SP-4103 Model Research - Volume 2

 

Appendix H (2/4)

Documents

 

 

 

[618] 14. George de Bothezat to Subcommittee on Buildings, Laboratories and Equipments, 15 Feb. 1919.

 

[From 1918 to 1920 George de Bothezat was the NACA's "Aerodynamical Expert." Like Max Munk, who followed him, he displayed a broader grasp of aeronau-tics than many of the early NACA staff members, a penchant for research on problems of theoretical interest, an infelicity with the English language, and a disdain for his colleagues- all evident in this letter. All served to undercut his influence within the NACA, though some of his suggestions were adopted over time.]

 

Gentlemen:

Accordingly to the desire of the Subcommittee- I am presenting herewith a general programme of research work which could be used as general directory at Langley Field. I will allow myself to tell in short words the general ideas that have lead me in the composition of this programme and how I conceive its fulfilling.

From a general standpoint a programme for research must not so much consist in a detailed enumeration of all the questions and problems that can be submitted to research or investigation but rather give the systematization of these problems or questions. That is what I have tried to do in the programme herewith presented. What concerns the detailization of such a programme in each special case it must be left fully to the liberty of those who will undertake these researches, and this is fully necessary for the success of the researches themselves.

Experimental researches or investigations can be of two kinds: Either they simply consist in measurements of some mechanical or physical quantities; Such measurements can be considered as scientific only when they are of a high grade of exactitude; In the other cases they simply constitute routine work. Or the experiments constitute a verification of a general conception of the studied phenomenon. It is the last investigations [619] that generally have the most importance. This kind of conceptional investigations can be undertaken only when they are guided by a deep knowledge of all the studied phenomenon in its whole and its understanding from a unique philosophical standpoint.

What concerns the programs of Messrs. Warner and DeKlyn which I have looked over, they consist merely in an enumeration of different problems that can be investigated but without any systematization of those problems. These papers also contain several theoretical conceptions which in some cases are somewhat doubtful and afterwards contain in some cases suggestions about the results that can be expected; what I think has to be avoided as much as possible in a research programme. So that the papers of Messrs. Warner and DeKlyn look to me more like their own understanding of several aviation problems, than a general program for research and investigation.

The reading of the papers of Messrs. Warner* and DeKlyn** brings me to say some words about the general spirit that must animate all research in general but special all aerodynamical research, the last being still a very new field of investigation.

Before a general conception of a problem to investigate is stated, one must take account of all the works made before and submit them to a critical investigation. Afterwards in the problem to investigate there must be reached as far as possible a certain general theoretical standpoint and a clear understanding of the connections of the studied problem to other problems and its relation to the general principals of dynamics and hydrodynamics. The last constitutes only the fundamental demand of the continuity of scientifical evolution. The problems studied in aviation do not constitute a fully new science but are only a development of applied dynamics and hydrodynamics and have to be studied only as such.

Thus, as a general conclusion, I will say that before attacking any investigation of a problem we must submit it to a careful study and clearly have in mind all the different opinions expressed about this problem, and not limit ourselves to the pure and simple verification of a very narrow group of ideas.

 

RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATION PROGRAMME FOR THE WORK AT LANGLEY FIELD

------

 

2/15/19.

 

A.-The study of the different parts of the aeroplane.

B.-The study of the aeroplane as a whole.

A.-THE STUDY OF THE AEROPLANE PARTS.

I.-Study of the parts that give lift and drag.

II.-Study of the parts that give drag.

III.-Study of the propeller.

1.-Principal objects aerofoils and rudders.

1.-Study of the laws of steady motion.

a.-Measurement of the values of different coefficients.

b.-Study of the influence of different variations of form on those coefficients.

2.-Study of the flow around aerofoils.

a.-Apparent stream deflection.

b.-Tip vortices.

c.-Fundamental and secondary wave.

d.-Pressure distribution.

[620] 3.-Study of the damping phenomenon.

a.-Study of the damping laws.

b.-Measurement of the damping constants.

4.-Study of the laws of hydrodynamical similitude.

a.-Experiments at different speeds.

b.-Experiments with different sizes.

c.-Experiments in different fluids.

Single aerofoils as well as systems of aerofoils have to be studied from all the foregoing standpoints.

II.-The dragging parts.

Study of the different dragging parts of an aeroplane for symmetrical and asymmetrical disposition in the flow and evaluation of the influence of the neighborhood conditions.

III.-Study of the blade screws.

1.-Determination of the best sections to be adopted for blades.

