, 20 June 1919, (Hereafter NACA research authorizations will be cited as RAs.) All of Langley's RAs and RA files are in the LHA.

42. NACA Executive Committee minutes, 10 Jan. 1921, in Roland's "Materials."

43. Speech of Rear Adm. D. W. Taylor, USN, Langley Field, 11 June 1920, copy in Milton Ames Collection.

44. Ames to Col. W. N. Hensley, USA, CO, Langley Field, 21 June 1920, cited in Michael 1). Keller, "A History of the NACA Langley Laboratory, 1917-1948" (University of Arizona Ph.D. thesis, 1968), p. 73 n. 77.

45. Leigh M. Griffith to George W. Lewis, 17 June 1920, C153-2, Langley Central Files (LCF).


Chapter 2

Langley Personality, Formative Years


1. B. R. Luczak confronted the issue of routine executive control for NACA Ames laboratory in his unpublished paper "A Management and Procedural Analysis of the NACA," submitted to the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Administration in 1950. Copy in the NASA HQ History Office Archive (HQA). Nancy Jane Petrovic also examined the executive management of the NACA and its successor agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in her doctoral thesis "Design for Decline: Executive Management and the Eclipse of NASA" (University of Maryland, 1982).

2. Speech by Victory, 1952 meeting of the Air Research and Development Command, Baltimore; copy in Langley Research Center Historical Archive (LHA).

3. Jerome C. Hunsaker, "George William Lewis (1882-1948)," reprint from Year Book of the American Philosophical Society, 1948, pp. 269-278, copy in LHA.

4. I. E. Garrick interview with Walter Bonney, 27 Mar. 1973, copy of transcript, p. 15. (The LHA preserves copies of all 32 of Bonney's interviews.)

5. T. Melvin Butler interview with Bonney, 29 Mar. 1973.

6. Lewis to Porter Adams, 6 Aug. 1936, in 60 A 635 (11), 1-36, Adams, Porter, Record Group 255, National Archives, Washington, copy in Roland's "Materials."

7. John V. Becker, The High-Speed Frontier: Case Histories of Four NACA Programs,1920-1950, NASA SP-445 (Washington, 1980), p. 22.

8. Victory to John DeKlyn, 7 May 1919, copy in Milton Ames Collection. See also Roland, Model Research, p. 84.

9. Early reports b' Warner include "Preliminary Report on Free Flight Tests," NACA TR 70; "Slipstream Corrections in Performance Computation," TR 71; "Wind Tunnel Balances," TR 72; "Statical Longitudinal Stability of Airplanes,' TR 96; "Notes on the Theory of the Accelerometer," NACA Tech. Note (TN) 3; and "Problem of the Helicopter," TN 4 (all 1920). For some time after his resignation from Langley, Warner remained the Committee's most prolific author of technical reports and notes. The LHA has a catalog of my three-by-five cards referencing Warner's papers.

10. Telephone interview, Frederick Norton, Dog town, Mass., with author, 1 Oct. 1981, transcript in LHA. There is also a three-by-five card file in the LHA for papers by Norton.

11. Victory told doctoral candidate Michael D. Keller during an interview on 22 June 1967 that Samuel Stratton, NACA secretary, decided on the title engineer-in-charge. Copy of transcript in LHA.

12. I reached this conclusion after surveying routine correspondence between Griffith and NACA headquarters, in particular letters from 1924 and 1925 in B10-6 ("Washington Office"), Langley Central Files (LCF).

13. "Miscellaneous Correspondence. Local NACA Hqts.-Langley Color," folder in Milton Ames Collection marked "Note: Strict Discipline Required." The employee who recalled Griffith's departure was Smith J. DeFrance. DeFrance also believed that another complaint the Washington office had against Griffith was that his staff was producing an insufficient number of technical reports. DeFrance interview with Michael D. Keller, Hampton, Va., 16 June 11,967, notes in LHA.

14. Engineer-in-Charge to Miss Dillon, 27 May 1926, C54-6, LCF.

15. The fact that Reid's signature was on so many Langley letters can be misinterpreted: most of the letters were actually prepared by others.

16. John V. Becker to author, written comments on early draft of this chapter, 10 Mar. 1983.

17. Ibid.

18. See this book's Guide to NACA Historical Sources at Langley for a discussion of the nuances of the research authorization (RA) files in the LHA.

19. Telephone interview, Eastman N. Jacobs, Malibu, Calif., with author, 27 Aug. 1983; Kantrowitz interview with Walter Bonney, Everett, Mass., 1 Nov. 1971.

20. Kantrowitz with Bonney, pp. 2-3. There is a fine description of the Kantrowitz-Jacobs fusion experiments in T. A. Heppenheimer, The Man-Made Sun: The Quest for Fusion Power (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, and Co., 1983), pp. 286-292.

21. S. Paul Johnston interview with Bonney, Bozman, Md., 19 Oct. 1971. The Committee hired Johnston without Lewis's wholehearted agreement. The two men became polite but intense rivals. Lewis prevailed, and Johnston left after less than two years' employment. Considering their antipathy, Johnston may not be the best source to quote for illustrating Lewis's insistence on soundness and accuracy. Robinson's response to Johnston's comment came to me in personal communication, 12 Feb. 1985,

22. Leigh M. Griffith to George Lewis, 6 Dec. 1927, E26-3, LCF.

23. Joseph Ames, minutes of the NACA Executive Committee meeting, 18 Mar. 1927.

24. Telephone interview, Norton with author, 1 Oct. 1981.

25. DeFrance interview with Bonney, 23 Sept. 1974, p. 1.

26. Thompson interview with Bonney, Hampton, Va., 27 Mar. 1973, pp. 1-3.

27. Elliott C. Reid, Applied Wing Theory (New York, 1932), p. vii. On the state of aeronautical education in America during the 1920s and 1930s, see Richard P. Hallion, Legacy of Flight: The Guggenheim Contribution to American Aviation (Seattle, 1977), p. 46ff.

28. Arthur Gardiner to Engineer-in-Charge, "Visit to Swarthmore College," 1 May 1924, E32-12A, LCF.

29. Lewis to Klemin, 24 Mar. 1926, 55 A 312 (6), 110.1, Klemin, Alexander (2), Record Group 255, National Archives. On the other hand, Langley engineer Robert Littell told Michael D. Keller on 21 Dec. 1966 (copy of transcript, p.2, LHA) that Lewis had attempted to block some employees from leaving the lab for industry. Lewis apparently did this by calling company presidents. Littell also claimed that Langley employees were aware of this and thus kept their negotiations for new jobs secret.

30. Leigh Griffith to E. P. Lesley, 28 Jan. 1925, in RA file 98.

31. Figures from Automotive Industries (23 Feb. 1935), p. 295. The best introduction to these events is still Climb to Greatness: The American Aircraft Industry, 1920-60 (Cambridge, Mass., 1968), by John B. Rae.

32. Fred Weick has tape-recorded tens of hours of "Historical Reminiscences," and has kindly given transcripts of these recordings to the author. Weick has also given copies of these transcripts to the Smithsonian and to the history of aviation collection at the University of Texas at Dallas. I used these transcripts as the basis of my NASA Langley colloquium lecture, "The Life and Times of Fred Weick, Aeronautical Pioneer," given at Langley on 19 August 1985 in recognition of the sixtieth anniversary of Weick's employment with the NACA. A videotape of the colloquium, which was highlighted by the awarding of a plaque to Weick, who was present as NASA's guest, is available through the office of the film librarian at the Floyd Thompson Technical Library, Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. Also available from the LaRC film librarian is a videotape of an October 1981 presentation by Zimmerman, "Remembering Langley in the 1930s," in the LHA.

33. Rhode, "NACA: Historical Comments" in response to questions posed to him in a letter from Michael Keller, typescript, 23 Jan. 1967, p. 9, LHA.

34. Hartley A. Soulé, "Synopsis of the History of Langley Research Center, 1915-1939," NASA HHN-40, 1966, ch. 2, p. 2, copies in HQA and LHA.

35. John V. Becker with Bonney, Hampton, Va., 27 March 1973, p. 9.

36. For examples of NACA Langley's LTA flight studies in the 1920s and 1930s, see John W. Crowley, Jr., and Smith J. DeFrance, "Pressure Distribution on the C-7 Airship," TR 223, 1926; DeFrance and C. P. Burgess, "Speed and Deceleration Trials of U.S.S. Los Angeles," TR 318, 1928; Floyd L. Thompson, "Full-Scale Turning Characteristics of the U.S.S. Los Angeles," TR 333, 1929. For detailed information on the administration of this research, see correspondence in the following research authorization files: RA 76, "Pressure Distribution on a 'C' Class Airship," approved by the Executive Committee on 23 May 1923; RA. 102, "Investigation of Aerodynamic Loads on the U.S.S. Shenandoah," 12 June 1924; RA 282, "Study of the Forces on an Airship Entering a Hangar," 22 Mar. 1929 (modified to cover "Wind Tunnel Tests of U.S.S. Akron at Large Angles of Yaw," 21 Apr. 1932); RA 311, "Study of Deceleration on Metalclad Airship ZNC-2," 24 Oct. 1929; and RA 354, "Investigation of Aerodynamic Loads on U.S.S. Akron," 23 June 1931. An illustrated history of the army's airship squadron at Langley is presented in Langley Field: The Early Years, pp. 50-51 and 83-94

37. See Richard K. Smith, The Airships Akron and Macon: Flying Aircraft Carriers of the U.S. Navy (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1965), and Edward Horton, The Age of the Airship (Chicago: Regnery, 1973).

38. These tests were based on the earlier boundary-layer control research of Hugh B. Freeman, an engineer working in Eastman Jacobs's Variable-Density Tunnel section; see Freeman's "Measurements of Flow h the Boundary Layer of a 1/40th-Scale Model of the U.S. Airship 'Akron'," TR 432, 1933. This research was done under the cover of RA 201, "Investigation of Various Methods of Improving Wing Characteristics by Control of the Boundary Layer," which had been authorized in Jan. 1927. Roland has analyzed the history of this RA in app. F of Model Research, pp. 529-550.

39. Munk, "Aerodynamic Forces on Airship Hulls," TR 184, 1924. For expert contemporary insight into the special nature of airship aerodynamics, see Munk, "Aerodynamics of Airships" and Karl Arnstein and Werner Klemperer, "The Performance of Airships" in William F. Durand, ed., Aerodynamic Theory, 6 vols. (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1934-1936) 6:32-48 and 49-133. See also Edward P. Warner, Aerostatics (New York: 1926) and Charles P. Burgess, Airship Design (New York: 1927).

40. John V. Becker, High-Speed Frontier, p. 211.

41. Story told by Pearl I. Young to Michael Keller, 10 Jan. 1966, Hampton, Va., copy of transcript, pp. 3-4, LHA.

42. See relevant correspondence in C88-10 ("Housing"), LCF.

43. Rhode, "Historical Comments," pp. 6-8, LHA.

44. See "Green Cow Has Fascinating History," Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory Bulletin, 5 June 1943. (All references to Langley in-house newspaper articles can be found in the LHA.)

45. See Michael D. Keller, "A History of the NACA Langley Laboratory, 1917-1947" (University of Arizona Ph.D. thesis, 1968), pp. 165-67.

46. Charles Zimmerman interview with Bonney, 30 Mar. 1973, pp. 5-6.

47. See High-Speed Frontier, p. 29.


Chapter 3

The Variable-Density 'Wind Tunnel


1. I am following Donald D. Baals and William ft. Corliss, The Wind Tunnels of NASA, NASA SP-440 (Washington, 1981), pp. 2-3. On the 1871 tunnel, see also J. Laurence Pritchard, "The Dawn of Aerodynamics," Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society 61 (Mar. 1957): 159-60, and Kenneth Goin, "The History, Evolution and Use of Wind Tunnels," AIAA Student Journal, Feb. 1971, p. 4.

2. Theodore von K·rm·n, Aerodynamics: Selected Topics in the Light of Their Historical Development (Ithaca, New York, 1954), pp. 9-10.

3. Tom D. Crouch, A Dream of Wings, pp. 246-47.

4. N. H. Randers Pherson, Pioneer Wind Tunnels, Smithsonian Publication 3294 (Washington, 1935). See also Pritchard, "Dawn of Aerodynamics," p. 176.

5. Albert F. Zahm detailed Eiffel's tunnels in his "Eiffel's Aerodynamic Laboratory and Studies," Aero Club of America Bulletin, Aug. 1912 (reprinted in Zahm's Aeronautical Papers, 1:239-44).

6. See L. A. Gilgore, "Wind Tunnel Drives," Washington Engineer 2 (Mar. 1954): 79-86.

7. Theodore von Karman, Aerodynamics, pp. 73-82.

8. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., interview with author, Hampton, Va., 12 June 1984, and telephone conversation, John V. Becker, Newport News, Va., with author, 18 Oct. 1984.

9. Interviews with Max M. Munk, Ocean City, Md., 1-4 Apr. 1982, (Munk's permanent residence was in Rehoboth Beach, Del.; he was staying at the time in a mobile home next door to his closest relatives in America, recuperating from eye surgery.) Munk would not permit me to tape-record our conversations, but I wrote detailed notes following each day's interview. On 20 Aug. 1985, I visited Munk again, this time at his home in Reboboth Beach, bringing with me Dr. Feri Farassat, a NASA Langley engineer, and Prof. Mark Levinson of the University of Maine. At this time, Munk graciously donated nearly his entire collection of technical books to the LHA.

Also, Frederick Norton to George W. Lewis, 30 Apr. 1921, AV400-1 ("Sections, Langley Low-Turbulence Tunnel, General Correspondence"), LCF. Note that the correspondence of the VDT section was eventually mixed with the correspondence of its successor, the Two-Dimensional Low Turbulence Tunnel section.

10. Max M. Munk, "My Early Aerodynamic Research - Thoughts and Memories," Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 13 (1981): l-2. The NACA translated Munk's dissertation in 1921 as TR 121, "The Minimum Induced Drag of Aerofoils." Munk described the tunnel ideas he had while at Zeppelin in "On a New Type of Wind Tunnel," NACA TN 60, June 1921.

11. Quoted from Paul Hanle's Bringing Aerodynamics to America, (Cambridge, Mass., 1981), p. 155. A copy of this letter, dated 2 July 1924, is in AV400-1, LCF.

12. Hunsalcer, "Europe's Facilities for Aeronautical Research," Flying (May 1914), p. 108. This was a popularized digest of the original which appeared in the Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1914. On the Göttingen group under Prandtl, see Hanle's Bringing Aerodynamics to America.

13. This uncle was Adolph Lewisohn, who came to America from Hamburg ca 1868. Lewisohn became president of the Tennessee Corp., Miami Copper Co., and South American Gold and Platinum Co., as well as president of the Hebrew Shelter Guardian Society and director of the Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

14. Munk interview with author, 2 Apr. 1982. This version of the NACA's decision to hire Munk seems to be uncorroborated by written records.

15. See James McGovern, Crossbow and Overcast (New York, 1964), and Clarence G. Lasby, "German Scientists in America: Their Importation, Exploitation, and Assimilation, 1945-1952," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles, 11962.

16. "Proceedings, Twentieth Wilbur Wright Memorial Lecture and Conversazione," The Royal Aeronautical Society 36 (Dec. 1932): 995-96. In this lecture, Wimperis cited a speech made in 1931 by Ernest F. Relf, superintendent of the NPL's aerodynamics department, to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in which Relf attributed the idea of using a compressed fluid to Margoulis. Walter Diehl commented on the British claim in a letter to George Lewis, 25 June 1932, NACA research authorization file 70, "Standardization of wind tunnels." Diehl had read a preprint of Wimperis's Wilbur Wright lecture.

In 1933 the French government would authorize the construction of Margoulis's design for a "reduced density" supersonic (Mach 2.7) tunnel at the University of Paris. See Journées scientifiques et techniques de mécanique des fluides tenues à Lille en 1994 (Paris: Chiron, 1934).

17. The quotations are from John D. Anderson. Introduction to Flight: Its Engineering and History (New York, 1978), pp. 6-31 and 196-98.

18. Walter G. Vincenti, "The Air-Propeller Tests of W. F. Durand and E. P. Lesley: A Case Study in Technological Methodology," Technology and Culture 20 (1979): 743-44.

19. In building a 160-KPH-plus, all metal, smooth-skinned, midwing monoplane with internally braced cantilever wings in 1915, Hugo Junkers had set off an international chain reaction of innovation in aircraft structures. Boldly challenging the myth of the thin section, the design simplified wing construction arid assembly, eliminated the resistance of the interplane bracing, and raised the maximum lift. Then, Anthony Fokker had built the era's most highly advanced fighters with thick, cantilever wings-the "Dr. I" (Dr. for "Dreidecker," or triplane) and the D-VII (the only aircraft specifically cited by the Treaty of Versailles as war materiel to be handed over to the Allies by the defeated Germans). Though the internally braced thick section dated back to an Antoinette monoplane flown in France about 1910, American recognition of the need to explore this type of wing came only after the tremendous success of the German warplanes. See Frederick H. Norton, "The Aerodynamic Properties of Thick Aerofoils Suitable for Internal Bracing," TR. 75, 1919. For further discussion and analysis of the Junkers and Fokker designs, see A. R. Weyl, Fokker: The Creative Years (London, 1965); John H. Morrow, Jr., German Airpower in World War I (Lincoln, Nebr., 1982); and Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft, NASA SP-468 (Washington, 1985), pp. 22, 38, 43, and 47.

20. Lt. Col. Edgar S. Gorrell and Maj. H. S. Martin (Signal Corps, USA), "Aerofoils and Aerofoil Structural Combination," TR 18, 1919. The experimental series derived from "Durand 13," an airfoil section designed by William F. Durand at Stanford University.

21. AR 1919, p. 15. On the early years of the NACA's Paris office, see correspondence in 57 A 415, Box 66, National Archives.

22. "Aerodynamic Characteristics of Airfoils," TR 93, 1919.

23. For expert technical discussion of these developments in airfoil theory, see von Karman, Aerodynamics, pp. 44-46 and 50-54, as well as relevant sections in Ira H. Abbott and Albert E. von Doenhoff, Wing Section Theory (New York, 1959).

24. See Grover Loening, Our Wings Grow Faster (New York, 1935).

25. Mark Levinson, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine, claims that from the time of the appearance of Munk's 1922 report (NACA TR 142) "we may speak of the modern era in the history of airfoil profiles," whereas "all prior work, whether theoretical, experimental, or merely cut-and-try, may be considered as belonging to the pioneer period of that history." Munk's thin-wing theory is to airfoil design, Levinson explains, what "the Euler-Bernoulli beam theory is to any of the modern, sophisticated theories of elastic rods or what lumped-parameter electriccircuit theory is to the full equations of electromagnetic field theory" - it is a theory of the "first order." Such theories are "quite adequate for the purposes of engineering design; the good engineer understands the limitations of such approximate theories and knows when not [Levinson's emphasis] to use them." Unpublished manuscript, "Airfoil Profiles: Eyeballing, Design, and Selection, 1880-1922" (March 1985), pp. 28-29.

