Charles G. Abbot, Great Inventions
(Washington, 1943), 227-229. On Langley's failure and the public reaction to it, see Mark Sullivan, Our Times: The United States, 1900-1925, Vol. II: America Finding Herself
(New York, 1927), 562-564. In 1914, after numerous modifications and largely as an attempt to invalidate the Wright Brothers' patents, Glen H. Curtiss
flew the Langley aerodrome successfully with pontoons
. Fourteen years later the Smithsonian reconciled itself to the fact the Wrights' airplane of 1903 was the first successful flying machine, rather than Langley's aerodrome. See Abbot, "The Relations between the Smithsonian Institution and the Wright Brothers," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections
, LXXXI (Sept. 29, 1928).
6 Orville Wright, quoted in N. H. Randers-Pehrson, History of Aviation (New York, 1944), 36. For a description of the flight, see Elsbeth E. Freudenthal, Flight into History: The Wright Brothers and the Air Age (Norman, Okla., 1949), 3-90; Marvin W. McFarland, ed., The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright ... (2 vols., New York, 1953), I, 395-397; and Charles H. Gibbs-Smith, "The Wright Brothers and Their Invention of the Practical Aeroplane," Nature, CXCVIII (June 1, 1963), 824-826.
7 There are several reasonably good histories of aviation and aeronautical research, including M. J. B. Davy, InterpretiveHistory of Flight (London, 1948); Charles H. Gibbs-Smith, The History of Flying (New York, 1954) and The Aeroplane (London, 1960); Lloyd Morris and Kendall Smith, Ceiling Unlimited: The Story of American Aviation from Kitty Hawk to Supersonics (New York, 1953); Theodore von Kármán, Aerodynamics: Selected Topics in the Light of Their Historical Development (Ithaca, N.Y., 1954); and R. Giacomelli, "Historical Sketch," in William F. Durand, ed., Aerodynamic Theory: A General Review of Progress (2 ed., 6 vols. in 3, New York, 1963), I, 304-394. See also Hunter Rouse and Simon Ince, History of Hydraulics (Iowa City, Iowa, paperback ed., New York, 1963), 229-242.
8 Jerome C. Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," Report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1955 (Washington, 1956), 241-251; Arthur S. Levine, "United States Aeronautical Research Policy, 1915-1958: A Study of the Major Policy Decisions of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1963, 7-16; George W. Gray, Frontiers of Flight: The Story of NACA Research (New York, 1948), 9-15; A. Hunter Dupree, Science in the Federal Government: A History of Policies and Activities to 1940 (Cambridge, Mass., 1957), 283-287; John F. Victory, "The NACA: Cradle of Research," Flying, LX (March 1957), 40-43. In 1921, NACA installed at Langley a pioneering variable-density wind tunnel, which featured the use of compressed air to produce an airflow over small models, thus closely simulating the flow over full-scale aircraft.
9 Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 251-254; Levine, "U.S. Aeronautical Research Policy," 7—41. The passage in 1926 of the Air Commerce Act, which made the Secretary of Commerce responsible for encouraging and regulating civil aviation, clarified the role of NACA and made possible the focus on aeronautical research.
10 The great majority of the people who joined the research staff of NACA during the history of the organization, 1915-1958, held degrees in engineering rather than the physical sciences. Thus "research engineer" became the most common formal designation for those working in aeronautical science for NACA.
11 Gray, Frontiers of Flight, 33-70; Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 254-259. The classic text on subsonic aerodynamics is Richard von Mises, Theory of Flight (2 ed., New York, 1959).
12 Elsbeth E. Freudenthal, The Aviation Business: Kitty Hawk to Wall Street (New York, 1940), 62-304; John B. Rae, "Financial Problems of the American Aircraft Industry," Business History Review, XXXIX (spring 1965), 99-114.
13 By 1938 the altitude record set for aircraft, as established by an Italian aviator, had reached beyond 56,000 feet. Eugene M. Emme, Aeronautics and Astronautics: An American Chronology of Science and Technology in the Exploration of Space, 1915-1960 (Washington, 1961), 162.
14 Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 262.
15 Levine, "U.S. Aeronautical Research Policy," 74-79; Twenty-third Annual Report of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics-1937 (Washington, 1938), 2. The NACA organizational structure, in addition to the 15-member Main Committee, which established the research policies of the agency, and the various field installations, eventually included four technical committees, charged with studying problems in particular areas of aeronautical science and recommending to the Main Committee changes in policy and practice. The membership of the various technical committees, like that of the Main Committee, came from the military, the aircraft industry, and the academic community. Each of the technical committees had subcommittees. In 1957 the technical committees were: Aerodynamics, Power Plants, Aircraft Construction, and Operating Problems. See Forty-third Annual Report of NACA - 1957 (Washington, 1957).
16 Gray, Frontiers of Flight, 19-33; Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 261-262.
17 Nicholas J. Hoff and Walter G. Vincenti, eds., Aeronautics and Astronautics: Proceedings of the Durand Centennial Conference Held at Stanford University, 5-8 August, 1959 (New York, 1960), 16.
18 Edgar Buckingham, "Jet Propulsion for Airplanes," in NACA Report No. 159, in Ninth Annual Report of NACA-1923 (Washington, 1924), 75-90.
19 Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 266-267; Levine, "U.S. Aeronautical Research Policy," 81—89.
20 See Robert L. Perry, "The Antecedents of the X-1," paper, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, San Francisco, July 26-28, 1965, 2-17; and Ley, Rockets, Missiles, and Space Travel, 411- 413.