2.-Determination of the best shape to be adopted for blades.

3.-Exact measurements of all the coefficients necessary for blade screws design.

4.-Study of the blades interference on the values of the blades coefficients.

5.-Study of the flow phenomenum around a blade screw.

6.-Study of the blade screw systems.

All this experiment must be conducted taking account of all the new concepts and results scientifically established.

The study of all the foregoing problems must also include the study of all the instruments themselves, which are used for measurements, as the wind tunnels, the different anemometers, etc.

B.-STUDY OF THE AEROPLANE AS A WHOLE.

I.-General characteristics of the aeroplane.

1.-Geometrical characteristics.

2.-Mechanical characteristics.

a.-The weighing of the machine.

b.-Determination of the ellipsoide of inertia of a machine.

II. -The steady motion of the aeroplane.

Measurement of the different forces acting on an aeroplane and study of their laws of variation.

III. -Stability investigation.

1.-Measurement of all the moments and forces acting on an aeroplane in its most general ease of motion.

2.-Study of the different oscillation phenomenon of an aeroplane.

These investigations must not only seek to establish if a given machine is stable or not but must also be directed in the sense to find out the general rules to be used in design by aid of which could be established those dimensions of the aeroplane which can secure complete stability. The study of dirigibility*** must be considered as a part of the stability problem.

 

The Methods

 

All the foregoing problems can be studied or on models or on full scale objects.

The full scale experiments can be made or in free flight tests or on special railway carriages (more generally special electric cars).

For experiments on models the following methods can be used:

1.-The wind tunnel.

2.-The whirling arm.

[621] By this method full-scale propellers can also be used.

3.-The method of falling bodies.

This method is susceptible of a considerable development in the case of dropping different bodies from aeroplanes.

4.-The method of gliding models.

Models are brought to glide in a big closed space and their steady motion as well as stability are studied by photographical methods.

5.-The plane radial screw method.

/.See my blade screw investigation/.

 

The Actually Standing Problems

 

The problems that are the most important for the development of the actual aviation are the following:

1.-The study of the laws of hydrodynamic similitude to allow to draw exact conclusions from model test.

2.-The study of the blade screws. The modern theoretical investigations of the blade screws have brought that problem to such a state that only a very small amount of measurements have to be performed to reach all the necessary data to design propellers exceedingly satisfying all the practical demands.

3.-The study of stability. We actually possess already much data on the steady motion of aeroplanes that allow a pretty good determination of their performance, but we are far to possess all the necessary data to be able to fully secure the complete stability and maneuverability of an aeroplane. That is why a special attention must he devoted to the last questions.

 

G. DE BOTHEZAT

 


15. L. C. Stearns to Joseph S. Ames, 5 April 1919.

 

[The Office of Aeronautical Intelligence was one of the busiest in NACA headquarters controlling the flow of information that was the NACA's main product. This early scheme of organization and procedure, later refined and amended, gives the flavor of the engineering approach to bureaucratic function and suggests the meticu-lous attention to detail that became part of the NACA style.]

There is transmitted herewith a statement regarding the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence which contains its authority, its history, and proposed scheme of organization, together with rules for the proper conduct of its affairs.

The submission of further Rules may seem out of place at this time. This is not felt to be the case, however, since previous so-called Rules, owing either to a misconception or lack of experience on my part, were not rules for the efficient functioning of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, but merely a statement of the routine to be followed in the conduct of the office details. You will note therefore that under the scheme of organization reference is made to "Routine to Be Followed" for the filing, reproduction, and distribution of reports. These statements of routine work are already familiar to the present existing staff of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, a copy being attached hereto.

Your attention is also called to the fact that no provision for a drafting force as such is made for the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, it being my opinion that all drafting work should be under one section of the Engineering Division of the Committee's Staff. . .

For the positions of Technical Assistant and manager, I do not care to make any recommendations, but in view of the fact that Mr. C. A. Chayne and myself, who at present function in the above mentioned capacities respectively, desire to give all of [622] our time to work of an aeronautical engineering nature, which requires release from the large amount of routine work necessary to the proper conduction of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, it is requested that in forming a permanent organization for the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence we be not considered as candidates for the above respective positions unless our services in those capacities are absolutely necessary.