26. TR 142. See R. T. Jones, "Recollections from an Earlier Period in American Aeronautics," Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 9 (1977): 3-6

27. "Model Tests with a Systematic Series of 27 Wing Sections at Full Reynolds Number," TR 221, 1925, by Munk and Elton W. Miller.

28. AR 1925, p. 16. See also George J. Higgins, "The Comparison of Well-Known and New Wing Sections Tested in the Variable-Density Wind Tunnel," TN 219, May 1925, and "The Characteristics of the NACA M-12 Airfoil Section," TN 243, June 1926.

29. Langley staff memo order 123, 11 Jan. 1926, E27-6, LCF.

30. Griffith to Lewis, 9 Nov. 1923, AV400-1, LCF.

31, Norton to Lewis, 9 Aug. and 6 Oct. 1921, AV400-1, LCF.

32. See, for example, Langley staff memo orders 102, 9 Sept. 1924, and 115, 15 May 1925, E27-6, LCF.

33. Staff memo order 102, 9 Sept. 1924, E27-6; Western Union telegram, 23 Sept. 1924, AV400-1, LCF.

34. See Bacon interview with Michael D. Keller, 3 Oct. 1967, copy of transcript, pp. 10--li, LHA.

35. Weick tells the story of the PRT balance design in his tape-recorded "Historical Reminiscences," tape 3, sides 1 and 2. (A copy of the transcript is in the LHA.)

36. Floyd L. Thompson interview with Walter Bonney, 27 Mar. 1973, p. 4. The author confirmed the details of this story in an interview with Weick during a reunion of former NACA employees in Williamsburg, Va., 14 Nov. 1982.

37. In Model Research, Roland puts forward substantial evidence (pp. 95-98) that it was a confrontation with George Lewis that prompted Munk's resignation and that there was as much or more philosophy as personality involved. Knowing Roland's interpretation, I asked Munk - during the visit of Farassat, Levinson, and myself with him on 20 August 1985-if he had disagreed significantly with Lewis over research philosophy; Munk answered very strongly that he had not, and that his trouble with Lewis was purely personal. My version of the revolt against Munk is meant to shed light on the personality differences related to Munk's resignation, not to diminish Roland's ideas about philosophy - which, notwithstanding Munk's objections, seem to have been part of the explanation.

38. Norton to George Lewis, 9 Aug. 1921, AV400-1, LCF.

39. Lewis to Joseph Ames, 2 July 1924, AV400-1, LCF.

40. Griffith to Lewis, 9 Nov. 1923, AV400-1, LCF.

41. Ames to Lewis, 19 Aug. 1926, in RA file 102, LHA.

42. Diehl to Lewis, 18 Aug. 1926, in RA 102.

43. H. J. E. Reid to George Lewis, "Comments on the article in the Dec. 1930 issue of Aero Digest, entitled 'Why the NACA?'," 2 Jan. 1931, AV400-1, LCF. (The Aero Digest article had criticized the NACA for alleged mismanagement in having lost many good researchers.) On Hemke's problems with Munk, see Weick's "Historical Reminiscences," tape 3, side 2, copy of transcript, p. 19, LHA.

44. Dorothy and Fred Weick interview with author, Williamsburg, Va., 14 Nov. 1982.

45. Darwin H. Stapleton, "Benjamin Henry Latrobe and the Transfer of Technology," in Carroll W. Pursell, Jr., Technology in America: A History of Individuals and Ideas (MIT Press, 1981), pp. 38-41.

46. David McCullough, The Great Bridge (New York, 1972), pp. 48-50.



Chapter 4

With a View to Practical Solutions


1. For a concise description of the various NACA systems for coding airfoil information, see "Summary of Airfoil Data," TR 824, 1945, printed in AR 1945, pp. 262-65.

2. The predominance of graphic description of airfoil characteristics in NACA reports seems to reflect the power of nonverbal thought in the engineering mind. Unlike scientists who tend to think in mathematical or verbal terms, engineers work principally from learned mechanical alphabets, models, and curves: "If the efficiency of an engine is at issue, for example, an engineer's thoughts turn instinctively to a typical performance curve, that of efficiency versus load; a structural engineer carries a family of stress versus strain curves in his head; even the abstractedly thinking electronics engineer is likely to visualize curves, of wave forms." Eugene S. Ferguson, "The Mind's Eye: Nonverbal Thought in Technology," Science, 197 (26 Aug. 1977): 831.

3. Model Research, pp. 539-540,

4. Quoted by George W. Gray, Frontiers of Flight: The Story of NACA Research (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948), p. 16.

5. Norton to Lewis, 30 Apr. 1921, AV400-1, LCF.

6. For a "Report of fire in the VDT," see H. J. E. Reid to NACA, 8 Aug. 1927, AV400-1; Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, 9 Sept. 1932, AV400-1.

7. Correspondence on the design and construction of the FST in AS286-1, LCF; for a brief account of the FST, see Baals and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 22-24.

8. Smith J. DeFrance to Elton W. Miller, "Effect of Turbulence on CL Max," 25 Nov. 1932, AV400-1.

9. Abe Silverstein, "Scale Effects on Clark Y Airfoil Characteristics from NACA Full-Scale Wind Tunnel Tests," TR 502, 1934. See also Ira H. Abbott, "Airfoils: Significance and Early Development," in The Evolution of Aircraft Wing Design: Symposium (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1980), p. 23.

10. Eastman N. Jacobs and Ira H. Abbott, "The NACA Variable-Density Wind Tunnel," TR 416, 1932; LMAL staff memorandum report, "Specifications for Airplanes and Airplane Models for Testing in the Full-Scale Wind Tunnel," 10 Feb. 1939, AS286-1, LCF.

11. John Stack, "Tests in the Variable-Density Wind Tunnel to Investigate the Effects of Scale and Turbulence on Airfoil Characteristics," TN 364, Feb. 1931; Eastman N. Jacobs and Albert Sherman, "Wing Characteristics as Affected by Protuberances of Short Span," TR 449, 1933; Albert E. von Doenhoff, "A Preliminary Investigation of Boundary-Layer Transition along a Flat Plate with Adverse Pressure Gradient," TN 639, Mar. 1938.

12. From TR 530, "Characteristics of the N.A.C.A. 23012 Airfoil from Tests in the Full-Scale and Variable-Density Tunnels," by Jacobs and William C. Clay, 1935. Jacobs first introduced the concept of effective Reynolds number in a paper he read to the national meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) at the University of California-Berkeley - Jacobs's alma mater - in June 1934.

13. See Jacobs and Sherman, "Airfoil Section Characteristics as Affected by Variations of the Reynolds Number," TR 586, 1937; and Robert M. Pinkerton, "The Variation with Reynolds Number of Pressure Distribution over an Airfoil Section," TR 613, 1938.

14. Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, "New Variable-Density Tunnel," 26 Apr. 1935, A206-1, LCF.

15. DeFrance to Chief, Aerodynamics Div., "Mr. Jacobs' Memorandum on Proposed New Variable-Density Tunnel," 4 May 1935, A206-1, LCF.

16. Theodorsen to Engineer-in-Charge, "Comments on Mr. Jacobs' Memorandum Regarding New Variable-Density Wind Tunnel," 4 May 1935, A206-1, LCF.

17. On the theory of oscillating airfoils, see I. E. Garrick and W. H. Reed III, "Historical Development of Aircraft Flutter," Journal of Aircraft 18 (Nov. 1981): 897-912; Theodorsen's "Theory of Wing Sections of Arbitrary Shape" appeared as TR 411.

18. TR 411, printed in AR 1992, p. 29. See also Theodorsen to engineer-in-charge, "Request from the New York Shipbuilding Company for Information on Airfoil Sections for Use as Blade Sections of a Marine Screw Propeller," 23 Sept. 1932, R1600-1, LCF. Theodorsen believed that the American system of engineering education did not put enough emphasis on mathematical training, and that this caused a cleavage between the country's engineers and mathematicians. From the mid-1930s, he served as an adviser to a Brown University program studying the transfer of elements of the European system of engineering education, including its system of more rigorous theoretical training, to American schools. I. E. Garrick interview with author, Hampton, Va., 26 Sept. 1981.

19. See, for example, Robert R. Gilruth interview with Michael D. Keller, Hampton, Va., 26 June 1967, copy of transcript, pp. 17-21, LHA. One of Jacobs's greatest adventures involved his own Pitcairn biplane. In 1933, as he tells it, he had his small airplane in Norfolk when a severe storm passed along the Virginia coast. He tied the plane down as best as he could against a grove of trees and waited a few hours until the wind had died down. Then he flew back to Hampton. After he landed, the wind became so strong again that it blew the roof off his hangar. Jacobs had flown back across Hampton Roads in the eye of a hurricane, the biggest one to hit the area yet in this century. Telephone interview, Eastman Jacobs with author, 27 Aug. 1983.

20. Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, 19 Nov. 1930, in RA 88.

21. Jacobs, memorandum for LMAL files, "Notes on the History of the Development of the Laminar-Flow Airfoils and on the Range of Shapes Included," 27 Dec. 1938, A173-1, LCF.

22. H. J. E. Reid to George Lewis, "Proposed New Variable-Density Tunnel," 7 May 1935, A206-1, LCF.

23. See Baals and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, p. 39.

24. Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, "Trip to Europe," 11 Nov. 1935, E32-12, LCF.

25. Ibid.; see also Geoffrey I. Taylor, "Statistical Theory Of Turbulence," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series A, 151 (1935): 421-78, also 156 (1936): 307-17.

26. Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, "Technical Description of the Equipment and Work Observed in European Laboratories," 11 Nov. 1935, E32-12, LCF. B. Melville Jones later announced his conclusion in his lecture before the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences (lAS) in Washington, D.C., in Dec. 1939, and in his paper "Flight Experiments in the Boundary-Layer," Journal of Aeronautical Sciences (Jan. 1938): 81-94.

27. "Improvement of Airfoil Sections and Wing-Fuselage Combinations (Interference)," part III of notes to afternoon session #2, "Aerodynamic Efficiency and Interference."

Langley transmitted a record of the substance of Jacobs's presentation at the May 1936 manufacturers' conference in its memorandum, "Notes on Simultaneous Afternoon Conferences, May 22, 1936," E6-1, LCF.

28. Jacobs to Chief, Aerodynamics Div., 20 July 1936, AV400-1, LCF.

29. This paper by Jacobs was published in the Journal of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Mar. 1937.

30. The first research authorization to involve Langley in icing research was RA 247, "Ice Formation on Aircraft," requested by Rear Adm. William A. Moffett, chief, BuAer, in 1928. To study this problem, the NACA constructed a 6-inch tunnel having special refrigeration equipment; it was, according to AR 1928 (p. 6), the "first icing research tunnel" in the world. Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, under the guidance of Theodorsen, William C. Clay, and finally Lewis A. Rodert, the NACA explored various ways to prevent and remove ice formation on aircraft. In 1946 Rodert won the Collier Trophy for developing a thermal ice-prevention system. See Robert McLarren, "NACA Research Ends Ice Hazard," Aviation Week 47 (22 Dec. 1947: 24--27, and George W. Gray, Frontiers of Flight, chap. 14, "Heat Against Ice."

31. In 1941 the NACA transferred Rodert's team and the entire icing research program to its new Ames Aeronautical Laboratory at Moffett Field, Calif., south of San Francisco. The main reason for the transfer was that the interaction of mountain ranges and ocean air along the northern California coast provided icing weather much more certainly than did the skies of Tidewater Virginia. The continued progress of the test program at Ames throughout World War II demonstrated that properly heated wings could keep ice off while keeping the internal structure intact. According to Rodert, "This was the beginning which gave us assurance that eventually airlines would fly from Omaha to Chicago to New York and any other place, irrespective of ice clouds." See Gray, Frontiers of Flight, pp. 311-312 and 325.

32. Jacobs admitted during our telephone conversation of 27 Aug. 1983 that he "got an idea" from Theodorsen's paper. Yet in his "Notes on the History of the Development of the Laminar-Flow Airfoils," Jacobs did not allude in any way to the importance of his rereading of Theodorsen's paper.

33. John Stack and Albert E. von Doenhoff, "Tests of 16 Related Airfoils at High Speeds," TR 492, 1934.

34. Eastman N. Jacobs, Robert M. Pinkerton, and Harry Greenberg, "Tests of Related Forward-Camber Airfoils in the Variable-Density Wind Tunnel," TR 610, 1937; Ira H. Abbott, "Airfoils," in The Evolution of Aircraft Wing Design, p. 24.

35. For Jones's favorable impression of Munk's contributions to aerodynamics, consult the transcript of his interview with Walter Bonney, Moffett Field, Calif., 24 Sept. 1974, pp. 1-3. In 1979 NASA published a book by Jones (RP-1050) in which Jones (then senior staff scientist at NASA Ames Research Center) collected, under the title Classical Aerodynamic Theory, fourteen papers. Four of the papers were by Munk; two by A. F, Zahm; two by Theodore Theodorsen (one of which was coauthored by I. E. Garrick); and one each by H. Bateman, A. Betz, Otto Blumenthal, Theodore von K·rm·n (coauthor, with H. Rubach), Ludwig Prandtl, and E. Trefftz.

36. R. T. Jones, "Recollections," Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 9 (1977): 10-11.

37. See H. Julian Allen, "A Simplified Method for the Calculation of Airfoil Pressure Distribution," TN 708, 1939.

38. Abbott, "Airfoils," pp. 23-24.

39. Robert Pinkerton responded to Theodorsen's challenge in "The Variation with Reynolds Number of Pressure Distribution over an Airfoil Section," TR 613, 1938.

40. Abbott, "Airfoils," p. 24; for Theodorsen's contribution, see NACA Adv. Restr. Rpt. L4G05, "Airfoil Contour Modifications," 1944.

41. Telephone interview, Jacobs with author, 27 Aug. 1983.

42. Jacobs, "Notes on the History of the Development of the Laminar-Flow Airfoils," 27 Dec. 1938, A173-1, LCF.

43. Jacobs, "Preliminary Report on Laminar-Flow Airfoils and New Methods Adopted for Airfoil: and Boundary-Layer Investigations," Adv. Conf. Rpt., June 1939 (later published as Wartime Rpt. L-345).

44. After the Two-Dimensional Low-Turbulence Pressure Tunnel was put into operation in the spring of 1941, Langley researchers undertook a systematic study of the 63-, 64-, 65-, and 66-series sections. Working 48 hours a week each in three daily shifts, the men of Jacobs's section ran these tests at Reynolds numbers of 3, 6, and 9 million, with smooth surfaces and with a standard carborundum roughness on the leading edge. Though results made it clear that ideal laminar-flow airfoils were practically impossible to achieve, Jacobs would not let this information be published. Only after Jacobs resigned from Langley in 1944 did the NACA finally publish a report stating this conclusion: Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., "Effects of Specific Types of Surface Roughness on Boundary-Layer Transition," Adv. Conf. Rpt. L5J29a, 1946.

45. Frontiers of Flight, p. 107. On the effect of surface conditions on airfoil drag characteristics, see Ira H. Abbott and Albert E. von Doenhoff, Wing Section Theory, Including a Summary of Airfoil Data (New York, 1959), pp. 142-49.

46, Model Research, p. 132.

47. Ibid.

48. The title of the Munk article rejected by the NACA was "Influence of Obstacles on the Lift of Airfoils." Munk made his grandiose claims in letters to the Gibbs and Cox Co., 11 Apr. 1930, and to Sen. Hiram Bingham, a man very influential in aviation politics, 7 Apr. 1930; both in 57 A 415 (Box 73), National Archives. Roland quotes more of the letter to Bingham in Model Research, p. 132.

49. The following editorials critical of the NACA appeared in Aero Digest between 1930 and 1933: "Why the NACA?" (Dec. 1930), 47ff.; "Take Politics Out of Research," (Mar. 1932), 33ff.; "Perhaps Farewell, Lewis and Victory," (Jan. 1933), 25ff. All of these articles appeared in the regular column "Air - Hot and Otherwise," by editor Frank Tichenor, an outspoken and emotional advocate of a separate air force. George Lewis believed that the information concerning Langley in these articles by Tichenor had to have been prepared by Munk: "From our records, Mr. Tichenor has never visited the Committee's laboratories at Langley Field,.... so that I know he is not personally well acquainted with our activities." Letter to William H. Miller, 12 Dec. 1930, 57 A 415 (Box 14), National Archives. See Model Research, pp. 130-133.

50. In his letter to Ames, Munk wrote: "Let not unsacred shadows of the past interfere with your deliberations, which shadows, when really reduced to their origin, fade away and vanish into nothing. Mistakes and wrongs are unavoidable by reason of the inherent frailty of human nature. Even crimes have their statutes of limitation." Letter to Ames, 5 July 1939, 62 A 174 (Box 9), National Archives. All the references to correspondence that follow in the chapter belong to this accession.

51. Hunsaker to Munk, 12 July 1939; Lewis to Munk, 28 July 1939.

52. Munk closed his letter with a heavy-handed attempt at reconciliation with Lewis:

When I reflect on how much suffering in blood and life that tunnel immediately and in the future will save to the Country, how much benefit and blessing will flow from it, not to mention even the credit it will bestow on the agency that builds it, then all notions standing perhaps in the way fade for me into insignificance.

It becomes then increasingly clear to me that you are or should be the proper and desirable sponsor of that laudable project, being best suited to carry it through without splitting the ranks of aeronautical scienceÖ The Country needs a NACA with the largest tunnel. You want it yourself. Cooperate with me, and become my sponsor with respect to this matter. You can rest sure that I will do what I can to make you happier than you were before.

Munk to Lewis, 2 and 3 Aug. 1939.

53. Lewis sent Munk's proposal to Langley after Edward P. Warner, influential member of the NACA Aerodynamics Committee and distinguished adviser to the Civil Aeronautics Authority, got news of the new tunnel concept from Munk and sent a letter to Lewis asking: "Would it not be desirable for someone to talk further with Dr. Munk and see if he could secure from him either more information or a definite proposal which could be considered at Langley Field?" Warner to Lewis, 5 Jan. 1940.

54. DeFrance to Lewis, 16 Jan. 1940.

55. Munk proposed to deliver three items under a contract valued at $20,000: first, a report elaborating the proposed tunnel's novel aerodynamic principles; second, a report containing complete descriptions, specifications, and drawings of the experimental setup, together with a list of tests proposed; and third, a complete set of plans and specifications for the final design. Munk, who had trained himself in patent law, then closed his proposal with three carefully composed clauses involving proprietary rights; they were meant to prevent the NACA from canceling the final and bestpaying ($10,000) item after having learned his tunnel's major design features. Munk to NACA, 20 Apr. 1940.

