In my career at Langley, my primary interest was in the technical aspects of my work. I paid little attention to how the center was directed or where the money came from to perform research. As a result, I am less capable of describing these problems of the center management than others who were involved in these aspects of research. Nevertheless, in the course of my work, I did learn something of the management of the center and was well aware of the importance of proper management. I will therefore attempt to summarize some of my impressions of the administration of the center during the years when the work was done under the NACA. Major changes came about with the advent of the space program and the change of the organization to NASA.
Organization of the Center
When I first came to work at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, I knew very little about its administration. Gradually, through bulletins that were circulated at rare intervals, I became aware of the general organization. In figure 18.1 is shown an organization chart for the Research Department in 1944. The director was called the Engineer in Charge, a title changed to Director a few years later. The Engineer in Charge was Dr. Henry J. E. Reid, who had started his career about 1925 in instrument design, but soon went into administrative work. The second in command was Dr. Floyd Thompson, who was first called Chief of Research and later Associate Director. He was responsible for direction of the research programs at the center. Other departments at the center had to do with technical services and personnel. Most of the research divisions were broken into sections. A few had branches that, in turn, consisted or two or more sections.
Most of the eight research divisions shown in figure 18.1 were associated with a particular research facility or group of facilities. As a result, the divisions were in different locations. To keep all groups informed of the work that was going on, Dr. Thompson in about 1942, set up a program consisting of monthly meetings each hosted by a different research division that would present talks on important projects the group was working on. These meetings were first called Section Head Meetings because section heads usually presented the talks. Later they were called Department Meetings because all the material presented was from the Research Department. These meetings were held after working hours, but Thompson strongly recommended that all section heads or higher ranked supervisory employees should attend and most of them did. Naturally, each of the engineers presenting a talk before all the supervisory personnel at the center had a great incentive to do as good a job as....
....possible. The talks were therefore very well prepared and usually were of great value in helping coordinate the work of the center.
The main products of the work at Langley were reports written on the various research projects. The least formal type of report was called Preliminary Data, which was sent out to the military services or other agencies as rapidly as possible with little review. Later these reports were reviewed and put out as more finished documents of various types depending on the importance and security classification. These included RB's (Restricted Bulletins), MR's (Memorandum Reports), and CMR's (Confidential Memorandum Reports). The standard NACA publications existing before the war were TM's (Technical Memoranda), TN's (Technical Notes), and Tit's (Technical Reports). These reports were unclassified and were always reviewed by a formal editorial committee of engineers and then by the Editorial Office, a group of ladies skilled in English grammar and the NACA rules for style and form.
The Technical Report was considered to contain the most important technical data or to have the most lasting interest. Technical Notes had less of these attributes and Technical Memoranda were usually either translations of foreign reports or reprints of important reports from other agencies. After the war, many reports were declassified and republished as Wartime Reports.
Great emphasis was placed on technical correctness as well as on clarity of presentation and logical arrangement. The editorial committee usually consisted of at least two engineers from the writer's division (one of whom was usually the chairman of the committee), one or more from other divisions, and one who was not working in the same field of work. The latter person, usually referred to as the "mean intelligence" helped to insure that unfamiliar theories and concepts were explained in sufficient detail to be understood by persons not working in the specialty of the writer.
My first assignment to an editorial committee was in the mean intelligence category. I was on a committee for a report written by Dr. Eugene Lundquist, Chief of the Structures Division, on theories of buckling of....
.....thin shell structures. In those days, division chiefs actually took part in the research of their divisions and had time to write technical reports.
During my career, I served on many editorial committees, and each of my formal reports was the subject of a review by such a committee. The instructions for the editorial committee were given in a document reproduced as figure 18.2. This document was one of the longest lasting sets of instructions used at the center. It did not change in over 40 years. In 1980, the form was revised slightly to incorporate such modern ideas as use of "Chairperson" instead of "Chairman" and to account for some changes in the titles of officials in the chain of approval.
 In general, editorial committees served their purpose well. In some instances, however, a person on the committee would try to incorporate ideas that involved a change in organization of the report rather than any change in the material presented. Such comments served to increase the time of report preparation, sometimes unduly. I have heard some engineers remark, "editorial committees are fine for everyone's reports-except mine!" The editorial committee serves as another means to keep groups informed of each other's work. One problem encountered more frequently in recent years is that the derivations or calculations involved are so complex that no one except the author is in a position to check the results. This problem is particularly apparent when most of the results are calculated by high-speed computers.