21 Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 267. See also John B. Rae, "Science and Engineering in the History of Aviation," Technology and Culture, III (fall 1961), 391-399. Hunsaker, head of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Main Committee since the 1930s, assumed the chairmanship of NACA in 1941 on Bush's resignation.
22 On the role of air power in the Second World War, see Eugene M. Emme, "The Impact of Air Power Upon History," Air University Quarterly Review, II (winter 1948), 3-13; Eugene M. Emme, ed., The Impact of Air Power: National Security and World Politics (Princeton, N.J., 1959), 209-294; and Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate, eds., History of the Army Air Forces in World War II (7 vols., Chicago, 1948-1955).
23 See C. Fayette Taylor, "Aircraft Propulsion: A Review of the Evolution of Aircraft Powerplants," Report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1961 (Washington, 1962), 245-298.
24 The best-known of these advisory groups was the so-called von Kármán Committee, established late in 1944 at the direction of Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, and headed by Theodore von Kármán, of the California Institute of Technology. After surveying wartime achievements in aeronautical science and rocketry, the panel of scientists published its findings in August 1945 and its recommendations in December. While giving full credit to the German accomplishments in rocketry, the von Kármán committee concluded that jet propulsion offered the key to "air supremacy," and that progress toward long-range ballistic missiles should come through the development of air-breathing pilotless aircraft. The philosophy embodied in these 14 reports was to guide Air Force thinking for almost 10 years. See Army Air Forces Scientific Advisory Group, Toward New Horizons: A Report to General of the Army H. H. Arnold (14 vols. [Washington], 1945). For a retrospect of the findings of the committee, see Hugh L. Dryden, "Toward the New Horizons of Tomorrow: First Annual ARS von Kármán Lecture," Astronautics, XII (Jan. 1963), 14-19. Dryden served as deputy scientific director to von Kármán on the committee.
25 Levine, "U.S. Aeronautical Research Policy," 91-97; Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 267-268.
26 The unitary plan was designed to provide dispersed NACA-Air Force wind-tunnel facilities characterized by a minimum of overlap and a maximum of variety. Five new supersonic wind tunnels were constructed, one at each of the NACA laboratories and two at a new Air Force installation, the Arnold Engineering Development Center at Tullahoma, Tenn. See Manual f or Users of the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel Facilities (Washington, 1956); and Alan Pope, Wind-Tunnel Testing (2 ed., New York, 1954).
27 Axel T. Mattson, interview, Houston, July 2, 1964; Gray, Frontiers of Flight, 330-359; Frank Waters, Engineering Space Exploration: Robert R. Gilruth (Chicago, 1963), 38-39; "History of NACA Transonic Research," Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, undated copy in Archives of the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), Houston. Unless otherwise indicated, originals or copies of all primary materials cited in this work are located in the MSC Archives.
The Langley engineers also pursued their transonic investigations with a method devised in 1944 by Gilruth, whereby small models of wings or complete aircraft were attached to the upper wing surface of an airplane, thus employing the accelerated airflow over the wing surface for studying the aerodynamic characteristics of the model at transonic speeds.
28 Perry, "Antecedents of the X-1," 18-20; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, "The Rocket Research Airplanes," in Eugene M. Emme, ed., The History of Rocket Technology: Essays on Research, Development, and Utility (Detroit, 1964), 193-198; Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 268, 269; Gray, Frontiers of Flight, 334-336; Ley, Rockets, Missiles, and Space Travel, 419-432. Because of the fear that the X-1, operating with an entirely new rocket powerplant, might not be ready as early as planned, the NACA-Air Force-Navy group concurrently developed a jet-propelled research airplane, the Douglas D-558-1. This was also in keeping with NACA's original conviction, shared by the Navy, that the first research aircraft would be turbojet-powered.
29 Kleinknecht, "Rocket Research Airplanes," 199-204; Ley, Rockets, Missiles, and Space Travel, 424-426; Charles V. Eppley, The Rocket Research Aircraft Program, 1946-1962 (Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., 1962), 1-25; Hunsaker, "Forty Years of Aeronautical Research," 269; James A. Martin, "The Record-Setting Research Airplanes," Aeronautical Engineering Review, XXI (Dec. 1962), 49-54; Walter C. Williams and Hubert M. Drake, "The Research Airplane: Past, Present, and Future," Aeronautical Engineering Review, XVII (Jan. 1958), 36-41; Walter T. Bonney, "High-Speed Research Airplanes," Scientific American, CLXXXIX (Oct. 1953), 36-41. For the experiences of two rocket-airplane test pilots, as well as for useful treatments of the postwar research aircraftseries, see A. Scott Crossfield and Clay Blair, Always Another Dawn (Cleveland, 1960); and William Bridgeman and Jacqueline Hazard, The Lonely Sky (New York, 1955).
30 Probably the greatest NACA contribution to the century series (F-100, etc.) was a discovery made in 1951 by Richard T. Whitcomb, an aeronautical engineer working mainly in the recently opened 8-foot, slotted-throat tunnel at the Langley laboratory. Whitcomb collected data on the lengthwise distribution of fuselage and wing volume and suggested an airplane configuration that minimized drag at supersonic speeds. Whitcomb's findings, known as the "area rule," indicated that a coke-bottle, or wasp-waisted, shape would significantly increase the speed of jet-propelled airplanes. The importance of the area rule was reflected in the configuration of practically every jet interceptor designed and built for both the Air Force and the Navy in the mid-1950s. See Richard T. Whitcomb, "A Study of the Zero-Lift Drag-Rise Characteristics of Wing-Body Combinations Near the Speed of Sound," NACA Tech. Report 1273, Forty-Second Annual Report of the NACA-1956 (Washington, 1957), 519-539.
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