In a second critique of Munk's proposal, LMAL engineer DeFrance wrote to Lewis: "I will not say that we know all of the aerodynamic principles involved in wind-tunnel design, but it is believed that the experienceÖ, at Langley Field in the design and operation of wind tunnels is greater than that... in any other place in the world." DeFrance recommended that the Committee not contract with Munk "on the basis of information supplied so far," and then he especially advised it not to obtain any additional information from Munk because of the patent rights referred to in his proposal, to avoid possible litigation. DeFrance to engineer-in-charge, 2 May 1940.

It should be noted that there usually was heated debate inside Langley over what new type of wind tunnel was most needed at a specific moment in time, and that DeFrance had strongly opposed Jacobs's idea for a new VDT in 1935.

56. Bush to Munk, 1 July 1940.

57. Congruence Surds and Fermat's Last Theorem (New York: Vantage Press, 1977).

One of the most memorable works left behind by the French lawyer Pierre de Fermat: (1608-1665) was his copy of Claude Bachet de Meziriac's 1621 translation of Diophantus of Alexandria's Arithmetica. In the margin of one page of this ancient book, which dealt with algebra, Fermat wrote:

It is impossible to write a cube as the sum of two cubes, a fourth power as the sum of two fourth powers and in general any power beyond the second power as the sum of two similar powers. For this I have discovered a truly marvelous proof, but the margin is too small to contain it.

From the end of the seventeenth century, this mysterious handwritten notation has been known as Fermat's Last Theorem.

More than 200 years later, in the early twentieth century, a learned citizen of the German town of Darmstadt bequeathed a small fortune (100,000 gold marks) to anyone who might solve Fermat's problem. So long as a correct solution did not come to light, the trustees of the bequest were entitled to devote the interest on the fund to any object they chose: the trustees chose to use the money to hold annual guest lectures at Göttingen. Among the prominent mathematicians and physicists who came to speak at the university on these occasions were Henri Poincaré, Max Planck, and Niels Bohr. As a sideshow, really - since Fermat's Last Theorem had no practical application - each tried his hand at solving the problem. Although many of them were elegant, all the attempts failed. (This delighted the trustees at Göttingen, because failure meant funding for the lecture series would continue.)

While at Göttingen as a doctoral student, Munk attended these lectures and made his own private attempts at solving the perennial problem. Sixty years later, Prof. Gabriel Bohier, Munk's former student at Catholic University, sent Munk an article from Science (vol. 178, 6 Oct. 1972) entitled "Fermat's Mathematics: Proofs and Conjectures," by Michael S. Mahoney, a historian of science at Princeton University. Mahoney concluded that Fermat's "proof" was probably no proof at all, "because Fermat could not be bothered with detailed demonstrations of theorems his superb mathematical intuition told him were true" (p. 35). Munk apparently misread Mahoney's conclusion to mean that the Last Theorem was fundamentally incapable of proof (which it may be). This misreading upset Munk so much that he began writing, as a rejoinder to Mahoney's article, Congruence Surds and Fermat's Last Theorem.

After visiting Munk with me on 20 Aug. 1985, Dr. Feri Farassat, a NASA Langley aeroacoustics specialist who is familiar with number theory, looked very carefully at the alleged proof published by Munk. What Mahoney says about Fermat, Farassat repeats about Munk: he states that Munk's proof "is no proof at all," since all Munk has done is to replace Fermat's conjecture with some vague and imprecise conjectures of his own. At most, then, what Munk believes intuitively to be the "proof" is very close to the same mysterious thing that Fermat thought he had grasped through an intuitive process over 320 years ago.


Chapter 5

The Cowling Story: Experimental Impasse and Beyond


1. Fred E. Weick, "Historical Reminiscences," copy of transcript, tape 3, side 2, P. 23, in LHA; see also Herschel Smith, Aircraft Piston Engines (New York, 1981), pp. 97-113.

2. 61 A 195 (Box 24), National Archives.

3. Research authorization (RA) 172, "Effect of Various Forms of Cowling on Performance and Engine Operation of Air-Cooled Pursuit Airplane," approved by the Executive Committee, 30 June 1926; RA 215, "Effect of Cooling and Fuselage Shape on the Resistance and Cooling Characteristics of Air-Cooled Engines," approved 22 June 1927.

The navy lent the Apache aircraft to NACA Langley in the summer of 1926, but soon recalled it. Though the recall forced the laboratory to suspend cowling work on the Apache and its Whirlwind engine, RA 172 was kept open until 1932. Langley carried out most of its later cowling tests under RA 215, however.

For the design details of the Propeller Research Tunnel, see Fred E. Weick and Donald H. Wood, "The Twenty-Foot Propeller Research Tunnel of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," TR 300, 1928. For their history, see Weick's "Historical Reminiscences," tape 3, side 1, pp. 13-22, and side 2, pp. 25 and 27-28.

4. The National Aeronautic Association had awarded the Robert J. Collier Trophy annually "for the greatest achievement in aviation in America, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year," since 1911. In that year Collier, a wealthy sportsman (and son of the successful publisher and editor, P. F. Collier, who founded and edited Collier's Weekly), became the president of the Aero Club of America. The first winner of the Collier Trophy was Glenn H. Curtiss for developing the "hydroaeroplane." Other Collier winners before 1929 included: Orville Wright, for developing the automatic stabilizer (1913); Elmer A. Sperry, for gyroscopic control (1914) and the drift indicator (1916); Grover Loening, for the aerial yacht (1921); personnel of the U.S. Air Mail Service, for night flying (1923); the U.S. Army, for its round-the-world flight (1924); S. Albert Reed, for developing the metal propeller (1925); and Charles W. Lawrance, for his radial air-cooled engine (1928). By the late 1920s the Collier Trophy was recognized as the most prized of all aeronautical honors to be accorded in the United States; the winner received his award from the president of the United States. See Frederick J. Neely, "The Robert J. Collier Trophy: Its Origin and Purpose," Pegasus (Dec. 1950): 1-16.

5. Walter G. Vincenti, "The Air-Propeller Tests of W. F. Durand and E. P. Lesley: A Case Study in Technological Methodology," Technology and Culture 20 (1979): 743-44.

6. Barton C. Hacker, "Greek Catapults and Catapult Technology: Science, Technology, and War in the Ancient World," Technology and Culture 9 (1968): 34-50.

7. For references, see Vincenti, "Air-Propeller Tests," pp. 714-15.

8. See M. W. McFarland, ed., The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright (New York, 1953), 1:54793.

9. "Even when an adequate theory of some sort is available, experimental parameter variation may still be employed," Vincenti elaborated in his 1979 article (n. 5, above), "because of lack of numerical data on the physical properties of the substances involved or insurmountable difficulties of one kind or another in carrying out the theoretical calculations." (Vincenti noted that high-speed electronic computers have mitigated this problem in recent years.) "Whether theory is or is not available, the case for the use of experimental parameter variation often boils down in the end to the very basic one that it provides usable results in an acceptable time, whereas waiting for theoretical understanding or guidance may involve indefinite delay." "AirPropeller Tests," p. 745.

10. Ibid., p. 740.

11. TN 235, "Propeller Design: Practical Application of the Blade Element Theory," and TN 236, "Extension of Test Data on a Family of Model Propellers by Means of the Modified Blade Element Theory," both May 1926. Weick quoted in Vincenti, "Air-Propeller Tests," pp. 738--39 n. 82. See also Weick's "Historical Reminiscences," copy of transcript, tape 2, side 2, pp. 3-6, and tape 3, side 2, pp. 23-25.

12. Weick's "Historical Reminiscences," tape 4, side 2, pp. 20-25. Much of my analysis of the four stages of Langley's cowling work that follows in this chapter is based on Weick's autobiographical account. See also Weick, "The N.A.C.A. Cowling," Aviation 25 (17 Nov. 1928): 1556-57 and 1586-90, and William H. McAvoy, "Notes on the Design of the N.A.C.A. Cowling," Aviation 27 (21 Sept. 1929): 636-38.

13. "Historical Reminiscences," tape 4, side 2, p. 22.

14. See also Weick, "Drag and Cooling with Various Forms of Cowling for a 'Whirlwind' Radial Air-Cooled Engine, I," TR 313, 1929, and "II," TR 314, 1929.

15. Regarding the NACA's public announcement of the cowling, see George W. Lewis, "Cowling and Cooling of Radial Air-Cooled Engines," transcript of speech before the Society of Automotive Engineers, Detroit, 10 Apr. 1929, 61 A 195 (Box 25), National Archives.

16. Thomas Carroll, "Flight Tests of No. 10 Cowling," in E. P. Warner and S. Paul Johnston, Aviation Handbook (New York, 1931), p. 145; also Weick, "Historical Reminiscences," tape 4, side 2, p. 24.

17. 6 Feb. 1929, A176-11, LCF.

18. AR 1930, pp. 2-3. After reading an earlier draft of my cowling story, Richard K. Smith, aviation historian and the Verville Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum for 1984-85, commented: "I don't know if they the NACA researchers] selected the Lockheed airplane for the publicity test - or if they simply lucked out. But they chose the right airplane! If they had selected a Bellanca or Stinson of 1929 vintage they would not have obtained the same happy results." Smith's point is very important - the effectiveness of the NACA cowl did depend significantly upon the shape of the airplane behind it.

19. William H. McAvoy, Oscar W. Schey, and Alfred 'W. Young, "The Effect on Airplane Performance of the Factors That Must Be Considered in Applying Low-Drag Cowling to Radial Engines," TR 414, 1932.

20. Weick, "Historical Reminiscences," tape 5, side 1, p. 3.

21. Donald H. Wood, "Tests of Nacelle-Propeller Combinations in Various Positions with References to Wings, I - Thick Wing - NACA Cowled Nacelle - Tractor Propeller," TR 436, 1932.

22. Elton W. Miller to Engineer-in-Charge, 19 Dec. 1930, A176-11, LCF.

23. As quoted in Roland, Model Research, p. 105.

24. Frank Tichenor, "Air - Hot and Otherwise," Aero Digest, Feb. 1931, p. 24, In the beginning neither the NFL nor the NACA was aware of the other's cowling work.

The NPL published the results of its ring research just before the NACA's cowling reports appeared. To impress American manufacturers with the value of its cowling, the NACA placed its design into competition with the Townend ring. George Lewis told Glenn L. Martin, for example, that Martin's B-10 bomber would not only fly significantly faster than its present maximum speed of 195 miles per hour, but would also land slower and more safely, if the engine's Townend ring were replaced by the NACA no. 10 cowl. Pratt and Whitney, the builder of the engine for the airplane, was contractually committed to using the ring. Martin eventually adopted the NACA cowling for the B-10, increasing the airplane's maximum speed by 30 MPH to 225 and also reducing its landing speed significantly. In 1933 and 1934, the army purchased more than 100 B-10s, rescuing Martin from the worst of the Depression. What the cowling did for the B-10's performance may well have been why Martin won the production contract and why Boeing's B-9, in competition with the Martin aircraft, lost. The B-9 used the Townend ring. See Lloyd S. Jones, U.S. Bombers, 1928 to 1980s, 3d ed. (Falbrook, Calif., 1981), pp. 30-32. The overall competitive situation fed the fire of the transatlantic dispute and resulted in a long series of patent suits. For a full discussion of the NACA cowling-Townend ring dispute and an interpretation of its effect on NACA history, see Model Research, pp. 116-117. For Langley's reaction to and role in the patent dispute, see Elton W. Miller to Engineer-in-Charge, "Criticism of Committee's Attitude with Reference to Townend Ring Cowling," 3 Mar. 1931, A176-11, LCF; George W. Lewis to LMAL, "NACA Cowling and Claim of Townend Patent," 12 Aug. 1931, ibid.; "Report of Meeting between Representatives of NACA and of the Army and Navy to Discuss the Cowling Patent Situation," 21 June 1932, ibid.

25. Becker, High-Speed Frontier, pp. 140-41.

26. AR 1993, p. 10; Arnold E. Biermaun and Benjamin Pinkel, "Heat Transfer from Finned Metal Cylinders in an Air Stream," TR 488, 1934; Donald H. Wood, "Tests of Nacelle-Propeller Combinations in Various Positions with Reference to Wings, II - Thick Wing - Various Radial-Engine Cowlings - Tractor Propeller," TR 436, 1932; ibid., "III - Clark Y Wing - Various Radial-Engine Cowlings - Tractor Propeller," TR 4132,1933; James G. McHugh, ibid., "IV - Thick Wings - Various Radial-Engine Cowlings - Tandem Propellers," TR 505, 1934; E. Floyd Valentine, ibid., "V - Clark Y Biplane Cellule - NACA Cowled Nacelle - Tractor Propeller," TR 506, 1934; Donald H. Wood and Canton Bioletti, ibid., "VI - Wings and Nacelles with Pusher Propeller," TR 507, 1934.

27. To direct cooling air around the hot engine cylinders, LMAL engineers had tried a number of different deflectors. One of the conceptually more refined ones tried in the early 1930s was the loosely fitting "shell" baffle. (At about this same time Pratt and Whitney and Vought were finding this type of baffle inferior to the tightly fitting pressure baffle.) Though LMAL tested the double-row R-1830 engine installation with a pressure baffle system in the Full-Scale Tunnel in 1934 (TR 550, "Cooling Characteristics of a 2-Row Radial Engine," 1935, by Oscar W. Schey and Vernon G. Rolliri), thorough investigation came only in 1936 (TN 630, "Energy Loss, Velocity Distribution, and Temperature Distribution for a Baffled Cylinder Model," 1937, by Maurice J. Brevoort). For analysis of the comparative value of the two types of baffles, see High-Speed Frontier, pp. 141-43.

28. Rex Beisel, "The Cowling and Cooling of Radial Air-Cooled Engines," SAE Journal 34 (May 1934): 159.

29. Theodorsen, "Theory of Wing Sections," TR 411, printed in AR 1932, p. 29.

30. Theodorsen to Engineer-in-Charge, 28 June 1935, R1600-1, LCF; telephone interview, James G. McHugh, Hampton, Va., with author, 13 June 1983.

31. Theodorsen, Maurice J. Brevoort, George Stickle, and Melvin Gough, "Full-Scale Tests of a New Type NACA Nose-Slot Cowling," TR 595, 1937; Theodorsen, Brevoort, and Stickle, "Full-Scale Tests of NACA Cowlings," TR 592, 1937, and TR 662, 1939.

32. High-Speed Frontier, pp. 142-43.


Chapter 6

The Challenge of Teamwork


1. Model Research, pp. 47--49.

2. U.S. House, Independent Offices Subcommittee, Hearings, 67/2, 1921, pp. 359-62.

3. Model Research, p. 468.

4. Ibid., p. 56.

5. In April 1921, the Subcommittee on Federal Regulation of Air Navigation recommended that the NACA coordinate "in an advisory capacity" all aeronautical activities of the government. AR 1921, pp. 13-15.

6. Congressional Record, 67/1, 1921, p. 2687.

7. For an analysis of the details of the fight over this legislation, see Model Research, pp. 54-64.

8. Mitchell to T. B. Mott, 22 Apr. 1920, Correspondence 1920, Box 8, William Mitchell Papers, Manuscript Div., Library of Congress, cited in Michael D. Keller, "A History of the NACA Langley Laboratory, 1917-1947," (University of Arizona Ph.D. thesis, 1968), p. 74 n. 82.

9. NACA Executive Committee minutes, 27 Jan. 1921, in "Materials Collected by Roland for NACA History," HQA.

10. U.S. House, Select Committee of Inquiry into Operations of the U.S. Air Service, Hearings, 1925. p. 1890. This committee was popularly known as the Lampert Committee, after its chairman, Florian Lampert (Rep., Wisc.).

11. The report of the Lampert Committee is HR. 1652, 68/2, 14 Dec. 1925.

12. These editorials appeared as part of Tichenor's regular column, "Air - Hot and Otherwise," Dec. 1930, p. 47ff., and Mar. 1932, p. 86.

13. Executive Order 5960, 9 Dec. 1932. For correspondence giving the NACA's reaction to the proposed transfer to the Dept. of Commerce in 1925, see "Efforts to Transfer NACA from Independent Agency to other Agencies," Milton Ames Collection, Box 2, LHA.

14. "Perhaps Farewell, Lewis and Victory," Aero Digest 22 (Jan. 1933): 18.

15. After the appearance of "Why the NACA?" in Dec. 1930, George Lewis had "every reason to believe that the article was prepared wholly by Dr. Max Munk and was published by Mr. Tichenor." See note 49, chapter 4.

16. "Report of Special Committee on the Proposed Consolidation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics with the Bureau of Standards," 15 Dec. 1932, E1-2, LCF.

17. "President's Plan for Reorganizing Bureaus Deferred," The United States Daily, 20 Jan. 1933; Cy Caldwell, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze," Aero Digest 27 (Oct. 1935): 20.

18. For an explanatory chart of the NACA publications series, see Model Research, pp. 553-554.

19. Roosevelt to L. P. Padgett, 12 Feb. 1915, in House Committee on Naval Affairs, H.R. 1423 to accompany H.J. Res. 413, 63/3, 19 Feb. 1915, pp. 2-3.

20. Indirect industry access to Committee positions became more frequent after 1929 when the NACA enlarged its main body from 12 to 15 members. See Model Research, p. 423 and pp. 427-430.

21. At the third meeting of the NACA's Subcommittee on the Federal Regulation of Air Navigation in Apr. 1921, for example, the president of the Aircraft Manufacturers' Assoc. strongly recommended that the NACA appoint a representative to the Main Committee. "Minutes," 7 Apr. 1921, pp. 7-8. See also Edward P. Warner to Joseph Ames, 2 June 1927, in "Langley Inspections," Milton Ames Collection, Box 2. Roland offers a more thorough analysis of this challenge in Model Research, pp. 58-60.

22. Warner to Joseph Ames, 12 Apr. 1936, A197-1, LCF; AR 1936, pp. 28-29.

23. AR 1925, p. 57. After the war, the conference, then called the "Inspection," rotated among Langley and the MACA's two new laboratories, the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory in Sunnyvale, Calif., and the Flight Propulsion (later Lewis) Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio.

24. High-Speed Frontier, p. 76.

25. "Eleventh Annual Aircraft Research Conference," Aero Digest 28 (June 1936): 48.

26. Robert Osborne, "Sideslips," Aviation 38 (June 1939): 17.

27. Victory's concern for detail rubbed off on the LMAL staff. After one conference, Langley's chief clerk requested suggestions by the staff for improving the event. Nearly everyone responded, remarking on everything from automobile parking problems to the proximity of toilets to meeting rooms. One of the stenographers complained that the desk at which she recorded meetings in shorthand did not fit her, compelling her to sit "with my shoulders hunched while writing, thus retarding speed." The chief clerk noted that next year he should "have a higher chair or lower table for Miss Wheeler." Catherine Wheeler to Mr. Edward R. Sharp, 24 Apr. 1932, E6-1, LCF.