 

Respectfully,
 
L. C. STEARNS
[Aeronautical Mechanical Engineer.]

 

 

THE OFFICE OF AERONAUTICAL INTELLIGENCE, NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS

 

 

Authority:

The Executive Committee of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in its "Rules and Regulations of the Conduct of the Work of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," approved by the President of the United States, June 14, 1915, with amendments approved by the President up to May 20, 1918; authorized under "Regulations for Conduct of Committee," Article III, paragraph 3, "to collect aeronautical information, and such portion thereof as may be appropriate may be issued as bulletins or in other forms."

 

Formation:

Under date of January 10, 1918, the Executive Committee placed itself on record as favoring the establishment of an office of aeronautical information under the auspices of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. On February 23, 1918, action was formally taken by the Executive Committee establishing such an office, to be known as the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence.

Some action soon thereafter was taken on the part of the Assistant Secretary of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, looking toward the building up of 'a working organization; this was shortly turned over, informally, to L. C. Stearns (then Technical Assistant on the Committee's Engineering Staff) under whom the organization progressed until June 6, 1918, when the first Bulletin (No. A. I. 1) was issued, containing a list of reports received by the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence up to June 5, 1918. At that time the personnel of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence consisted of L. C. Stearns, who supervised the work of the Section and supplied the technical services, and Miss S. C. Nungesser, as index and catalogue clerk.

Under date of June 1, 1918, the Executive Committee instructed Dr. J. S. Ames to investigate the work of the Intelligence office and submit report and recommendations. Accordingly, therefore, rules and regulations for the conduction of the office routine of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence were drawn up, presented to the Executive Committee under date of June 8, 1918, and approved thereby.

Under date of August 8, 1918, the Intelligence office was placed under the charge of the Editorial Subcommittee by the Executive Committee, which at the same time appointed to membership on the latter subcommittee, Dr. W.C. Sabine, then Director of Scientific and Technical Data for the Bureau of Aircraft Production, War Department.

Under date of September 6, Dr. Sabine was appointed Director of Scientific and Technical Data for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and placed in charge of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, subject to the general control of the Editorial Committee. On November 30, 1918, Dr. Sabine resigned from his membership on the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. No action was formally taken relieving him of his office as Director of Scientific and Technical Data, but the control of the Intelligence office in effect reverted to the Editorial Committee. . .

[623] Under date of February 13, 1919, a set of rules and regulations, revised to fit the then existing peace conditions, was approved by Dr. Joseph S. Ames, as Chairman of the Editorial Committee.

 

Purpose:

The Office of Aeronautical Intelligence being organized during the war period, was created for the immediate purpose of assisting in the dissemination of technical information relating to aeronautics among the military, naval and certain civil departments of the Government who required such material for the successful conduct of their duties. Under these circumstances the distribution to the industry was not possible except through the military or naval authorities, although it was intended to arrange for such distribution as soon as possible under the circumstances.

After the signing of the armistice, therefore, efforts were made to secure from the military authorities, permission to distribute to the industry the information in the files of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence. Under date of January 4, 1919, permission was received from the Acting Director of Military Intelligence to distribute "to Aircraft Manufacturers, Designers, etc., in good standing, such technical reports relating to the various phases of research work in aeronautics" as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics had received from various sources during the war. This permission expressly prohibited the distribution of "information in reference to military airplanes, including all their equipment and accessories." This has been interpreted, however, to mean only information of a military nature, for obviously a report on an extensive set of tests to determine the proper rib or spar to use on an airplane, though the latter be a military type, is research information.

It being the duty of the Committee to "supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view to their practical solution," the encouragement of the commercial development of aeronautics is necessary, since through this commercial development and upbuilding of aviation we may arrive most successfully and permanently at the practical solution of the problems of flight. As a further corollary to the above duty we have that of providing for the education of future aeronautical and aerodynamic engineers and specialists through the medium of existing technical educational institutions.

The encouragement of the commerce of aeronautics and engineering and scien-tific education in aerodynamics and aeronautics can be materially assisted by extensive and well directed dissemination and distribution of technical and research information relating to aeronautics and its scientific progress. It shall be the purpose, therefore, of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence to collect technical, scientific and research information relating to aeronautics, properly classify it and disseminate the valuable portions thereof to the research educational and industrial institutions engaged in, or associated with aeronautical work.

Organization:

The organization of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence as contained in the Rules adopted June 8, 1918, was as follows:

Technical Assistant in charge, L. C. Stearns,

Chief Catalogue and Index Clerk, Miss S. C. Nungesser.