Approval and Support of Research
During the entire time that I worked in the Flight Research Division, from 1940 to almost 1960, I never had to worry or even think about the money required to do a job. The projects described up to now in this technical autobiography make it clear that much of the work was on ideas that I had proposed or that I directed people in my section to work on. To obtain approval for most projects, it was necessary only to have a talk with or write a memorandum for the Section Head. He, in turn, informed the Division Chief of the work he wanted to have done.
Evidently, the flight research work conducted at Langley was quite expensive, but I did not know the process for obtaining the necessary funds. The money for salaries for engineers, pilots, and mechanics must have been approved by Congress independently of the funding for research equipment, and the activities of these people were largely left up to the Division Chief. Though most of the airplanes under test were furnished by the military services, some were owned by the NACA. The cost of fuel, spare parts, and equipment must have likewise come from another fund approved by Congress in the overall NASA budget. When a project was approved, it was necessary only to write a brief statement called a Job Order that described the objectives of the study and the estimated time for completion.
Keeping track of the progress or completion of a project was equally informal. When I became a Section Head, I kept a list of the R. A. (Research Appropriation number) and the J. O. (Job Order number) for each project under my supervision, along with a title of the job. When the job was completed or a report published, a line was drawn through that entry. Information that would be of interest today, such as engineers assigned and dates, were unfortunately not included. About 200 jobs are shown on the list over about a five-year period. Of course, formal lists were kept by the Langley management and at NACA Headquarters, but I never saw these lists.
This lack of concern with administrative matters was a very favorable feature of the research environment for the engineers who were devoting their energies to solving engineering problems. I have found that steady concentration on any difficult problem is necessary to make progress in its solution. Any distraction to other activities makes progress very difficult because the engineer must spend as much time in refamiliarizing himself with the work done to date as he did in doing it originally.
My main distraction of an administrative nature was writing raise recommendations for engineers when time arrived for their promotion. This was a continuing process, because of the large influx of personnel during the war years, which increased the total employment at the center from about 700 in 1940 to over 3000 by 1944. Although the promotion of satisfactory employees at regular intervals was a somewhat perfunctory event, a raise recommendation was nevertheless required in each case to make it clear....
...that the promotion was justified. Promotion of outstanding employees at a rate faster than normal required very strong and detailed recommendations.
The Committee Organization of the NACA
The initials NACA stand for National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Indeed, the technical governing body of the organization was this committee, often referred to as the Main Committee of the NACA. This committee was appointed by and reported to the President of the United States and its members served without compensation. Its members included representatives of the Air Force, Navy, Weather Bureau, Smithsonian Institution, and Bureau of Standards, as well as prominent aeronautical experts from industry and from universities. The NACA was an independent government organization and reported directly to the President. Under the Main Committee were committees representing the main disciplines of aeronautics, such as aerodynamics and structures. By the time I had worked a few years, these committees each had several subcommittees. I was appointed to the NACA subcommittee on Stability and Control, a subcommittee of the Aerodynamics Committee. Later, after 1958, when the NACA became NASA, the name subcommittee was dropped and the group became the NASA Research Advisory Committee on Control, Guidance, and Navigation. A certificate of appointment is shown as figure 18.3.
The subcommittee met four times a year, and its membership included many prominent stability and control experts from industry and from the universities. I frequently gave reports to the subcommittee on the work being conducted at Langley and on proposed research projects. It was my duty to carry back to Langley recommendations for research made by the subcommittee.
 The committee structure had advantages and disadvantages. In theory, Langley and the other centers of the NACA were kept abreast of the needs of industry, and any promising new ideas were brought to light so that they could be studied with the facilities at the Research Centers. In return, the industry representatives were given the latest research results that might help them with the design of new airplanes.
In practice, the committees did not always produce the benefits desired. Industry representatives, generally representing large companies with their own extensive research facilities, did not readily reveal their latest ideas or results to their competitors on the committee. In addition, when the recommendations of the committee were taken back to Langley, a frequent response was that those items were already in the research program. Generally, university professors provided a more valuable interchange of information. On the whole, I considered the committee operation beneficial, but it was done at the expense of a lot of work and time that could have been used in carrying out the research program. After some years, when the NASA Headquarters organization had grown to the point that each discipline had its own group of administrators, the Research Advisory Committees were discontinued.
Formal NACA Conferences
A long-remembered technique used by the Langley Research Center to transmit its research results to industry was the Annual Inspection. As the name implies, once a year representatives of the industry and military services were invited to hear a series of presentations, usually one at each research facility. The event usually took two days and was noted for the efficient preparations that were made for transporting the groups, the impressive well-rehearsed talks by young engineers, and the live demonstration of facilities and equipment. When the Ames and the Lewis Centers came into existence, the inspection was rotated among the centers, so that it came up once every three years.