28. George Lewis to the Executive Committee, "Aerodynamic Problems Suggested in Connection with Annual Research Conference, May 22," 3 June 1935, A197-1, LCF.

29 Pearl I. Young interview with Michael D. Keller, 10 Jan. 1966, Hampton, Va., p. 32, transcript in LHA.

30. Elton W. Miller to Engineer-in-Charge, 6 Mar. 1937, E6-1, LCF.

31. Handwritten note from Jacbbs to the chief clerk, 5 May 1939, ibid.

32. Lewis to LMAL, 24 Apr. 1931, A197-1, LCF.

33. Elton W. Miller to Engineer-in-Charge, "Visit of Mr. Rex Beisel to the Laboratory on June 16 and 18, 1934," 22 June 1934, E37-3, LCF.

34. Lewis to LMAL, 18 Nov. 1931, E30-12, LCF; "General Information for Laboratory Guides," 15 Aug. 1938, E37-3, LCF. Though visits of airplane designers to Langley increased after the inauguration of the annual conference in 1926, the numbers do not seem unusual. The engineer-in-charge reported in 1936, for example, that only 96 (or 3 percent) of the 3082 visitors to the lab in the previous 12 months represented American industry. This compared to 81 from foreign countries, 407 from various educational institutions, 805 casual visitors or sightseers, and 1693 from the army, navy, and other government services and Reid departments. H. J. E. Reid to NACA, 10 Sept. 1936, ibid.

35. S. Paul Johnston interview with Walter Bonney, 19 Oct. 1971, Bozman, Md., p. 12.

36. Ira H. Abbott, "A Review and Commentary of a Thesis by Arthur L. Levine," HQA, HHN-35, 1964, p. 161.

37. The Origins of the Turbojet Revolution, pp. 10-11, 16, 19-20, 22.

38. George Lewis to LMAL, "Col. Clark's Comments on the Fowler Wing," 9 May 1933, A197-1, LCF. After the 1933 conference, for example, the NACA justified its rejection of a suggestion from a representative of the International Aircraft Corporation for an investigation of the directional stability and spinning tendencies of its tailless airplane by stating that the proposed research involved "a very large amount of work on a type of aircraft" that was not being developed rapidly enough to merit it. Two years later, "in view of the promise of the tailless airplane," the NACA approved a test program very similar to the one asked for by International in 1933. R. F. Anderson to chief of Aerodynamics Div., 17 Aug. 1935, ibid.

39. John D. Anderson, Introduction to Flight: Its Engineering and History (New York, 1978), p. 256; Michael D. Keller "A History of the NACA Langley Laboratory," p. 195. See "Report of Proceedings of Second General Conference between Representatives of Aircraft Manufacturers and Operators and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," May 1927, E6-1, LCF.

40. Frederick J. Bailey to Chief Clerk, 5 June 1939, ibid.

41. In Model Research, Roland suggests that the conference favored larger companies and that industry exploited the meetings by drawing Langley "further into short-term, practical research and away from the long-range fundamental research to which it was philosophically committed" (p. 113). It is true that the Committee sent out few invitations in the early years, mostly to such established concerns as Wright Aeronautical Corp., Ford Motor Co., Pitcairn Aviation Co., Goodyear-Zeppelin Co., Fairchild Aviation Corp., and Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co., Inc. In later years, however, the expanded size of the meeting permitted the attendance of many more firms. Moreover, a number of aviation writers attended and reported fully on the laboratory presentations in newspapers and journals. No party interested in recent aeronautical research and development could plead ignorance of current NACA work. Lewis and Victory may have treated certain individuals as special - the so-called Gold Group - but everyone who came to Langley for the meetings seems to have received the same technical information.

42. Edward R. Sharp to George Lewis, "Communications Incorrectly Addressed," 8 Dec. 1925, C54-6, LCF.

43. Engineer-in-Charge to Chief, Aero Div., "Compressors and Exhaust of the Variable Density Tunnel," 9 Apr. 1931, AV400-1, LCF.

44. Quoted in AR 1922, p. 49.

45. See Sec. of the Navy to Hon. Frederick Hale, Chairman, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, 30 Dec. 1933, and Douglas MacArthur, Acting Sec. of War, to Hale, 31 Dec. 1933, E1-2, LCF.

46. Model Research, pp. 138-139. In commenting on Poland's description of Victory's use of this "bouquet file," retired NACA-NASA engineer John V. Becker wrote:

NACA fought for its life by the accepted American principle of unrestrained "advocacy" - the technique universally used by advertisers, lawyers, bureaucrats, and congressmen - in which there is no nicely balanced weighing of the arguments on both sides or careful screening for purity. The case is made by harassed human beings with an ax to grind, not by saints.

"Comments on Roland's 'Research by Committee'," following p. 211 of manuscript (comment edition, Apr. 1980).

47. Quoted by Charles H. Helms the NACA's asst. dir. for research (1941-52), in a brief statement on NACA-military relations, dated 3 Aug. 1948, copy in LHA.

48. See RA file 138B, 1925, and the reports it produced, including: Richard V. Rhode, "Pressure Distribution on the Tail Surfaces of a PW-9 Pursuit Airplane in Flight," TN 337, Apr. 1930, and Richard V. Rhode and Eugene E. Lundquist, "Pressure Distribution over the Fuselage of a PW-9 Pursuit Airplane in Flight," TR 380, 1931.

49. U.S. House, Independent Offices Subcommittee, Hearings, 68/2, 1925, p. 396.

50. Two of these military pilots were Lt. H. M. Cronk and Lt. Edmund T. "Eddie" Allen. Allen later became chief test pilot and head of aeronautical research for the Boeing Company. See E. P. Warner and Frederick H. Norton, "Preliminary Report on Free Flight Tests," TR 70, 1919.

51. Langley's first civilian test pilot was Thomas Carroll, a World War I fighter pilot and flight instructor. For examples of this routine liaison, see: H. J. E. Reid to C.O., Army Air Corps, Langley Field, Va., 6 Apr. and 9 June 1927, regarding conditions of the flying field in the vicinity of the NACA hangars, and Lt. Col. C. C. Culver to Reid, Engineer-in-Charge, LMAL, 7 June 1927; also, LMAL to NACA, "Proposed Runways to be Installed by Army," 22 Apr. 1939, AF250-1, LCF.

52. See Diehl interview with Michael D. Keller, Hampton, Va., 12 Sept. 1967, pp. 3-5; and Floyd L. Thompson with Walter Bonney, 27 Mar. 1973, pp. 10-11.

53. McAvoy to Engineer-in-Charge, 2 July 1929, A173-5, LCF. See also Clinton H. Dearborn and Howard W Kirschbaum, "Maneuverability Investigation of the F6C-3 Airplane with Special Flight Instruments," TR 369, 1930.

54. Thomas Carroll to Engineer-in-Charge, "Policy in Regard to Borrowed Airplanes," 8 Apr. 1929, AF250-1, LCF.

55. See Maj. Leslie MacDill, Chief Engineer, Eng. Div., McCook Field, to George W. Lewis, with army's log of Sperry Messenger airplane attached, 5 Nov. 1923, RA file 83, LHA.

56. See Leigh M. Griffith to NACA, "Tests of Messenger Airplane," 16 Mar. 1923, RA 83, with reference to earlier order from Lewis.

57. Frederick H. Norton to Griflth, "Tests of Messenger Airplane," 15 Mar. 1923, RA 83.

58. Griffith to NACA, 16 Mar. 1923, ibid.

59. David L. Bacon to Griffith, "Outline of Tests of Messenger Airplane," 24 Oct. 1923, ibid.

60. In a letter to Samuel Stratton, dir., Bureau of Standards, 18 May 1918, Joseph Ames expressed the opinion that de Bothezat knew more about the design of wind tunnels and propellers "than any other man in the world" (Record Group 255, Box 5, National Archives). By the end of the year, Ames persuaded the NACA and the Army Air Service to engage him s technical adviser to the NACA in the articulation of its research agenda and as consultant to McCook Field in designing a propeller suitable for the Liberty engine. Soon both organizations regretted the engagement. At McCook de Bothezat "never came to grips with the problems he had boasted of being able to solve. At the same time, he gave overblown public lectures on the possibilities of using jet propulsion for interplanetary travel" (Roland, Model Research, pp. 90-91). In 1920 the army severed all working ties with the man. The NACA also released him from its service, hiring Max Munk as his replacement. George Lewis to Frank W. Caldwell, 28 May 1923, RG 255, Box 3, Natl. Archives.

61. F. W. Caldwell and E. N. Fales, "Wind Tunnel Studies in Aerodynamic Phenomena at High Speeds," TR 83, 1920. See High-Speed Frontier, pp. 4-9.

62. C. N. Monteith to George W. Lewis, 16 Aug. 1923, RA 83.

63. Lewis to LMAL, "Investigation of Six Different Sets of Wings on Sperry Messenger Airplane," 28 Aug. 1923, ibid.

64. Leigh M. Griffith to Maj. Leslie MacDill, Chief Engineer, Eng. Div., McCook Field, 5 Jan. 1924, ibid.

65. David L. Bacon to Griffith, "McCook Field Report 'Determination of Airplane Drag Characteristics in Free Flight,' ser. 2197," 12 Nov. 1923, ibid.

66. Leigh M. Griffith to NACA Exec. Off., "Sperry Messenger Glide Tests," 13 Nov. 1923, ibid.

67. George W. Lewis to LMAL, "Sperry Messenger Glide Tests," 20 Nov. 1923, ibid.; the note from Diehl is attached.

68. Ibid.

69. David L. Bacon, "Memorandum on Visit to Dayton," 8 Feb. 1924, E32-12, LCF.

70. George W. Lewis to LMAL, 5 Mar. 1925; job order 607, requested by George J. Higgins, 26 Sept. 1925, RA 83.

71. Leigh M. Griffith to NACA, 29 Apr. 1924, and Lewis to LMAL, 2 May 1924, ibid.

72. Model Research, p. 551.

73. Max M. Munk and Walter S. Diehl, "The Air Forces on a Model of the Sperry Messenger Airplane without Propeller," TR 225, also in AR 1926, p. 381ff.

74. Due either to administrative oversight or a desire to keep the RA open for reporting of later charges, the Washington office still listed RA 83 as "active" until Feb. 1929, when headquarters noticed the "error" and asked for it to be rectified. See George W. Lewis to LMAL, "Status of Research Authorizations," 8 Oct. 1929, and Edward R. Sharp to NACA, "Status of Research Authorizations," 23 Oct. 1929, RA 83.

75. AR 1926, pp. 387-88.

76. J. W. Crowley, Jr., and M. W. Green, "An Investigation of the Aerodynamic Characteristics of an Airplane Equipped with Several Different Sets of Wings," TR 304, also in AR 1928, p. 493.

77. H. H. Arnold, Maj. Gen., Chief of the Air Corps, to Mr. G. W. Lewis, NACA, 13 Mar. 1939, B10-2, LCF. Lewis then informed the NACA that

no definite arrangements have been made with Major Greene or with the Air Corps as to how information obtained by Major Greene will be transmitted to the Air Corps. Major Greene has stated that he would like to forward from Langley Field preliminary confidential reports that are usually forwarded from this [the NACA's Washington] office. I see no objection to this procedure, but the subject matter of each report to be forwarded should be discussed with the Director of Aeronautical Research. [Lewis himself] so that a copy can be forwarded to the Bureau of Aeronautics at the same time.

Lewis to LMAL, "Detail of Maj. Carl F. Greene, of the Materiel Division, to Langley Field," 17 Mar. 1939, ibid. However, Walter Bonney, who dug deeply into NACA documents during the 1960s and early 1970s in preparing an NACA history, informed LMAL engineer Hartley Soulé during a 28 Mar. 1973 interview in Hampton, Va., that he had found clear evidence that Lewis "didn't want him [Greene] to be assigned down here" (p. 19 of transcript, in LHA). The evolving relationship between Langley and the Greene House can be followed by surveying the correspondence in B10-2, as well as by reading "The Autobiography of Mr. Jean Roché," undated manuscript (ca. 1968), a copy of which is preserved in the LHA.

78. Examination of the McCcxk internal correspondence might answer important questions: Did the same self-censorship (i.e., the withholding of critical opinions about the other organization) prevail in Ohio? If so, would it indicate how important the military then believed the NACA to be, for military purposes?

79. This opinion was expressed by a number of people attending the second NACA reunion at Williamsburg, Va., 14 Nov. 1982.

80. Diehl interview with Keller, 12 Sept. 1967, pp. 22-23.

81. Charles H. Zimmerman, "Conference on Stability Research," 20 Nov. 1936, RA file 204.

82. Hartley A. Soulé, "Synopsis of the History of the Langley Research Center, 19151939," HQA HHN-40, 19666 part 2, pp. 21-22; Robert R. Gilruth, "Requirements for Satisfactory Flying Qualities of Airplanes," Adv. Conf. Rept., Apr. 1941, superseded by TR 755, 1943.

83. Soulé, "Synopsis," part 2, p. 22; see also Gray, Frontiers of Flight, pp. 132-33.

84. U.S. Air Force, Research and Development Contributions to Aviation Progress (RADCAP): Executive Summary, Aug. 1972, available as NASA CR-129574.

85. High-Speed Frontier, p. 31, and Abbott, "Review and Commentary of a Thesis by Arthur L. Levine," p. 135.


Chapter 7

The Priorities of World War II


1. John Jay Ide to NACA, "Large French Wind-Tunnel at Cha.lais-Meudon," 29 Nov. 1935; "Inauguration of the Citta Guidonia," 21 May 1935; "Report on Visit to Germany," 23 Oct. 1936, A1000, Floyd L. Thompson Technical Library, Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. For critical analysis of German research policies and capabilities before and during World War II, see Horst H. Boog, Die deutsche Luftwaffenführung, 1935-1945: Fuehrungsprobleme, Spitzengliderung, Generalstabbildung (Stuttgart, 1982), pp. 68-76. The journal Aerospace Historian published Boog's English summary of this book in its Sept. 1983 issue, pp. 200-206.

2. George W. Lewis, "Report on Trip to Germany and Russia, September-October 1936," E32-12, LCF. Lewis addressed the LMAL staff soon after he returned from Europe. The "principal impressions" communicated by the director of research on this occasion, as reported in Becker's High-Speed Frontier, p. 30,

were of major expansions, especially in Germany. Several large new centers for aeronautical research were under construction, and Lewis was even more impressed with the huge new staff, many times larger than NACA and populated by a larger proportion of advanced degree holders. He had little or nothing to say, however, about new aerodynamic or propulsion concepts or any new research results.

Lewis also repeated an anecdote told to him by his escort in Germany, Dr. Adolf Bauemker, chief of the aviation research division of the Luftwaffe. When Bauemker first met Hermann Goering, Lewis related, he took with him as a conversation piece a photograph of Langley's Full-Scale Tunnel. On the spot, Goering ordered construction of the same expensive facility for Germany.

But Bauemker was misleading Lewis with this story. It was not as easy to get money for aeronautical research facilities and new experiments in dictatorial Germany as he was telling Lewis. See Adolf Bauemker, "A History of German Aeronautical Research Facilities," trans. by F. W. Pick, Royal Aircraft Establishment, RAE Trans. No. 87, Jan. 1946, typescript, as well as Horst Boog's book (cited in note 1 above).

3. "Report on Trip to Germany and Russia," E32-12, LCF.

4. "NACA Gets Full-Speed Wind Tunnel," NACA press release for morning paper, Thursday, 17 July 1934, AH324-1, LCF. Jacobs first suggested the idea for what became the 8-Foot High-Speed Tunnel in 1933. In a memo to the engineer-in-charge, Jacobs argued that

for several years this laboratory has felt the need of a very fine atmospheric wind tunnel. Our only moderate-size atmospheric tunnel has had more work than it can handle and, for many proposed investigations that could be carried out most economically in this tunnel, the 7 by 10 foot tunnel is not considered altogether satisfactory, either because the air-flow turbulence and flow conditions are not satisfactory or because the speed is too low. With the object of filling this need, some preliminary designs have been studied for a so-called full-speed tunnel, a moderate-size atmospheric tunnel capable of reaching the full speed of the fastest airplanes.

Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, 7 Nov. 1933, AH321-1, LCF. A penciled note at the bottom of this memo, initialed "GWL" (George W. Lewis) indicates that Henry Reid took the original to NACA headquarters on the same day the memo was prepared.

5. DeFrance to Chief of Aerodynamics, "20-by-14-Foot Two-Atmosphere Wind Tunnel," AU321-70, LCF.

6. Model Research, p. 149.

7. Westover Committee to NACA Chairman, "Relation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics to National Defense in Time of War," 19 Aug. 1938, copy in Milton Ames Collection, Box 4, LHA.

8. AR 1938, p. 4.

9. Lindbergh to Dr. Joseph S. Ames, 28 Nov. 1938, copy in Milton Ames Collection, Box 4.

10. NACA Executive Committee minutes 24 Oct. 1938, in Roland's "Materials," HQA.

11. The availability of electric power dictates whether wind tunnels operate or not. Lack of power can thus be a major inhibitor of experimental progress. The problem of insufficient electricity plagued the LMAL from its first days to at least the end of World War II. In 1919 the NACA cited lack of power as one of the principal reasons for its recommendation that Congress authorize relocation of the lab from Hampton to Boiling Field. In the 1930s some of Langley's larger wind tunnels functioned at no more than 50 percent of their maximum horsepower for want of adequate electricity. The local power situation perenially restricted the operation of many tunnels to off-peak-demand hours late at night and early in the morning; that is why military personnel living nearby complained so much about tunnel noise disrupting sleep. For correspondence on Langley's ongoing quest for improved electrical services, see C-162 series (1 through 3A) in the LCF. Unfortunately, nearly all the files on electrical procurement dating before 1940 were destroyed in a Langley housecleaning of the 1960s.

12. George Lewis at first wanted to see the laboratory located within five flying hours of Washington, which in 1038 meant east of the Mississippi River. Lewis to staff, 8 Nov. 1938, Accession 47 A 415, Box 33, National Archives.

13. U.S. House, Deficiency Appropriations Subcommittee, Hearings, 76th Cong., 1st sess., 1939, p. 42.

14. Model Research, p. 159.

15. See AR 1989, p. 2; also NACA minutes, 19 Oct. 1939.

16. This point is made by Elizabeth A. Muenger in Searching the Horizon: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1976, NASA SP-4304 (Washington, 1985), pp. 11-12.