The organization of this office shall hereafter be as follows:

Manager or Executive

1. Technical Assistant

2. Collaters, or technical employees

3. Principal clerk

a. Index and catalogue clerk

b. File clerks

c. Reproductive clerks

d. Distribution clerks

[624] The authority and responsibilities shall be as follows:-

I. Technical and administrative employees.

1. (a) The manager is authorized to exercise sole and complete control over the execution of policies and activities of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, and shall be responsible only to the Editorial Committee (or to the Director of Scientific and Technical Data should one be appointed on the recommendation of the Editorial Committee), who shall determine the policies of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, and whose chairman will call only upon the manager for the execution of such orders as may be issued thereby, pertaining to the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence.

(b) All matters such as documents, correspondence, and interviews relating or pertaining to the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, which may fall into the hands of, or be originated by other members of the Committee's technical, administrative or field staff, shall be called as soon as possible to the attention of the manager who shall, if necessary, call same to the attention of, or take the matter up with the Chairman of the Editorial Committee (or the Director of Scientific and Technical Data).

(c) Notice of all actions pertaining to the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence taken by the Executive Committee or other Subcommittees shall be forwarded as soon as possible (in written form) to the Chairman of the Editorial Committee, a copy going to the manager at the same time.

(d) The file copy of all letters written personally by the Chairman of the Editorial Committee (or Director of Scientific and Technical Data) pertaining to the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, shall be initialed by the manager before being filed.

2. (a) All requests for reports, receipts for documents, letters transmitting documents and letters of general routine shall be signed by the manager, with suitable title. (Authority was granted L. C. Stearns in letter dated July 11, 1918, to sign "letters transmitting documents . . . . letters or cards acknowledging receipt of documents.") (Under date of December 23, authority was granted L. C. Stearns to similarly transmit reports to bona fide Airplane Manufacturers, in addition to the function of transmitting such documents to government agencies.)

(b) In all correspondence with other Government Departments requiring a formal letter, these letters shall be signed by the Chairman of the Editorial Committee (or Director of Scientific and Technical Data) after being initialed by the manager.

(c) All letters involving the policy of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence shall be signed by the Chairman of the Editorial Committee (or Director of Scientific and Technical Data) after having been initialed by the manager.

(d) All orders for stenographic work required in the reproduction of reports shall be made out on suitable forms for the Stenographic Department of the Administrative Division of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and shall be signed by the manager.

(e) All orders for drafting work required in the reproduction of reports shall be made out on suitable forms for the Drafting Department of the Engineering Division of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and shall be signed by the manager.

(f) All orders for photostat or blueprint work required in the reproduction of reports shall be made out on suitable forms for the proper department (at present this work is done gratis by the Air Service) and shall be signed by the manager.

(g) All reports received which are suitable for reproduction will be so designated by the manager.

(h) All incoming requests for reports shall be approved by the manager.

3. The work of the technical employees of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence will be directed by the manager, to whom they will be directly responsible for the character and amount of such work as may as be assigned them.

[625] 4. All reports reproduced shall be checked at the proper time during the repro-ductive process, certain of the technical employees being assigned by the manager to this work of checking.

5. The manager may delegate to the technical assistants or to the other assistants such functions as, in the interests of good administration, he deems advisable.

II. Clerical Employees.

1. The principal clerk will direct the work of the clerical employees of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, and will be directly responsible therefor to the manager, who will transmit orders to the clerical employees only through the principal clerk.

2. (a) The duties of the index and catalogue clerks will be to suitably index and catalogue all reports and documents received by the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence (see Routine to be Followed in Cataloguing Reports).

(b) One of the index and catalogue clerks shall be designated as being in charge of this phase of the work, to whom the remaining index and catalogue clerks will be responsible, and who in turn will be responsible to the principal clerk for the amount and character of the work assigned to the remaining index and catalogue clerks.

3. (a) The duties of the file clerks will be to prepare and file in suitable receptacles all reports or documents after their indexing by the index and catalogue clerks (see Routine to be Followed in Cataloguing Reports), and to remove therefrom such reports or documents as may be called for by the members of the administrative,, engineering or field Staffs of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

(b) One of the file clerks will be designated as being in charge of this phase of the work and will be responsible to the principal clerk for the condition and care of the files, as well as the character and amount of work of the remaining file clerks.

4. (a) The duties of the reproduction clerk will be to provide for the proper reproduction of reports. (See Routine for Reproduction of Reports.)

(b) One of the reproduction clerks shall be designated as being in charge of this phase of the work and will be responsible to the principal clerk for the provision, and at the time required, of reports for reproduction, and shall be responsible for the amount and character of the work of the remaining reproduction clerks.