In addition to the annual inspection, different disciplines such as Aerodynamics and Stability and Control presented conferences for the industry whenever they thought that enough new research information was available. Each discipline had a Langley committee, usually meeting monthly, at which new research results were presented and discussions were held on proposed research. These committees usually paralleled the NACA subcommittees. I was a member of the Stability and Control Committee, which was headed at first by T. Aubrey Harris, head of the Stability Division and later by Philip Donely, who was then head of the Flight Research Division. These leaders proposed and organized the conferences when they thought they were appropriate. In general, all the centers were invited to present papers at a conference.
The first such conference that I participated in was the Conference on Personal Airplane Research, which was held in 1946. This conference was intended to bring the personal airplane industry up to date on all the advancements made during the war that might be of benefit to them. At that time, there was great optimism that the personal airplane industry would enjoy a great expansion after the war, with all the military pilots returning to peacetime life. This expansion never materialized, however. Many of the advancements also made the airplanes more complex and expensive, which restricted their use to a specialized group who were either wealthy or who could justify the use of the airplane for business purposes.
Many of the later conferences, however, were favorably received because of the exciting nature of new results in transonic and supersonic aerodynamics. The bound volumes of papers presented at these conferences now form good summaries of research in this period of rapid progress in airplane performance.
 Preparation of NACA and NASA Talks
The conference talks were carefully rehearsed and re-rehearsed, with the reviewers consisting of Branch Heads and Division Chiefs at the center. These officials had had long experience in this duty, in a tradition started by Frederick H. Norton, the first professional employee at Langley, and insisted on the figures being clear, legible, and uncluttered and on the talk presenting ideas clearly with a minimum of complex mathematics. This emphasis on clear presentation set an example for industry, the beneficial effects of which were soon evident in talks presented at professional societies and other conferences. The principles governing this approach are presented in a popular paper by Dr. Samuel Katzoff, entitled Clarity in Technical Reporting (ref. 18.1). I did my part in spreading the word in a lecture on report writing that was given to all new engineers, slatting about 1960. The text of the lecture is given in a paper entitled "NASA Reports-A Discussion for Prospective Authors." Both these papers were widely circulated at the NACA and NASA centers.
I fear that the emphasis on clear presentations has largely disappeared with the retirement of the early Division Chiefs and with the advent of computer-generated figures, which usually have small print and illegible scales. Many such figures are prepared with fancy colors and designs, but are very unsuitable for transmitting technical ideas.
Meetings of Professional Societies
Other meetings that were very important for the dissemination of new research results were meetings of professional societies, primarily the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences (IAS), later called the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The meeting of greatest interest to me was the annual meeting of the IAS, which was held each January in the old Hotel Astor on Times Square in New York City. In a Victorian Ballroom decorated with pilasters capped by seminude plaster figures of smiling ladies, the most noted aeronautical scientists and engineers presented talks on the latest technical developments. In those days, there were no simultaneous sessions, so each talk was heard by the entire audience. I remember, for example, talks by W. Bailey Oswald of the Douglas Company on the advantages of four-engine airplanes, a presentation by Dr. James Lighthill on noise produced by jets, and a long and highly mathematical presentation by an unknown young Chinese scholar on boundary-layer oscillations. The latter talk is chiefly memorable for the merciless verbal lashing given the speaker by Max M. Munk, the famous early NACA theorist, who claimed that the speaker had "emasculated" the equations by omitting the nonlinear terms. I did not feel sorry for the speaker; he had violated all the rules of making a clear presentation.
To further emphasize the quality of the talks in the early meetings, I will list a few of the speakers given in the program for the 14th Annual meeting in January 1946
All of these speakers were known to me, either personally or by reputation, at the time of the meeting, and all are known today for their many additional contributions to the science of aeronautics.
 Professional society meetings today do not compare with those early conferences in their value to a young engineer. The meetings have many simultaneous sessions with hundreds of papers, so that it is impossible to predict beforehand which papers will be best to listen to. Most of the papers are the results of thesis work by graduate students, who usually are trying to impress the audience with the complication of their studies. Some papers, of course, are valuable, but the chance of hearing one is rather small.
The American Physical Society meetings were usually held in New York at Columbia University during or immediately after the AIAA meetings. Sometimes I would go to hear a few sessions in that meeting also to acquire a slight acquaintance with such concepts as symmetry and charm in nuclear physics.
Meetings with Visitors
In addition to meetings of professional societies, there were many meetings held at Langley, either in the Flight Research Division or with center-wide groups, to discuss specific problems. Of special note are delegations from France and England in the postwar years. It is evident from my notes that much time was spent in such meetings and discussions and that outside organizations had a strong interest in the work conducted at the center.