17. RA 603, "Investigation in Full-Scale Wind-Tunnel of Drag Reduction on XF2A-1 Airplane."

18. Clinton H. Dearborn, "Full-Scale Wind-Tunnel Tests of Navy XF2A-1 Fighter Airplane," Conf. Memo. Rpt., 17 May 1938.

19. The 230-series airfoils were highly efficient because of their high maximum lift and low minimum drag. The beak at the stall did tend to be rather sharp, however, causing an abrupt "nosing up" and loss of lift from which it was difficult for a pilot to recover. John P. Reeder interview with author, Hampton, Va., 25 May 1982.

20. See Paul L. Coe, Jr., "Review of Drag Clean-Up Tests in Langley Full-Scale Tunnel (From 1935 to 1945) Applicable to Current General Aviation Airplanes," NASA TN D-8206 (Washington, 1976) and Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., Subsonic Aircraft: Evolution and the Matching of Size to Performance, NASA RP-1060 (Washington, 1980), pp. 265-268.

21. Arnold to NACA, "Full-Scale Wind-Tunnel Tests of XP-39," 9 June 1939, RA file 674.

22. Smith J. DeFrance to Chief, Aerodyn. Div., "Estimated High Speed of the XP-39 Airplane," 25 Aug. 1939; Abe Silverstein and F. R. Nickle, "Tests of the XP-39 in the Full-Scale Tunnel," 27 Sept. 1939. Both in RA file 674.

23. "Comments of Representatives of Bureau of Aeronautics on Report of Drag Reduction on XP-39 Airplane," 2 Nov. 1939, ibid.

24. Larry Bell, President, Bell Aircraft Corp., to George W. Lewis, 17 Jan. 1940, ibid.

25. For diverging retrospective appraisals of P-39 performance, see "The Contentious Cobra," Air International 2 (Jan. 1982): 31ff., and Peter Bowers, "Airborne Cobra: The Story Behind World War II's Most Misunderstood and Unjustly Maligned Fighter-The Bell P-39 Aircobra," Airpower 6 (Nov. 1978): 20ff.

26. Maj. A. J. Lyon, Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, Washington, D.C., to NACA, 6 Feb. 1940; Henry J. E. Reid, memo for file, "Telephone Conversation with Dr. George W. Lewis regarding XP-39 Airplane," 28 Feb. 1940. Both in RA file 674.

27. Elton W. Miller,. Acting Engineer-in-Charge, to NACA, "Investigation of XP-39 Airplane," 4 Mar. 1940, ibid.

28. John P. Reeder and L. J. Nelson, "Tests of the XP-39 in the NACA Full-Scale Tunnel," Conf. Memo. Rpt., 16 far. 1940, ibid.

29. Lewis to LMAL, "State of RA 674," 3 Apr. 1940, ibid.

30. Abe Silverstein to Engineer-in-Charge, "Trip to Toledo Scale Co. and Bell Aircraft Co., 22--24 April 1940," 29 Apr. 1940, ibid.

31. John W. Crowley, Jr., to Enginer-in-Charge, "Visit of Mr. A. C. Fornoff of the Bell Aircraft Corp. to Discuss the P49 Investigation," 6 Feb. 1941, ibid.

32. Benjamin Pinkel to Chief, Power Plants Div., "Request from Full-Scale Tunnel Section Regarding Increase in Speed of XP-39 When Nozzles Are Attached to the Exhaust Stacks," 5 Apr. 1940, ibid.

33. Frontiers of Flight, p. 123.

34. Westover Committee Report, "Relation of NACA to National Defense in Time of War," 19 Aug. 1938. The complete files of this committee are in Accession 57 A 415, Box 18, National Archives.

35. Folders labeled "Solicitation of Employees," Nov. 1940-Dec. 1942 and Jan.-Dec. 1943, C154-50, LCF.

36. John F. Victory interview with Michael D. Keller, Hampton, Va., 22 June 1967, LHA. For the reaction of a Langley division chief to the idea of the NACA's personnel problems during wartime, see Starr Truscott to Engineer-in-Charge, "The Laboratory In Time of War: Recommendation Regarding Preparation For," 12 Nov. 1936, E32-7, LCF.

37. W. Kemble Johnson interview with Keller, Hampton, Va., 27 June 1967, LHA. (Johnson was the LMAL officer who did most of the negotiating with the state Selective Service director.) See C137-2, LCF, for documents on the militarization of LMAL personnel, especially the folder Jan. 1944-July 1944.

38. Paul E. Purser interview with Kel1er, Hampton, Va., 26 June 1967, LHA. The negative reaction of some Hampton-Newport News citizens to NACA deferments and the army-navy-NACA plan of Feb. 1944 was described for me by Langley oldtimers at the second NACA reunion, Williamsburg, Va., 14 Nov. 1982. One Langley oldtimer recalled that his children were ostracized by schoolmates because their father was believed to be a draft dodger.

39. "Apprentice School Graduates First Class," LMAL Bulletin, 17 Feb. 1943; "Thirty Six Langley Apprentices Receive Graduation Certificates," Air Scoop, 16 Feb. 1945.

40. "NACA Employment for Girl Mbdelers," Model Aviation 6 (Nov. 1942): 15; "PartTime Workers Employed by LMkL," LMAL Bulletin, 19 Mar. 1943; "LMAL Seeks 200 Women Shop Workers," LMAL Bulletin, 14-21 Aug. 1943.

41. R. H. Cramer (Curtiss representative to LMAL) to R. A. Darby (Curtiss personnel manager), "Computing Group Organization and Practices at NACA," 24 Apr. 1942, E26-3, LCF. For analysis of the campaign encouraging American women to take jobs that had traditionally been filled by men, see Maureen Honey, Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda (Univ. of Massachusetts, 1983). Honey argues convincingly that the image of the capable female did not survive the war.

42. Interview with Marie-Bird Allen Bircher, Vera Huckel, Helen Johnson, Kitty O'Brien Joyner, Jane Moore, Betty Toll, Catherine Turner, and Helen Wiley, 26 July 1983. All but Ms. Joyner worked during the war as computers. Joyner, who was the first woman engineering graduate of the University of Virginia, 1939, worked in systems engineering; she later became the first woman branch head at Langley.

43. "Keep Up Recruiting of Army Personnel," Air Scoop, 16 Feb. 1945.

44. High-Speed Frontier, p. 33.

45. John V. Becker's written remarks on the Aug. 1984 comment edition of my manuscript, dated 24 Oct. 1984, p. 15; Axel T. Mattson interview with author, Hampton, Va., 23 June 1983.

46. John Stack to Engineer-in-Charge, "Organization within Compressibility Research Division," 23 Feb. 1944, E2-3, LCF.

47. Roland states that the NACA placed Mead in this leadership position because it felt dependent on his expertise to launch its new engine research laboratory in Cleveland. Model Research, pp. 163-164.

48. Abbott, "A Review and Commentary of a Thesis by Arthur L. Levine," p. 161.

49. Henry J. E. Reid to NACA, 10 Sept. 1936, E37-3, LCF.

50. See John Victory to LMAL "Instructions for the Handling of Restricted, Confidential, and Secret Material by NACA Personnel," 1 Feb. 1944, C157-15, LCF.

51. Newport News Daily Press, 9 June and 21 July 1937.

52. Memo for staff, 11 Jan. 1942, C152-15, LCF.

53. J. Edgar Hoover, Director, FBI, to Director, Office of Naval Intelligence, Navy Department, 11 Apr. 1942, ibid.; Reid to NACA, "Security of Information," 21 May 1942, ibid. In his letter to rACA headquarters, Reid reported that there is a good possibility of the informant being in error. Many of our young boys belong to the local model club and are making models of modern pursuit planes (as was recently requested by the Sec. of the Navy). Furthermore, the boys are continually making models of new and interesting airplanes, many of which are of original design and which they test in their own wind tunnels and fly. Much of the work which these boys do in connection with the model club activity is highly scientific and it is quite possible that such discussions have been overheard, with detriment to the Committee.

54. In-house NACA pamphlet, "Don't Talk," 1943, C152-15, LCF.

55. See, for example, Leslie C. Merrill to Engineer-in-Charge, "Security Report," 6 Oct. 1944, C152-15, LCF.

56. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1957, P. 373.

57. Lewis to Abbott, 1947, cited in Abbott's "Review and Commentary of a Thesis by Arthur L. Levine," p. 155.


Chapter 8

Exploring Unknown Technology: The Case of Jet Propulsion


1. Oscar Seidman and Charles J. Donlan, "Spin Tests of a 1/20-Scale Model of the XF4U-1 Airplane with Modified Tail Arrangement and Antispin Device Installed," NACA Conf. Memo. Rpt., 1 Sept. 1939; Anshal I. Neihouse, Jacob A. Lichtenstein, and Philip W. Pepoon, "Tail Design Requirements of Satisfactory Spin Recovery," TN 1045, Apr. 1945. See also Basis and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, NASA SP-440 (Washington, 1981), pp. 41-43.

2. Eugene C. Draley, "Wind-Tunnel Tests of 1/6-Scale P-38 Model in the 8-Foot HighSpeed Tunnel," NACA Restr. Memo. Rpt., 14 May 1942. The concept for the flap was Langley's, but its specific configuration was developed for Lockheed at Ames.

3. See Margaret Steiner, "Ditching Behavior of Military Airplanes as Affected by Ditching Aids," NACA Memo. Rt. L5A16, Jan. 1945, also published as Wartime Rpt. L-647. In cooperation with the army, the LMAL conducted the only experimental full-scale ditching of an aircraft (a modified Consolidated B-24D) during the war. See "Bomber Ditched in [James] River as Part of Laboratory Test," LMAL Bulletin, 23-29 Sept. 1944, as well as Wartime Rpts. L-617 and 648. Though officially this test was said to be necessary for confirmation of experimental data acquired from model tests in the NACA towing tanks, Langley managers agreed to the ditching reluctantly. Col. Carl Greene, the head of AAF Materiel Command Liaison Office at Langley, had been pushing the idea of the ditching test as a way to save lives of aircrew members forced down at sea. In fact, Greene and copilot Maj. Julian A. Harvey flew the B-24 into the river. When the two army officers came bubbling out of the water, responsible NACA personnel felt relieved. Despite extensive reinforcement, the airplane was damaged severely. It did not split in half, however, as B-24s had been prone to do during ditching. See Floyd L. Thompson interview with Walter Bonney, 27 Mar. 1973, p. 11.

4. See NACA testimony before U.S. House, Independent Offices Subcommittee, Hearings, 79th cong., 2d sess., p. 547.

5. Theodore von Karman, Aerodynamics (New York, 1954), pp. 130-132; and Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft, NASA SP-468 (Washington, 1985), pp. 112-117. On the early history of the compressibility crisis, see Richard Hallion, Supersonic Flight: The Story of the Bell X-1 and Douglas D-558 (New York & London, 197), pp. 14-15.

6. Telephone interview, Eastman Jacobs, Malibu, Calif., with author, 27 Aug. 1983.

7. John T. Sinette, Jr., Oscar W. Shey, and J. Austin King, "Performance of NACA Eight-Stage Axial-Flow Compressor Designed on the Basis of Airfoil Theory," TR 758, 1943; see Becker, High-Speed Frontier, pp. 31-32. On Langley's axial-flow compressor work, see Gray, Frontiers of Flight, pp. 283-286, and Schlaifer, The Development of Aircraft Engines Harvard University, 1950), p. 460n.

8. On Italian experiments with jet propulsion and the Caproni-Campini aircraft, see G. Geoffrey Smith, Gas Turbines and Jet Propulsion for Aircraft (New York, 1944), pp. 47-52, and Johnathon W. Thompson, Italian Civil and Military Aircraft, 1930-1945 (Los Angeles, 1963), pp. 95-96. For thoughtful treatment of the historical development of piston engine and jet engine technology in general, rely on Schlaifer, Development of Aircraft Engines.

9. Staff of the Airflow Research Div., "NACA Investigation of a Jet-Propulsion System Applicable to Flight," Adv. Conf. Rpt., 17 Sept. 1943, copy in Hit file 1021.

10. Telephone interviews, Eastman Jacobs, 27 Aug. 1983, and Macon C. Ellis, Yorktown, Va., 29 Aug. 1983, with author. See Schlaifer, Development of Aircraft Engines, p. 461.

11. Edgar Buckingham, "Jet Propulsion for Airplanes," TR 159, in AR 1923, pp. 75-90.

12. High-Speed Frontier, p. 158.

13. See Edward Constant II, The Origins of the Turbojet Revolution (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980).

14. Eastman N. Jacobs and James M. Shoemaker, "Tests on Thrust Augmentors for Jet Propulsion," draft report, 23 July 1927, LCF, AA248-2. See also NACA HQ memorandum, "Discussion of LMAL Report, 'Tests on Thrust Augmentors for Jet Propulsion,' with Mr. Nicholas W. Akimoff" (an obscure propeller manufacturer from Philadelphia who had recently brought his own scheme of jet propulsion to the attention of George Lewis), 31 Aug. 1927, and Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, "Mr. Akimoff's comments on the repot, 'Thrust Augmentors for Jet Propulsion,' by Eastman N. Jacobs and James M. Shoemaker," 10 Oct. 1927, in RA file 70.

15. Lt. S. P. Vaughn to NACA, "Jet Propulsion and Method of Generating Power," 31 Aug. 1927; Eastman Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, "Paper on 'Jet Propulsion and Method of Generating Power,' by Lt. S. P. Vaughn," 11 Oct. 1927; Vaughn to Edward P. Warner, Asst. Sec. of the Navy for Aeronautics, 20 Jan. 1928; Carlton Kemper to Engineer-in-Chage, "Discussion of Papers Submitted on 'Methods of Generating Power, Jet Propulsion an Gas Turbines,' by Lt. S. P. Vaughn, U.S.N.," 2 Mar. 1928; and William F. Joachim to Engineer-in-Charge, "Lt. Vaughn's Proposal, Jet Propulsion," 2 Mar. 1928. All of this correspondence is in E23-7A, LCF. The details of Vaughn's proposal, for a gas turbine and of Langley's evaluation of them would make an illuminating American comparison with pioneering turbine research arid development in Great Britain and Germany.

There is even more to make one curious about Sidney Parahm Vaughn. In the period 1926-1935, he wrote o fewer than ten letters to the NACA proposing new aeronautical inventions and other ideas for research. In a letter to the NACA in 1934, for example, Vaughn proposed the deign of a helicopter. In response George Lewis pointed out to him "that there is no demand at the present time for a vertical-lift machine and.... as far as I know it has no military advantages." For the reaction of Langley engineers to Vaughn's helicopter proposals, see especially John B. Wheatley to Engineer-in-Charge, "Rotating win system proposed by S. P. Vaughn," 28 June 1935, E23-7A, LCF.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find out much about Vaughn. He was born in Mississippi on 17 Nov. 1886. H was not an Academy graduate, but came into the navy as an enlisted man in 1905. After serving as paymaster's clerk on various vessels, he entered the officer corps during World War I. He stayed in the supply corps from 1919 until November 1946 when he retired from the navy with the rank of captain. In 1934, when he sent the helicopter proposal to the NACA, Lt. Comdr. Vaughn was serving on the battleship U.S.S. Arizona. When World War II started, he was supply officer on the repair ship. His duty stations during the war are not known. Nor have I been able to locate a death date for him. There is no mention of Vaughn either in the papers of Rear Adm. William A. Moffett, which are in the manuscript collection of the Nimitz Library at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., or in any of Moffett's papers in the Naval History Division's U.S. Naval History Sources in the United States (Washington, 1979).

16. Henry J. E. Reid to NACA, "Lt. Vaughn's Proposal for Jet Propulsion for Airplanes," 17 Mar. 1928, E23-7A, LCF.

17. George Schubauer, "Jet Propulsion wih Special Reference to Thrust Augmentors," TN 442, Jan. 1933.

18. Lewis to LMAL, "Visit of Mr. E. B. Myers with jet propulsion apparatus," 30 Dec. 1938, E23-7A, LCF. (Myers had monted a primitive pulsejet in a Ford station wagon.) The Bureau of Aeronautic had requested RA 673, "Investigation of Recovery of Energy from Waste Potential Energy of Engine Exhaust Gases," in a letter to NACA HQ dated 5 July 1938.

19. Sherman to Engineer-in-Charge, "Conference on proposed test of jet propulsion," 11 Apr. 1940, RA 351.

20. The October 1939 report of Lindbergh's Special Survey Committee on Research Facilities - which led in June 1940 to the establishment of the NACA's Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland - said nothing about gas turbines. The report identified "the superiority of foreign liquid-cooled engines as the reason for European leadership in certain important types of military aircraft," a conclusion that was true (AR 1939, pp. 2-3). Moreover, a special committee formed by the National Academy of Sciences and including such leaders of American aerodynamics as von Karman and Robert Millikan of Caltech also reported, in June 1940, that "the gas turbine could hardly be considered a feasible application to airplanes mainly because of the difficulties in complying with the stringent weight requirements posed by aeronautics." U.S. Navy Dept., Bur. of Ships, Tech. Bulletin no. 2, "An Investigation of the Possibilities of the Gas Turbine for Marine Propulsion," report submitted to the sec. of navy by the Committee on Gas Turbines appointed by the Nat. Academy of Sciences, 10 June 1940 (Washington, 1941), P. 37, copy in RA file 1021.

21. Frank W. Meredith, "Note on the Cooling of Aircraft Engines with Special Reference to Radiators Enclosed in Ducts," British Adv. Comm. for Aeronautics, R & M no. 1683, 1936. (This concept was first applied to the radiator of the Supermarine Spitfire.) By 1939 American propulsion engineers knew about the Meredith effect independently through their analysis of the effects of heat in internal flow systems. They understood the effect in principle, but a practical demonstration under controlled conditions was still desirable. See High-Speed Frontier, p. 162.

22. Sherman, "The NACA Jet-Propulsion System," Memo. Rpt., 2 May 1941, AV434-1, LCF. Copy also filed in RA 1021, LHA.

23. Lewis to LMAL, "Jet Propulsion: E. B. Myers' Device," 24 Sept. 1940, AV434-1, LCF; Pinkel to Chief of Power Plants Div., "Jet Propulsion," 18 Oct. 1940, E23-7A, LCF.

24. It would be more than two years later, however, before Lewis asked the Executive Committee to issue an RA formally covering the work. This eventual request came after the creation of the Durand Special Committee on Jet Propulsion in Mar. 1941 and resulted in RAs 1020, "Investigation of the Aerodynamic and Thermodynamic Characteristics Necessary for an Efficient Jet-Propelled Airplane," and 1021, "Investigation of Combustion Systems for Jet Propulsion," both of which were signed by the NACA Executive Committee on 10 Sept. 1942. Most of the work done by Langley on jet propulsion in 1940 and 1941 the NACA assigned to these two RAs retroactively.