5. (a) The duties of the distribution clerk will be to perform the details required in the distribution of reports. (See Routine for Distribution of Reports.)

(b) One of the distribution clerks shall be designated as being in charge of this phase of the work and shall be responsible to the principal clerk for the proper execution of the details in connection with the distribution of reports, and shall be responsible for the amount and character of the work of the remaining distribution clerks.

Prepared: April 3, 1919.

Approval: The above statement of the formation, purpose and organization of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence is approved by the Executive Committee, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

 

Date
Chairman, Executive Committee

 

 

OFFICE OF AERONAUTICAL INTELLIGENCE

ROUTINE TO BE FOLLOWED IN CATALOGING REPORTS

 

 

I. Assume receipt of a report.

1. Inspected by the technical officer who classifies same by placing upon it the proper file number.
2. An abstract of the report, if necessary, is indicated.
3. Indication is made by underlining (--------) the subjects under which the report should be cross-indexed alphabetically.

[626] II. Report given to Chief Index Clerk.

1. Clerk looks under general file number given to report, and determines the serial number of this particular report (next number after that shown on last shelf card). Clerk then writes card called shelf card (see sample, Fig. 1), which is filed in its proper place immediately upon being made and must not be removed therefrom. This is to prevent duplication of serial numbers and consequent confusion.
2. The serial number of the above shelf card is next written on the report itself (thus 5123.2-13) the latter number being the serial number. The date of this indexing is then stamped on report.

 

This subject is determined by index clerk from number indicated on report by technical officer.

This is to enable a copy to be requested by author's name

Starters..............................

.

(File No.) 3640

Title....................................

(Serial No.) 24

.

Author (This is to include all identification marks made by author.)

Abstract. Indicate here if report is placed other than in proper place in general files.

FIG. 1

 

 

 

3. Next a card is made by the Records Clerk for record as follows (see Fig. 2): author or originating source and serial number, if any, is placed first, then title, date catalogued, and complete file number. These are very essential to enable the report to be traced at any time in different ways. These cards serve as chronological record of reports received, and are not to be filed when made (as was the case for the shelf card) and those made since date of last casualty list are saved for making next list, after which they may be arranged and filed according to such serial number as they may bear, or if none appears, they are filed chronologically.
 
4. Cards are then made by Assistant Index Clerk for alphabetical cross-index under subjects indicated by underlining (--------------). The portions of the title so indicated are to appear as the leading word on the card with the balance of the title properly grouped and following. Vertical lines (so ....) may be used to indicate any portion of title to be omitted in cataloguing.
 
5. Report itself is placed by Assistant Index Clerk in folder properly numbered to correspond to this number on the report.
 
6. This is then handed to Files Clerk who files it under its number in the general files. If this is not convenient, a dummy is placed indicating where report may be found. In the case of a report bearing two or more numbers, a dummy is placed in the files under the number not used, which will indicate where the report is filed.

 

 

Airplane Engineering Division,
Dayton, Ohio

.

Serial #148

.

Title
5043.1-7

1/14/19

FIG. 2.

 

[627] Note:-It is suggested that, when a large number of reports are being indexed at one time, one operation, such as making the shelf cards, be completed on all the reports before passing to another operation. This will serve to add to the efficiency of the work and eliminate confusion.

 

Date: 1/31/19.
Approved: L. C. Stearns.

 

 

OFFICE OF AERONAUTICAL INTELLIGENCE PROCEDURE FOR REPRODUCTION OF REPORTS

 

I. Assume report in files.

1. The report has been catalogued and casualty list issued in the regular manner.
2. Reports to be reproduced are indicated on the master casualty list which is inspected at regular intervals by the Reproduction Clerk. (Or reproduction may be required by the Distribution Clerk. See Distribution.)
3. Reports indicated as above are secured by the Files Clerk at the request of the Reproduction Clerk. These reports are then prepared by the Reproduction Clerk for reproduction by separating the drawings, photographs, etc., from the typewritten body of the report, work orders being made out for the necessary stenographic or drafting work. These orders are signed by the technical assistant.
4. In the case of photographs or drawings and tables entailing tedious work, requests for photographic or photostatic work are drawn upon the proper department and are to be signed by the Executive.
5. The duplicate of the Work Order or Photostat Order when entered on Work or Photostat Order Record by the Reproduction Clerk is to be placed in the folder of the report whose number it bears. This is essential to prevent confusion when the originals of the report seem to be misplaced When report is returned to its folder, this carbon copy may be removed and the proper entry made in the Work or Photostat Order Record.