25. "NACA Investigation of a Jet-Propulsion Scheme Applicable to Flight," Adv. Conf. Rpt., 17 Sept. 1943, p. 2, RA 101.

26. Arnold to Bush, 25 Feb. 1941, National Archives Record Group 255. I wish to thank Virginia Dawson, contract historian at NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, not only for bringing this and other important documents from the National Archives to my attention but also for kindly allowing me to reference them in my book.

27. Bush to Arnold, 10 March 1941, Record Group 255, National Archives (Dawson research).

28. Minutes of the NACA semiannual meeting, 24 Apr. 1941, p. 5. All of the reports of this Special Committee on et Propulsion are on file in the LHA.

29. Hugh L. Dryden, "The Contributions of William Frederick Durand to Aeronautics," paper delivered at the Durand Centennial Conference, Stanford University, 5 Aug. 1959.

30. Jacobs thought back on his opinion of Sherman's 1940 report in a memo to the engineer-in-charge, 16 May 1942; see also Henry J. E. Reid to George Lewis, 16 May 1942. Both in RA file 1020.

31. Durand to Lewis, 11 Dec. 1942, RA 1021; Bush to Durand, 18 March 1941, RG 255, Natl. Archives (Dawson research).

32. Durand to NACA Executive Committee, 23 Apr. 1941, ibid.; NACA minutes, 24 Apr. 1941, ibid.

33. Telephone interview, Jacobs with author, 27 Aug. 1983; Carlton Kemper to Engineer-in-Charge, "Meeting of Dr Durand and Personnel Interested in Jet Propulsion Project," 26 Nov. 1941, RA 1020.

34. Model Research, p. 192.

35. Hallion, Supersonic Flight, p 17.

36. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., interview with author, Hampton, Va., 12 Sept. 1983.

37. Sherman to Dr. Durand, "Auxiliary jet propulsion for existing military airplanes to greatly increase thrust for emergency high speed," 20 Apr. 1942, RA 1021.

38. Lewis to LMAL, "Research authorizations for jet-propulsion projects at Langley," 4 June 1942, RA 1020.

39. Sherman to Engineer-in-Charge, "Application of the NACA jet-propulsion system," 1 May 1942, ibid.

40. Sherman to Dr. Durand, "Auxiliary jet propulsion for existing military airplanes," 20 Apr. 1942, ibid.

41. Telephone interview, Eastman Jacobs with author, 27 Aug. 1983.

42. Ibid.

43. "NACA Investigation of a Jet-Propulsion System Applicable to Flight," 17 Sept. 1943, p. 5, RA 1020.

44. Quoted in Hallion, Supersonic Flight, p. 17.

45. Lewis to LMAL, "Action of Jet Propulsion Committee at its meeting held at Langley Field, July 31, 1942," 4 Aug. 1942, RA 1021; "Report of Conference of Laboratory Personnel, Jet-Propulsion Airplane, 29 Aug. 1942," 2 Sept. 1942, RA 1020.

46. Durand to Lewis, 29 Sept 1942, Record Group 255, Natl. Archives (Dawson research).

47. Supersonic Flight, p. 17.

48. In a contemporary discussion with Ira H. Abbott, an important member of Jacobs's airflow research team, about the design of an inlet for the airplane's high-speed cowling, John V. Becker learned that Abbott was "dubious" about the Campini system. High-Speed Frontier, p. 148.

49. Sherman to Chief, Aerodyn. Div., "Program of tests of Lorin Booster unit," 24 Oct. 1942, RA 1021; "Principles of the NACA speed-booster, present status of its development and proposed program for its further development," 25 Feb. 1943; "The NACA Thin-Plate Burner for Jet-Propulsion Engines," Memo. Rpt., 4 Mar. 1943, ibid.

50. See weekly progress reports on jet propulsion work from Langley to the NACA, late Dec. 1942 through Feb. 1943, in A 1020.

51. K. K. Nahigyan to Ray Sharp, "Combustion tunnel for burner test at AERL," 18 Dec. 1942; Nahigyan to Sharp, "Progress report on study of jet propulsion burners," 2 Jan. 1943. Both in RA 1021.

52. Benjamin Pinkel to Virginia Dawson, 26 Oct. 1984.

53. Henry J. E. Reid, memo for files, "Visit to Wright Field to discuss NACA jet-propulsion airplane design," 20 Jan. 1943, RA 1020; Clinton H. Dearborn, "Minutes of the Langley Jet-Propulsion Committee, January 30, 1943," p. 2, E5-25, LCF.

54. Maj. Gen. O. P. Echols, Commanding Gen., HQ, Materiel Command, USAAF, to Dr. W. F. Durand, Chairman, Special Comm. on Jet Propulsion, NACA, 16 Mar. 1943, RA 1020; Bastian Hello, "Final Report of Development, Procurement, Performance, and Acceptance, XP-80 Airplane," USAAF Tech. Rpt. 5235, 28 June 1945, copy in 1001 Lockheed P-80/1, Floyd L. Thompson Technical Library, LaRC.

55. Sherman's staff service card, LaRC Personnel Office; Eastman Jacobs to Engineer-in-Charge, "Consideration of Army Air Forces and Bureau of Aeronautics of NACA jet-propulsion project," 25 Mar. 1943, RA 1020.

56. Model Research, pp. 191-192.

57. Quoted in Model Research, p. 191.

58. Durand to Echols, 27 Feb. 1942, Record Group 255, Natl. Archives (Dawson research).

59. Durand to Keirn, 29 Oct. 1942, ibid.

60. Jacobs to George Lewis, London, 25 June 1943, RA 1020; telephone interview, Jacobs with author, 27 Aug. 1983.

61. "Jet Propulsion in England: Report of a Conference Attended by Officers of the Army and Navy and Representatives of American Industrial Organizations Visiting England during the Summer and Fall of 1943 for the Purpose of Study of the Above Subject," held in NACA offices, Washington, 18 Dec. 1943. Jacobs's remarks are recorded on pp. 2 and 14. Copy in RA file 1020.

62. Lewis to Jacobs, 12 July 1943, RA 1020.

63. Dawson presented her preliminary findings on "The Turbojet Revolution at Lewis Research Center" at the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), 4 Nov. 1984.

64. John Sloop, Liquid Hydrogen as a Propulsion Fuel, 1945-1959, NASA SP-4404 (Washington, 1978), p. 74.

65. Bennie W. Cocke, Jr., and Jeronie Pasamanick, "Clean-Up Tests of the Bell YP-59 Airplane in the Langley Full-Scale Tunnel," Conf. Memo. Rpt. L5E14, 1 June 1945.


Chapter 9

The Tansonic Problem


1. Clarence L. Johnson, "Investigation of tail buffeting conditions on Lockheed P-38 airplane," Lockheed Report No. 2414, 23 Sept. 1941, copy in 1105/Lockheed, LaRC Technical Library. See also Martin Caiden, Fork- Tailed Devil: The P48 (New York, 1971), pp. 48-50, and Gray, Frontiers of Flight, pp. 150-51.

2. See Arthur Kantrowitz to Engineer-in-Charge, "Methods for Propelling Supersonic Wind Tunnels," 3 Oct. 1938, A206-1, LCF, and Kantrowitz interview with Walter Bonney, Everett, Mass., 1 Nov. 1971, pp. 1-4, LHA. Also, Henry J. E. Reid, Engineer-in-Charge, L.M.A.L., to NAPA, "Necessity of Providing a Wind Tunnel of Supersonic Velocities," 11 May 1940, A06-1, LCF; "Design of Supersonic Wind Tunnel," 8 Oct. 1940, ibid.; "Supersonic Wind Tunnel Design," 31 Oct. 1940, ibid. For a technical description of the condensation problems in the supersonic tunnel, see H. J. E. Reid to NACA, "Additional Infortuation on the Air-Drying Equipment for the Supersonic Tunnel as Proposed in the 1946 Budget," 11 Sept. 1944, ibid.

3. RA 928, "Investigation of Iigh-Speed Buffeting and Compressibility on Lockheed P-38 Airplane," approved b Executive Committee, 15 Jan. 1942.

4. See Henry J. E. Reid to AAF Materiel Division-NACA Liaison Office, "Full-Scale Wind-Tunnel Investigation f Diving and Buffeting Difficulties of the P-38 Airplane," 16 Dec. 1941, in RA file 928, LHA. Also, in the same RA file, Harold I. Johnson, "Summary of P-38 Flying Qualities," NACA to Memo. Rpt. to AAF, 8 July 1943.

5. John Stack, memo. for AAF Materiel Division, "Progress Report on the Tests of the P-38 Airplane in 8-Foot High-Speed Wind Tunnel," 3 March 1942, pp. 3-4, RA 928. See also Laurence K. Loftin Jr., Quest For Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft, NASA SP-468 (Washington, 1985), pp. 112-117.

6. Albert E. Erickson, "Investigation of Diving Moments of the Lockheed P-38 Airplane in the 16-Foot Wind Tunnel t Ames Aeronautical Laboratory," WR A-65, Oct. 1942. See also Edwin P. Hartmann, Adventures in Research: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1965 (Washington, 1970), pp. 97-99.

7. Becker, High-Speed Frontier, pp. 47-50.

8. See John Stack, "The Compressibility Burble," TN 543, Oct. 1935, and Stack, W. F. Lindsey, and R. E. Littell, "The Compressibility Burble and the Effect of Compressibility on the Pressures and Forces Acting on an Airfoil," TR 646, 1938.

9. W. F. Hilton, "British Aeronautical Research Facilities," Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society 70, Centenary Issue (1966): 103-04.

10. "Methods Employed in America for the Experimental Investigation of Aerodynamic Phenomena at High Speed," NACA Misc. Paper No. 42, Mar. 1936.

11. John Stack, "Effects of Compressibility on High-Speed Flight," Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences no. 1 (Jan. 1934): 40-43. (Copy in Stack Collection, LHA.)

12. George H. Gibson, "A Pioneer in High Pressure Steam: Carl Gustav Patrick de Laval," Power 68 (1928): 76-64.

13. L. J. Briggs and H. L. Drydn, "Aerodynamic Characteristics of 24 Airfoils at High Speeds," TR 319, printed in AR 1929, p. 328.

14. W. J. Orlin, "Application o the Analogy between Water Flow with a Free Surface and Two-Dimensional Compressible Gas Flow," TR 875, printed in AR 1947, p. 311.

15. See Hartley A. Soulé interview with Bonney, Hampton, Va., 28 Mar. 1973, p. 17, and High-Speed Frontier, p. 90.

16. On Kotcher's earlier suggestion of a high-speed research airplane, see Hallion, Supersonic Flight, pp. 12-13. Hallion's book is the principal secondary source for much of the narrative that follows in this chapter.

17. Frank J. Molina, "Take-off and Flight Performance of an A-20A Airplane as Affected by Auxiliary Propulsion Supplied by Liquid Propellant Jet Units," GALCIT Project No. 1, rpt. 12, 30 June 1942.

18. See Otto Acker, "Horizontal and Vertical Tail Analysis of the P-39 Airplane," Bell Aircraft Corp. rpt. 12-441-005, 5 Apr. 1941; I. G. Recant and R. B. Liddell, "Wind-Tunnel Tests of 1/8-Scale Model of Curtiss SB2C-1 airplane," NACA Conf. Memo. Rpt. to U.S. Navy, 21 Jan. 1943; and R. F. Goranson, "Flight Studies of the Horizontal Tail Loads Experienced by a P-47 Airplane in Abrupt Maneuvers," NACA Memo Rept. to AAF, 27 Mar. 143.

19. Cited in Hallion, Supersonic Flight, pp. 22-23.

20. Air Force Supersonic Research Airplane XS-1 Report No. 1, 9 Jan. 1948, p. 5, copy in XS-1 file, LCF.

21. High-Speed Frontier, p. 91.

22. For a description and analysis of the drop-body test technique, see John Stack, "Methods for Investigation of Flows at Transonic Speeds," paper for presentation at Naval Ordnance Laboratory Aero-Ballistics Research Facilities Dedication Symposium, 27 June-1 July 1949, pp. 3-7. Copy in Stack Collection, LHA. Also, Floyd L. Thompson, "Flight Research at Transonic and Supersonic Speed with Free-Falling and Rocket-Propelled Models," Proceedings of 2nd International Aeronautical Conference, New York City, May 1949, copy in Floyd Thompson Collection, LHA.

23. W. S. Farren, "Research for Aeronautics: Its Planning and Application," Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences 11, no. 2 (Apr. 1944): 95-109.

24. J. R. Thompson and C. W. Matthews, "Drag Measurements at Transonic Speeds on a Freely Falling Body," NACA Adv. Conf. Rpt. L5E03, May 1945.

25. High-Speed Frontier, p. 86. Becker referred to Langley's drop-body test data at the first design review of the XS-1 at Wright Field on 15 Mar. 1945.

26. R. R. Gilruth, "Résumé and Analysis of NACA Wing-Flow Tests," paper presented at Anglo-American Aeronautical Conference, Sept. 1947, A312-1, LCF.

27. Floyd L. Thompson interview with Bonney, 27 Mar. 1973, pp. 22-23.

28. Robert R. Gilruth interview with Keller, 26 June 1967, pp. 7-8.

29. High-Speed Frontier, p. 84.

30. R. R. Gilruth and J. W. Wetmoe, "Preliminary Tests of Several Airfoil Models in the Transonic Speed Range," Adv. Conf. Rpt. L5E08, May 1945.

31. On p. 11 of Joseph A. Shortal's A New Dimension: Wallops Flight Test Range, The First Fifteen Years, NASA RP-1O8 (Washington, 1978), there is a table documenting Langley's support of guided missile projects from June 1941 to May 1945.

32. The members of this team were Floyd L. Thompson, Robert R. Gilruth, Robert T. Jones, Frederick J. Bailey, Edmund C. Buckley, Macon C. Ellis, Jr., John Stack, Hartley A. Soulé, Joseph A. Shortal, and Kennedy F. Rubert. Crowley acted as chairman.

33. For a thorough, firsthand account of the ideas and events leading up to the establishment of the Wallops flight station, see Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 1-26.

34. High-Speed Frontier, pp. 86-87.

35. Joseph A. Shortal interview with author, Hampton, Va., 22 Sept. 1981.


Chapter 10

Defining the Research Airplane


1. See Robert L. Perry, The Antecedents of the X-1, Rand Corp. Paper No. P-3154, July 1965, copy in Stack Collection, LHA.

2. No author, "Calendar of Events or the XS-1 Airplane," undated (Ca. Nov. 1947), in XS-1, LCF.

3. See Stack's handwritten notes entitled, "Review of Transonic Airplane Designs Submitted by Army and Replies to Army Criticisms of NACA Design, Prepared for Conference with Army Personnel, Dec. 13, 1944, Reviewed by Messrs. Davidson, Turner, Stack, and Draley," in Stack Collection, LHA.

4. High-Speed Frontier, pp. 91-92.

5. Hallion points out in Supersonic Flight (p. 52 n. 21) that "MX-524" seems to have designated army high-speed flight projects in general. By the late spring of 1945, the XS-1 project had been given its own specific designation, MX-653.

6. Milton Davidson to Chief o Research, "Visit of Mr. Milton Davidson of the Langley Laboratory to the Airplane Design Group, Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., Feb. 2, 1945 through Feb. 19, 1945, to make a Cooperative Preliminary Design Study for an NACA Transonic Research Airplane," 3 Mar. 1945, in Stack Collection, LHA.

7. Milton Davidson to Chief of Research, "Conference at Langley Laboratory with Representatives of the Douglas Aircraft Company, Navy Department Bureau of Aeronautics, and NACA on Proposals for a Transonic Research Airplane," 27 Feb. 1945, Stack Collection, LHA.

8. L.M.A.L. to NACA Headquarters, "Estimate of Instrument Requirements for Experimental Airplane," 27 Dec. 944, A184-8, LCF.

9. Apparently, Bell and the Army Air Forces arrived at the load factor of 18g independently. Supersonic Flight, pp. 36 and 52 n. 20.

10. Antonio Ferri, "Completed Tabulation of Tests in the United States of 24 Airfoils at High Mach Numbers," MACA Wartime Rpt. L-143, June 1945. This paper was edited by Langley in Jan. 1945.

11. Handwritten note attached o Milton Davidson's memo to chief of research, "Status of development and effect 4n performance of rocket power plant for Bell Aircraft Corporation Transonic Research Airplane Project MX-653," 28 Apr. 1945, XS-1, LCF.

12. Gilruth interview with Keller, pp. 9-10.

13. See Albert E. von Doenhoff to Chief of Research, "Discussion with Mr. Vladimir Morkovin of Bell Aircraft Co. on March 21, 1945, Regarding Wing-Selection Problems for Army Project MX-653," 22 Mar. 1945, XS-1, LCF, and Engineer-in-Charge, L.M.A.L., to Air Service Technical Command Liaison Office at NACA Langley Field, Va., "Project MX-65: Recommendations for a Second Wing," 20 June 1945, RA 1347.

14. See series of relevant correspondence in RA 1347, Jan.-Sept. 1945. Also, Supersonic Flight, pp. 42-43.

15. This biographical sketch is derived essentially from Jones's "Recollections from an Earlier Period in American Aeronautics," Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 9 (1977): 1-11.

16. There are several memorandum reports by Jones covering his missile work during this period in RA files 1316 and 1328.

17. Richard Hallion, "Lippisch Gluhareff, and Jones: The Emergence of the Delta Planform and the Origins of the Sweptwing in the United States," Aerospace Historian (Mar. 1979): 5.

18. R. T. Jones interview with Walter Bonney, Moffett Field, Calif., 24 Sept. 1974, p. 5.

19. Max M. Munk, "Note on the Relative Effect of the Dihedral and the Sweep Back of Airplane Wings," TN 177, 1924, p. 2.

20. Adolf Busemann, "Aerodynamischer Auftrieb bei Ðberschallgeschwindigkeit," Convegno di Scienze Fisiche, Matematiche e Naturali; Tema: Le Alte Velocita in aviazione; Roma 1935 (Rome, 1936): 315-47. Busernann discusses the fate and historical significance of his Volta presentation in "Compressible Flow in the Thirties," Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 3 (1971): 6-7, and in "An Interview with Adolf Busemann, Pioneer in Shock Waves, Supersonic Flight, and Fusion Power," Fusion (Oct./Nov. 1981): 36-37.

21. Telephone interview, Eastman N. Jacobs with author, 27 Aug. 1983. Also, see von K·rman, Aerodynamics: Selected Topics in the Light of Their Historical Development (Ithaca, N.Y., 1954), pp. 133-134.

22. R. T. Jones to Chief of Research, "Tests of Experimental Wing Shapes Designed to Minimize Compressibility Effects," 5 Mar. 1945, A174-1, LCF.

23. Jones, "Wing Plan Forms for High Speed Flight," 23 Apr. 1945. Editorial copy given to LHA by Macon C. Ellis, Jr., Nov. 1984.

24. I. E. Garrick interview with author, 24 Sept. 1981. Garrick was a member of the editorial committee, as well as a member of Theodorsen's Physical Research Division.

25. Jones interview with Bonney, p. 5.

26. Thompson interview with Bonney, pp. 7-8.

27. C. W. Matthews and J. R. Thoiipson, "Comparative Drag Measurements at Transonic Speeds of Straight and Swptback NACA 65-009 Airfoils Mounted on a FreelyFalling Body," NACA Memo. Rot. L5G23a, July 1945. Released in 1949 as TR 988.

28. Though the section of wire extended into the airstream at a swept forward instead of a swept back angle, Jones recognized that the principle was the same. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., interview with author, 23 Mar. 1984.

29. Engineer-in-Charge to NACA Headquarters, "R. T. Jones' Report, 'Wing Plan Forms for High-Speed Flight'," 7 June 945, A184-9, LCF.

30. Busemann's paper was translated into English by W. J. Stern of the British Aeronautical Research Committee. NACA headquarters received a copy of Stern's translation in May 1942; however, the date of receipt stamped by the Langley library on its copy of the translation is 25 June 1945. This copy is available in the LaRC Technical Library under code 1107 46 A.

31. In March 1946, the NACA published Jones's report as TN 1033. A final version of the same report appeared in AR 19.47 as TR 863.

32. John V. Becker to Chief of Research, "Conference at Wright Field on March 15, 1945, to Discuss Transonic Airplane Proposed by Bell Aircraft Corporation," 21 Mar. 1945, in XS-1, LCF.

33. High-Speed Frontier, pp. 92-93.

34. Bell engineers Robert J. Woods and Robert Stanley disagreed over whether to design the XS-1 for air or ground launching. Woods, a former employee of the NACA at Langley laboratory, wanted to design the plane with retractable landing gear for conventional ground takeoff and landing. He felt, as the NACA did, that the more conventional the design, the more relevant to the development of an operational rocket-propelled manned interceptor experience with the new plane would be. Stanley, on the other hand, originally wanted to design the plane with skids for landing after air launching. He believed that the air launch mode was the only way for the XS-1 to achieve the supersonic performance the army wanted. Lawrence D. Bell, president of the Bell Aircraft Corporation, eventually resolved the dispute between his two engineers with a compromise; he decided that the XS-1 would be air launched but that it would also have retractable landing gear. For a more detailed narrative and analysis of this design dispute inside Bell, see Supersonic Flight, pp. 44-45.

35. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., Supersonic Aircraft: Evolution and the Matching of Size to Performance, NASA RP-106Q (Washington, 1980), pp. 370-73.

36. Engineer-in-Charge Henry J. E. Reid to NACA Headquarters, "MX-653 Airplane - Participation of Langley Laboratory in Flight Tests of the MX-653," 29 Dec. 1945, XS-l, LCF. Hartley Soulé, head of the Stability Research Division at Langley, remembers writing a memo at about this time pointing out "the undesirability of air launching the [XS-1] because we wanted to run the tests at Langley." "It turned out to be a very bad idea," Soul recalled in 1973, "but we wanted to keep it at home. You like control of these things." Soulé interview with Bonney, 28 Mar. 1973, p. 17.

37. Bell's point of view is reprsented by Langley engineer Milton Davidson in his memorandum to Gus Crowly, Langley's chief of research, "Status of development and effect on performance of rocket power plant for Bell Aircraft Corporation Transonic Airplane Project T'4X-653," 28 Apr. 1945, XS-1, LCF.

38. John Stack, memorandum for Chief of Research, 1 May 1947, in RA 1347.

39. Edward C. Polhamus interview with author, Hampton, Va., 20 Apr. 1984.

40. See "Report of an Informal Discussion between Dr. Clark Millikan and officers of the Bureau of Aeronautics on 7 July 1945," copy in LaRC Technical Library, Code 6600 Germany/22. Millikan, acting director of the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at Caltech, carried the microfilmed German swept-wing reports from Europe to BuAer in Washington and to Douglas in California.

41. H. Multhopp, "The Sweptback Wing at High Velocity," Air Materiel Command, Wright Field, Tech. Intelligence Trans. F-TS-411-RE, 8 July 1946.

42. Floyd L. Thompson, memorandum for engineer-in-charge, 31 Oct. 1945, in RA file 1333.

43. Supersonic Flight, p. 61.

44. Milton Davidson to Chief of Research, "Conference with Representatives of the Douglas Aircraft Corp., Navy Department Bureau of Aeronautics, and NACA at the Navy Department Regarding High-Speed Research Airplanes, February 23, 1945," 26 Feb. 1945, D-558, LCF.

45. Davidson to Chief of Research, 3 Mar. 1945, ibid.

46. Davidson refers to Diehl's pinion in his memo of 26 Feb. 1945, ibid. He quotes Conlon in the memo he wrote to the chief of research the next day, ibid.

47. Supersonic Flight, p. 62.

48. Davidson, "Telephone Conversation between Comdr. E. W. Conlon, Bureau of Aeronautics, U.S. Navy Department, and Messrs. John Stack and Milton Davidson, Langley Laboratory, on Revised Douglas Transonic Airplane Proposal, April 11, 1945," memo for files, 16 Apr. 1945. See also John Stack to Chief of Research, "Douglas Model 558 Airplane," 12 June 1945. Copies of these two memos are in both the Stack Collection, LHA, and in D-558, LCF.

49. John Stack to Chief of Research, "Visit to Douglas Aircraft Company, El Segundo, California, with U.S. Navy Mock-Up Board to Review Transonic Research Airplane D-558," 20 July 1945. See also Floyd L. Thompson to Engineer-in-Charge, "Visit to Douglas Aircraft Company, El Segundo, California, as Official Observer on Mock-Up Board of Airplane D-558: July 2, 3, and 4, 1945," 7 Aug. 1945. Both memos in D-558, LCF.

50. Supersonic Flight, p. 65. Hallion based his account of the NACA's evaluation of the second mock-up on his interview with Milton Ames, the NACA's representative at the August inspection.

51. Milton Davidson to Chief of Research, "D-558 Airplane with Sweptback Wings and High-Lift Device," 20 July 1945, D-558, LCF.

52. See special delivery letter from . H. Heinemann, Chief Engineer, Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc., to Bureau of Aeronautics, "General Arrangement of Model D-558 Airplane," 21 July 1945. Copy sent to Stack, D-558, LCF.

53. High-Speed Frontier, p. 92.

54. George Lewis to L.M.A.L., "Change in Status of Mr. E. N. Jacobs," 29 Jan. 1944, E26-3, LCF.

55. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., interviews with author, Hampton, Va., 12 Sept. 1983 and 20 Mar. 1984.

56. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., and Cl on E. Brown, "Analysis of Supersonic Ram-Jet Performance and Wind-Tunnel Tests of a Possible Supersonic Ram-Jet Airplane Model," NACA Adv. Conf. Rep t. L5L12, Dec. 1945.

57. High-Speed Frontier, p. 98; Macon C. Ellis, Jr., interview with author, 12 Sept. 1983.

58. Engineer-in-Charge Henry J. E. Reid to NACA, "MX-653 Airplane - Participation of Langley Laboratory in Flight Tests of the MX-653," 29 Dec. 1945, XS-1, LCF. On the relation of the NACA t the preliminary flight testing of the XS-1, see also letter from Charles Helms, Assistant Director of Aeronautical Research, to Director, AAF Materiel Command, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, 8 Jan. 1946, and Hartley Soulé to Chief of Research, "X -1 and XS-2 Airplanes - Discussion at Bell Aircraft Corporation Plant on January 3, 4, and 5, 1946," 25 Jan. 1946. Both pieces of correspondence in RA file 1347.

59. For letters and telegrams from ACA personnel at Pinecastle to research managers at Langley laboratory, see D-55 folder, 1 Dec. 1945-June 1946, LCF.

60. Supersonic Flight, p. 90.

61. See prologue to Hallion's On The Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981, NASA SP-4303 (Washington, 1984).

62. Herbert H. Hoover, Head of Flight Operations, L.M.A.L., to Engineer-in-Charge, "Transportation of Personnel d Equipment for the XS-1 Project at Muroc," 23 Sept. 1946, in RA file 1347.

63. Engineer-in-Charge Henry J. E. Reid to Commanding Officer, Muroc Army Air Base, Muroc, Calif., 20 Sept. 1946, ibid.

64. Engineer-in-Charge Reid to NACA, "XS-1 Flight Test Program," 26 Sept. 1946, XS-1, LCF.

65. Supersonic Flight, pp. 92-97.

66. Hartley A. Soulé to Chief of Research, "Army Proposal for Accelerated Tests of the XS-1 to a Mach Number of 1.1," 21 July 1947, XS-1, LCF. 67. Walter Williams to Melvin N. Gough, Chief of the L.M.A.L. Flight Research Division, 29 May 1947, ibid.

68. Walter Williams to Hartley Soulé, 22 Sept. 1947, ibid. See also Williams to Chief of Research, "XS-1 Project, Progress Report for the Week Ending September 19, 1947," 22 Sept. 1947, ibid.

69. Supersonic Flight, pp. 107-08.

70. Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos, Yeager: An Autobiography (Toronto & New York, 1985), p. 122 and pp. 127-129.

71. Williams to Chief of Research, "XS-1 Progress Report for 2-Week Period Ending October 18, 1947," 20 Oct. 147, XS-1, LCF.

72. Herbert H. Hoover to Chief of Research, "Collapse of Nose Wheel on XS-1 Airplane No. 2 on Flight of October 1, 1947," 22 Oct. 1947, ibid. The accident reinforced Yeager's impression that the XS-1 "demanded an experienced fighter pilot at the controls," and that the NACA's test pilots "just weren't qualified to fly it." Yeager: An Autobiography, p. 180.

73. For a chronology of NACA ftghts with the research airplanes, see Supersonic Flight, app. 2.

74. National Aeronautic Association news release, "Highest Aviation Award Made for Supersonic Flight," 17 Dec. 948. Copy in John Stack biographical folder, LHA.

75. Frederick R. Neely, "The Collier Trophy For Flight Beyond the Speed of Sound," Collier's (25 Dec. 1948): 30-31.

76. High-Speed Frontier, p. 92.

77. Stack, "Methods for Investigation of Flows at Transonic Speeds," paper for presentation at Naval Ordnance Laboratory Aero-Ballistics Branch Research Facilities Dedication Symposium, 27 June-1 July 1949, copy in Stack Collection, LHA.

78. See, for example, Stack's 1951 paper to the 3d International Aero Conference, London, 7-11 Sept. 1951. this paper was an updated version of the one he had presented at the NavOrd Aero-Ballistics Research Facilities Dedication Symposium (see previous note).

79. High-Speed Frontier, pp. 95-96.

80. Ibid., p. 96.

81. Alex Roland offers a more negative interpretation of the research airplane program: It "was a success, but more clearly as a psychological breakthrough and a public relations coup than as a research enterpriseÖ Even the defenders of the program are hard pressed to justify it in terms of cost effectiveness." Model Research, p. 250.


Chapter 11

The Slotted Tunnel and the Area Rule


1. Eugene S. Ferguson, "The Mind's Eye: Nonverbal Thought in Technology," Science 197 (26 Aug. 1977): 827-836.

2. On the sources of technological creativity, I recommend Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974); Arnold Pacey, The Maze of Ingenuity: Ideas and Idealism in the Development of Technology (1975); and three short books (published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) by John McPhee: The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed (1973), The Survival of the Bark Canoe (1975), and The Curve of Binding Energy: A Journey into the Awesome and Alarming World of Theodore B. Taylor (1976).

3. Edward Constant II has pointed out that experimental technologies like wind tunnels can become "powerful traditions" in their own right, "at once enhancing and also channeling and inhibiting research." (See his review of Becker's High-Speed Frontier in Isis 73 [1982]: 609-10.) There may have been an element of this "tunnel vision" in Stack's attack on the transonic problem.

4. R. W. Byrne, "Experimental Constriction Effects in High-Speed Wind Thnnels," NACA Adv. Conf. Rpt. L4LO7a, May 1944. Also published by the NACA as Wartime Rpt. L-74.

5. See Richard T. Whitcomb, "An Investigation of a Typical High-Speed Bomber Wing in the Langley 8-Foot High-Speed Tunnel. I. Basic Wing Characteristics," NACA Research Memo. L5F09, June 1945, and Becker, High-Speed Frontier, pp. 74-75.

6. Ibid., pp. 70-75.

7. L. W. Habel, "The Langley Annular Transonic Tunnel and Preliminary Tests of an NACA 66-006 Airfoil," NACA Research Memo. L8-A28, June 1948. See also Stack's paper for NavOrd Aero-Ballistics Research Facilities Dedication Symposium, pp. 13-17.

8. Edward Poihamus, "Summary of Results Obtained by Transonic Bump Method on Effect of Planform and Thickness on the Characteristics of Wings at Transonic Speeds," TN 3469, 1955. See also Baals and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 37-38.

9. High-Speed Frontier, pp. 99-100. NACA researchers at both Langley and Ames laboratories were studying subsonic interference effects (including the blockage problem mentioned earlier) and the transonic choking problem during this period. For Ames's work on interference effects, see Walter G. Vincenti and D. J. Graham, "The Effect of Wall Interference Upon the Aerodynamic Characteristics of an Airfoil Spanning a Closed-Throat Circular Wind Tunnel," NACA Adv. Conf. Rpt. 5D21, May 1945.

10. Russell G. Robinson and Ray H. Wright, "Estimation of Critical Speeds of Airfoils and Streamline Bodies," NACA Adv. Conf. Rpt. No. L-781, 1940; John Stack, "Tests of Airfoils Designed to Delay the Compressibility Burble," TRs 763 (1943) and 976 (1944).

11. Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 60-6l.

12. Ray H. Wright to Chief, Full-Scale Division, "Theoretical consideration of the use of axial slots to minimize wind-tunnel blockage," 24 May 1948, A206-1D, LCF.

13. C. Wieselberger, "On the Influence of the Wind Tunnel Boundary on the Drag, Particularly in the Region of Compressible Flow," NACA translation (1946) of report in Luftfahrt Forschung, 19, 1942.

14. High-Speed Frontier, p. 37.

15. Antonio Ferri, "Completed Tabulation in the U.S. of Tests of 24 Airfoils at High Mach Numbers," NACA Wartime Rpt. No. L-143, 1945.

16. High-Speed Frontier, p. 38.

17. Ibid., p. 100.

18. Mark R. Nichols interview with Walter Bonney, Hampton, Va., 29 Mar. 1973.

19. Richard T. Whitcomb interview with Walter Bonney, Hampton, Va., p. 11.

20. High-Speed Frontier, p. 103.

21. On Busemann, see Richard Hllion, Designers and Test Pilots (Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1938), pp. 1334-145. There exists in the Langley archives a rare file of U.S. government documents related to Busemann: E38-5 ("Policy and Procedure on Paperclip Specialists [BUSEMANN ONLY]").

22. High-Speed Frontier, p. 103.

23. Ibid., p. 104.

24. In the early 1950s, two Langley engineers successfully applied the method Busemann was here recommending; see D. D. Davis and D. Moore, "Analytical Study of Blockage and Lift-Interference Corrections for Slotted Tunnels Obtained by Substitution of an Equivalent Homogeneous Boundary for the Discrete Slots," NACA Research Memo. L53E07b, 1953.

25. High-Speed Frontier, p. 38.

26. Becker interview with Bonny, Hampton, Va., 27 Mar. 1973, p. 8.

27. Blake W. Corson, Jr., to Chief, 16-Foot Tunnel, "Description and Justification for Slotted Test Section, Material Prepared for FY 1949 Budget," 10 Jan. 1948, AC360-1, LCF.

28. High-Speed Frontier, p. 109.

29. Axel T. Mattson interview with author, Hampton, Va., 19 Oct. 1981.

30. Wind Tunnels of NASA, p. 63.

31. High-Speed Frontier, pp. 110 and 113.

32. Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 64-65.

33. "NACA Transonic Wind-Tunnel Test Sections," NACA Research Memo. L8J06, Sept. 1948. According to written instructions dated 12 Oct. 1948, the reproduction and distribution of this classified publication had "highest priority." A copy of these instructions exists in RA file 70.

34. Eugene C. Draley to Chief of Research, "Visit of representatives from Headquarters, Air Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, wind-tunnel group," 21 Dec. 1948, ibid.

35. Hugh L. Dryden to recipients of NACA publication no. L8J06, 15 Mar. 1954, ibid.

36. Eugene C. Draley to Chief f Research, "University of Southern California slotted test section investigations," 18 May 1950, ibid.

37. The declassified publications - all Research Memorandums-included: Wright and Ward, "NACA Transonic Wind-Tunnel Test Sections," L8J06, 1948; Nelson and Bloetscher, "Preliminary Investigation of a Variable Mach Number Two-Dimensional Supersonic Tunnel of Fixed Geometry," L9D29a, 1949; Bates, "Preliminary Investigation of 3-Inch Slotted Transonic Wind-Tunnel Test Sections," L9D18, 1949; Nelson and Klevatt, "Preliminary Investigation of Constant-Geometry, Variable Mach Number, Supersonic Tunnel with Porous Walls," L50B01, 1950; Nelson and Bloetscher, "Preliminary Investigation or Porous Walls as a Means of Reducing Tunnel Boundary Effects at Low-Supersonic Mach Numbers," L50D27, 1950; Davis and Wood, "Preliminary Investigation of Reflections of Oblique Waves from a Porous Wall," L50G19a, 1950; Sleeman, Klevatt, and Linsley, "Comparison of Transonic Characteristics of Lifting Wings from Experiments in a Small Slotted Tunnel and the Langley High-Speed 7- by 10-Foot Tunnel," L51F14, 1951; Nelson and Bloetscher, "An Experimental Investigation of the Zero-Lift Pressure Distribution over a Wedge Airfoil in Closed, Slotted, and Open-Throat Tunnels at Transonic Mach Numbers," L52C18, 1952; Wood, "Reflection of Shock Waves from Slotted Walls at Mach Number 1.62," L52E27, 1952; Matthews, "Theoretical Study of the Tunnel-Boundary Lift Interference Due to Slotted Walls in the Presence of the Trailing-Vortex System of a Lifting Model," L53A26, 1953; Davis and Moore, "Analytical Study of Blockage and Lift-Interference Corrections for Slotted Tunnels Obtained by the Substitution of an Equivalent Homogeneous Boundary for the Discrete Slots," L53E0b, 1953; Baldwin, Turner, and (from Ames laboratory) Knechtel, "Wall Interference in Wind Tunnels with Slotted and Porous Boundaries at Subsonic Speeds," A53E29, 1953; and Stokes, Davis, and Sellers, "An Experimental Study of Porosity Characteristics of Perforated Materials in Normal and Parallel Flow," L53H07, 1953.

38. Richard T. Whitcomb, "A Proposal for a Swept Wing Fuselage Combination With Small Shock Losses at Transonic Speeds," July 1948, AH321-1, LCF. For contemporary recognition of the lack of understanding about the large and highly variable drag interference associated with wing-body combinations, see the following NACA Research Memorandums: Charles J. Donlan, Boyd C. Myers, and Axel T. Mattson, "A Comparison of the Aerodynamic Characteristics at Transonic Speeds of Four Wing-Fuselage Combinations as Determined from Different Test Techniques," L50H02, 1950; Langley Pi1ot1es Aircraft Research Division (PARD), "Some Recent Data from Flight Tests of Rocket-Powered Model," L50K24, 1951; and William B. Pepper, Jr., and Sherwood Hffmann, "Comparison of Zero-Lift Drags Determined by Flight Tests at Transonic Speeds of Symmetrically Mounted Nacelles in Various Spanwise Positions on a 45° Sweptback Wing and Body Combination," L51D06, 1951.

39. "Chronological Summary of the Transonic Drag Problem and Development of the Area Rule Concept," 19 July 1955, A329-3, LCF.

40. Whitcomb interview with Walter Bonney, pp. 1-2; for discussion of preliminary work in the 8-foot slotted tunnel, see Virgil S. Ritchie and Albin O. Pearson, "Calibration of the Slotted Test Section of the Langley 8-Foot Transonic Tunnel and Preliminary Experimental Investigation of Boundary-Reflected Disturbances," NACA Research Memo. L51K14, 1952.

41. Hallion, Designers and Test Pilots, p. 143.

42. Richard T. Whitcomb and Thomas C. Kelly, "A Study of the Flow over a 45° Sweptback Wing-Fuselage Combination at Transonic Mach Numbers," NACA Research Memo. L52D01, 1952. When the area rule was declassified in 1955, a revised version of this report, complete with al the accompanying charts and tables, appeared in Aviation Week (12 Sept. 1955), pp. 28-48.

43. Whitcomb interview with Bonney, p. 4.

44. Ibid., pp. 3-4. In 1952 the NACA published a study by Busemann on variations of streamtube area with changes in velocity and their effects on shock formation: "Application of Transonic Similarity," TN 2687.

45. Whitcomb interview with Bonny, p. 4.

46. Axel T. Mattson interview with Bonney, 29 March 1973, p. 10.

47. Hallion, Designers and Test Pilots, p. 143.

48. "Chronological Summary of the Transonic Drag Problem and Development of the Area Rule Concept," 19 July 1955, p. 7, A329-3, LCF.

49. For example, see Axel T. Mattson to Ira Abbott, Associate Director for Research, "Application of area rule to exiting designs," 16 Apr. 1953, ibid.

50. "Chronological Summary on Application of Area Rule Concept to Convair F102," 19 July 1955, ibid. Hallion's Designers and Test Pilots presents an excellent brief history of the early applications of the area rule (pp. 144-145), as does Baals and Corliss's Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 62-63. The day-to-day details of Langley's role in the applications may be followed in the correspondence in A329-3 ("Interference of Airplane Bodies and Parts"), AH321-1 ("Langley 8-Foot Transonic Wind Tunnel Section"), B10-2 ("United States Air Force" and "Wright Patterson Air Force Base"), B10-5 ("Navy Department"), and E37-4 ("Visitors") - all of which are in the LCF.

51. These are the words of Convair test pilot Pete Everest, quoted in Hallion, Designers and Test Pilots, p. 144.

52. Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 62-63.

53. David A. Anderton, "NACA Formula Eases Supersonic Flight," Aviation Week (12 Sept. 1955), p. 15.

54. Commentary by Robert Hotz, "The Area Rule Breakthrough," Aviation Week (12 Sept. 1955), p. 152.

55. Whitcomb interview with Bonney, pp. 6-8.

56. Model Research, pp. 280-281.

57. Wallace D. Hayes, "Linearized Supersonic Flow," (California Institute of Technology Ph.D. thesis, June 1947).


Chapter 12

Hypersonics and the Transition to Space


1. Walter Dornberger, V-2--Shot Into the Universe: The History of a Great Invention, trans. by James Cleugh, with intro, by Willy Ley (New York: Viking Press, 1958).

2. John V. Becker to Chief of Research, "Proposal for new type supersonic wind tunnel for Mach number 7.0," 3 Aug. 1945, pp. 1-3, copy in Becker's personal files, Newport News, Va.

3. Ibid., p. 4.

4. Telephone conversation, Beker, Newport News, Va., with author, 16 Feb. 1983. Edwin P. Hartmann mentioned the reluctance of some NACA personnel to build hypersonic research facilities in his Adventures in Research: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1965, NASA SP-4302 (Washington, 1970), p. 139.

5. Becker, "Results of Recent Hypersonic and Unsteady Flow Research at the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory," Journal of Applied Physics 21 (July 1950): 619-28. The journal Aviation Week mentioned Becker's article in its 31 July 1950 issue, pp. 22 and 24. (Becker had presented a version of this paper on 27 Dec. 1949 before the American Physical Society t the University of Virginia.)

6. Alfred J. Eggers of Ames laboratory in California began the design of a 10 x 14-inch (continuous-flow) hypersonic tunnel in 1946; the resulting facility became operational in 1950. The first hypersnic tunnel of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, which received parts of the unfinished Mach 10 tunnel that the Nazis had been building at Peenemünde, came on line at about the same time as the Ames facility.

7. Baals and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 94-95.

8. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., interview with author, Hampton, Va., 12 Sept. 1983.

9. Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 59-61.

10. Hartmann, Adventures in Research, pp. 215 and 221.

11. Ibid., pp. 216-18.

12. H. J. Allen and A. J. Eggers, Jr., "A Study of the Motion and Aerodynamic Heating of Ballistic Missiles Entering the Earth's Atmosphere at High Supersonic Speeds," NACA Conf. Research Memo. A53D28, Aug. 1953. The NACA published updated versions of this same report as TN 4047 and TR 1381 (1958).

13. Adventures in Research, p. 218.

14. Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 238.

15. Conceptual development of the "winged V-2" can be traced back at least to Singer's "Ðber einen Raketenantrieb f¸r Fernbomber," which, though produced in 1940, contains handwritten notes which postdate 1940. In the LaRC Technical Library is an English translation of this paper, "Work on Rocket Drive for Long-Range Bomber and Skip Re-Entry," done later by the Central Intelligence Agency. See Eugen Sänger, Rocket Flight Engineering, NASA TT F-223 (Washington, 1965), as well as Walter Dornberger's "Hinter den Kulissen der V-2" ("Back-Stage Facts about the V-2"), German text and English summary, Proceedings of the 3d International Astronautical Congress, Stuttgart, 1-C Sept. 1952. Copy of Dornberger's presentation in LaRC Technical Library.

16. Robert J. Woods to NACA Committee on Aerodynamics, "Establishment of a Study Group on Space Flight and Associated Problems," 8 Jan. 1952, in X-15 file, LCF. Attached to this letter is a 2 1/2-page memorandum from Walter Dornberger to Woods. In the same file, see also Milton B. Ames, Acting Assistant Director for Research, to Langley, "Research on space flight and associated problems," 10 July 1952.

17. PARD to Chief of Research, "Proposal for Hypersonic Research," 5 June 1953, B10-6 (Wallops), LCF. See John V. Becker, "The Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles, 1952-1963," unpublished, dated 23 May 1983, copy in LHA. The understanding gained from this 57-page MS as well as from a long interview (on 7 Dec. 1983) about it proved to serve as the basis of much of what follows in this chapter.

18. C. E. Brown, William J. O'Su1ivan, and C. H. Zirmnerman, "A Study of the Problems Relating to High-Speed, High-Altitude Flight," 25 June 1953. Copy in LaRC Technical Library under code CN-141, 504.

19. See, for example, E. P. William et al., "A Comparison of Long-Range Surface-to-Surface Rocket and Ram-Jet Missiles (Project Rand)," Rand Corp. rpt. 174, May 1950.

20. Becker, "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 30.

21. Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 208.

22. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 5.

23. Becker interview with author, 7 Dec. 1983.

24. Hubert M. Drake and L. Robert Carman, "A Suggestion of Means for Flight Research at Hypersonic Velocities and High Altitudes," May 1952, copy in X-15, LCF. On the cover sheet of Langley's copy of this once secret report there is a note in pencil, "HOLD UNTIL PROJECT IS COLD THEN DESTROY."

25. D. C. Stone to Chief of Research, "Preliminary study of the proposal for the flight of manned vehicles into space," 1 May 1952, ibid.

26. See J. W. Crowley to Langley, "Request for comments on possible new research airplane," 9 March 1954, E30-6, CF.

27. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 2.

28. Ibid., pp. 7-8.

29. See John Duberg's "Remarks on the Charts Presenting the Structural Aspect of the Proposed Research Airplane" (given at NACA headquarters, 9 July 1954), X-15, LCF.

30. See relevant correspondence in Lngley "special file" on X-15 dated Jan. 1952 through Sept. 1954, X-15, LCF.

31. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 9.

32. See "Summary of Results" in "Research Airplane Study," April 1954, pp. 20-24; copy of report in X-15, LCF.

33. In the original "Research Airplane Study," there was no definite recommendation for air launching or any other specific method of flight takeoff (see pp. 7-8 of study); there was only a comparative estimate of the performance of the assumed airplane with various possible methods of launching. In the conclusion of the study, the authors did state that "for initial operations, launching from the B-52 would permit Mach numbers up to about 6.3 to be determined" (p. 23).

34. The influence of Thompson's suggestion is obvious in "Results of Research Airplane Study," presented by Becker and Duberg at NACA headquarters on 9 July 1954. An abstract of these "Results" was incorporated into the document "NACA Views Concerning a New Research Airplane," Aug. 1954, a copy of which is in X-15 file, LCF.

35. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 10.

36. "NACA Views Concerning a New Research Airplane," p. 5.

37. Becker, "The X-15 Project, Part I: Origins and Research Background," Astronautics and Aeronautics (Feb. 1964) 56.

38. Arthur Henderson, Jr., "Wind-Tunnel Investigation of the Static Longitudinal and Lateral Stability of the Bell X-1A at Supersonic Speeds," NACA Research Memo. L55123, Oct. 1955; for flight research results at Edwards, see Hubert M. Drake and Wendell H. Stillwell, "Behavior of the X-1A Research Airplane during Exploratory Flights at Mach Numbers near 2.0 and at Extreme Altitudes," NACA Research Memo. H55G26, Oct. 1955.

39. "The X-15 Project, Part I," p. 56.

40. The NACA published McL1lan's detailed description of his wedge-tail scheme in August 1954 as Conf. Research Memo. L544F21, "A Method for Increasing the Effectiveness of Stabilizing Surfaces at High Supersonic Mach Numbers."

41. "The X-15 Project, Part I," pp. 56-57.

42. Navy representatives disclosed at this July 1954 meeting that the Bureau of Aeronautics had just contracted with the Douglas Aircraft Company for a feasibility study of a manned aircraft capable of flying to an altitude of one million feet. The representatives also reported that the early results of this study indicated that, from a standpoint of reentry deceleration, it appeared possible to fly to at least 700,000 feet. Becker and Duberg responded to this news by saying that Langley had analyzed the structural heating problem and that its results indicated a peak altitude of only about 400,000 feet. See "The X-15 Project, Part I," p. 57.

43. "Minutes of Meeting, Committee on Aerodynamics, October 4-5, 1954," copy in X-15 file, LCF.

44. Johnson was making a point in 1954 about the whole research airplane program which Becker made in High-Speed Frontier (p. 96) only in regard to the D-558-1.

45. "Minutes of Meeting, Committee on Aerodynamics, October 4-5, 1954," p. 16.

46. Ibid., pp. 16-17.

47. Clarence L. Johnson to Milton B. Ames, Secretary, Committee on Aerodynamics, "Minority Opinion of Extremely High Altitude Research Airplane," 21 Oct. 1954; attached to "Minutes of Meeting," X-15 file, LCF.

48. See Wendell H. Stillwell, X-15 Research Results, With a Selected Bibliography, NASA SP-60 (Washington, 1965).

49. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 9.

50. Though the military services and the NACA both believed that the HYWARDS program should be advanced immediately, they also felt that it should be done with discretion so as not to jeopardize the X-15 project, which was still having funding problems. "The Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 20.

51. Ibid., p. 15.

52. Becker to Floyd L. Thompson, Associate Director, "Hypersonic Research Airplane Study," 17 Jan. 1957, copy in John Stack Collection, LHA.

53. Ibid. See also "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," fig. 1.

54. Peter Korycinski to F. John Bailey, referring to contents of the first formal presentation by the Becker group of its HYWARDS study, 25 Jan. 1957; copy of letter appended to "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles."

55. Adventures in Research, pp. 266-270.

56. Peter Korycinski to Hartley A. Soulé, Research Airplanes Panel Leader (RAPL), "Report on Interlaboratory Round III discussions," 1 Nov. 1957, A200-1A, LCF.

57. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," pp. 18-19.

58. Ibid., p. 25.

59. Ibid., p. 22.

60. On the American reaction to Sputnik, see Walter A. McDougall, ... The Heaven and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), especially pp. 141-157. The author previewed his larger study in "Technocracy and Statecraft in the Space Age: Toward the History of Saltation," American Historical Review 87 (Oct. 1982): 1010-1040. For a shorter analysis of the Sputnik crisis and its specific impact on the NACA, see Roland, Model Research, pp. 290-291.

61. See A. J. Eggers, H. J. Allen, and S. Neice, "A Comparative Analysis of the Performance of Long-Range Hypervelocity Vehicles," NACA Research Memo. A54L10, 10 Dec. 1954.

62. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 23.

63. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth, p. 154.

64. Ira H. Abbott, "A Review and Commentary of a Thesis by Arthur L. Levine," p. 195.

65. Model Research, p. 292.

66. Robert R. Gilruth, J. V. Becker, C. J. Donlan, and E. C. Draley to LAL Director, "Review of Langley Research Effort," 31 January 1958, A200-1A, LCF.

67. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 31-32.

68. Chapman's paper was published along with all 42 of the other papers presented in NACA Conference on High-Speed Aerodynamics, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Moffett Field, Calif., March 18, 19, and 20, 1958: A Compilation of the Papers Presented, (NACA: Washington, 958), pp. 1-18.

69. Ibid., p. 19.

70. Eggers's explanation was cited in Lyod S. Swenson, Jr., James M. Grimwood, and Charles C. Alexander, This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury, NASA SP-4201 (Washington, 1966), p. 89.

71. "Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," pp. 33-34.

72. Ibid., p. 34. The best essay on this technological history to date is Richard P. Hallion, The Path to the Space Shuttle: The History of Lifting Reentry Technology (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Air Force, 1983).

73. This New Ocean, pp. 93-97.




1. Robert R. Gilruth, "Memoir: From Wallops Island to Mercury, 1945-1958," unpublished manuscript presented at the Sixth International History Symposium, Vienna, Austria, 13 Oct. 1972, p. 35, copy in LHA.

2. Ibid., p. 37. For Gilruth's testimony to Congress, see Hearing Before the Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration, Eighty-Fifth Congress, Second Session, on H.R. 13619 (Washington, 1958), pp. 17-21.

3. Gilruth, "Memoir," pp. 46-47.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid., pp. 42-43 and 47-48. For information on the competition for the Mercury space capsule contract, see documents in "Special File, Mercury Project, 1958 through Feb. 1959," in LCF. Of particular note in this special file is the agenda for the "Briefing for Prospective Bidders for Manned Satellite Capsule," 7 Nov. 1958, and Henry Reid's letter to fifteen different addressees, "Information for bidders of manned satellite capsule," 19 Nov. 1958, to which numerous data plots and blueprint designs are attached.

6. Gilruth, "Memoir," pp. 42-43; see also John W. Crowley, Director of Aeronautical and Space Research, NASA Headquarters, to Langley, "Langley support of manned space vehicle development," 11 Feb. 1959, in "Special File, Mercury Project," LCF. Nearly every piece of correspondence in this special file documents some aspect of Langley's support of Project Mercury.

7. See Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., James M. Grimwood, and Charles C. Alexander, This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury, NASA SP-4201 (Washington, 1966), pp. 125-126.

8. See RA A8-L8, "Planning and Contracting, Instrumentation and Control Center Facilities for the NASA Manned Satellite," issued 4 March 1959, copy in "Mercury Project, Jan. 1959-March 1959," LCF.

9. Albin 0. Pearson to Langley's associate director, "Visit of NASA personnel to AEDC, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the purpose of discussing the testing of models of the McDonnell (Project Mercury) capsule in the AEDC facilities," 5 Mar. 1959, in "Mercury Project, Jan. 1959-Mar. 1959," LCF.

10. NASA headquarters also received regular reports from the Langley Space Task Group: see "Project Mercury, Status Report No. 1 for Period Ending January 31, 1959," confidential, copy in "Mercury Project, April 1959," LCF. (This Jan. 1959 status report is in the Apr. 1959 correspondence file because it is attached to a 15 Apr. 1959 cover letter from Gilruth to NASA headquarters.)

11. Raymond L. Bisplinghoff, "Twenty-Five Years of NASA Aeronautical Research: Reflections and Projections," in Space Applications at the Crossroads: 21st Goddard Memorial Symposium, eds. John H. McElroy and E. Larry Heacock (San Diego, 1983), pp. 30-31.

12. For signs of the changes made by Cortright, one need only examine the organization charts in Langley's telephone directories from 1968 through 1970. (A nearly complete collection of the center's telephone books, dating from the late 1940s, is in the LHA.)

13. See Arnold S. Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era (Washington, D.C.: NASA, 1982), pp. 256-258.

14. Thompson interview with Walter Bonney, Hampton, Va., 27 Mar. 1973, p. 25.

15. NASA SP-468, p. ix.

16. Ibid., p. 3.

17. For an enlightening study in the uncertainties of engineering knowledge, look for Walter Vincenti's essay "The Davis Wing and the Problem of Airfoil Design," to be published in Technology and Culture in 1986.

18. "Engineering in an Increasingly Complex Society: Historical Perspectives on Education, Practice, and Adaptation in American Engineering," p. 123, in Engineering in Society: Engineering Education and Practice in the United States, a report sponsored by the National Research Council (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1985). One of the eight recommendations of the NRC's Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer states that "in order to retain the responsiveness of engineers and of the overall system, engineering schools should not introduce greater specialization into their curricula. Instead, they should continue to emphasize basic skills and interdisciplinary study" (p. 73). Langley's history certainly supports this recommendation.

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