 

II. Assume completion of stenographic or drafting work.

1. Upon completion of work by the stenographic or drafting departments, the material is given to a technical assistant to be checked.
2. Upon completion of the checking, the material is returned to the Reproduction Clerk. If the copies and drawings are to be blueprinted, the number desired being previously noted upon the Work Order by the Technical Assistant, blueprint requests are made out as in the case of photostat orders. These orders are then entered and treated as in the case of duplicate work orders.

 

III. Assume completion of blueprint and photostat work.

1. The prints are assembled into the form of the complete report by a clerk and are then ready for distribution pending which they are filed in their proper folder. Date: January 31, 1919.

Approved: L. C. Stearns.

 

OFFICE OF AERONAUTICAL INTELLIGENCE PROCEDURE FOR DISTRIBUTION OF REPORTS

 

I. Assume reproduction of several copies of report completed.

1. Lists of reports ready for distribution are made up at frequent intervals in the form of a bulletin and sent out to the latest authorized mailing list.
2. A limited number of offices receive the reports indicated on Bulletin as well as copies of the Bulletin.

 

[628] II. Assume receipt of a request for a report.

1. Request is given to the Executive for approval after which it is given to the Distribution Clerk.
2. If request is approved, the numbers and titles of reports are entered in the distribution record, the Distribution Clerk indicating that this has been done by initialing the order in upper right hand corner.
3. Every effort will be made to fill requests in the order of their receipt and as promptly as possible.
4. The Distribution Clerk will prepare a list of the file numbers of the reports wanted. This list will be handed to the Files Clerk who will collect copies of the reports indicated. Note.-Original copies are not to be sent from the office. (See Rules.)
5. If there are not sufficient duplicate copies to meet the Distribution Clerk's request, the Files Clerk should call same to the attention of the Reproduction Clerk who will cause orders to be prepared for reproduction. In case master sheets exist, this will mean that a blueprint order should be prepared for several copies. In case no master sheets have been prepared, work orders for preparing same will be drawn up. (See "Reproduction.")
6. If the required copies of reports are available, they will be sent out accompanied by a letter of transmittal, the date of transmission being entered in the proper column of distribution record. The Distribution Clerk will initial the carbon copy of the transmittal letter when this has been done.
7. The date of the return of receipt is entered in the proper column of the distribution record, the receipt to be initialed as above when entry has been made.
8. If report is to be returned, this date is noted in distribution record and the matter should be promptly followed up and an effort made to have the report returned.
9. When any of the above mentioned records have been initialed as indicated, they are ready to be filed.
 
Date: 1/31/19
Approved: L. C. Stearns, Executive.

 


16. Research Authorization No. 201, 21 Jan. 1927.

 

[The research authorizations tell more about the NACA research program than any other single series of documents, not because they necessarily describe what was done at the laboratories but because they explain the what, why, and how of the work the Committee chose to undertake. This-the RA discussed at length in App. F - shows the format used with little alteration throughout the NACA's history.]

 

NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS

RESEARCH AUTHORIZATION NO. 201

 

Title: Investigation of Various Methods of Improving Wing Characteristics by Control of the Boundary Layer.

 

By Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Approved:_____, 192-

Approved: January 21, 1927.

 

JOSEPH S. AMES,
Chairman, Executive Committee.

 

[629] Purpose of investigation (Why?) To determine the possibilities of improving wing characteristics by blowing air through transverse slits, as suggested by Professor R. Katzmayr, and by sucking air through transverse slits, as proposed at Gottingen University.

Brief description of method (How?) Tests are to be conducted in the atmospheric wind tunnel on a model airfoil similar to that used by Professor Katzmayr. These tests are to be followed by flight tests on a modified TS airplane.

Wind tunnel tests are to be conducted on the method used at Gottingen University, of sucking air through transverse slits.

Remarks:

Investigation requested by Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, by letter dated December 2, 1926 (No. Aer-M-l52-FAM 301-2 QB/HK).

 

Dates of reports ________________
Publications ___________________

Copies to: E. G. Reid, J. W. Crowley, Max M. Munk, Engineer-in-Charge. Copy made for E.W.M.11-1-27. Files (2).

 


17. Memorandum of the Special Committee on Organization of Governmental Activities in Aeronautics [11 Feb. 1920].

 

[This memo is one of the few written formulations of the division of responsibilities in aeronautics among government agencies. It was prepared as part of the NACA's campaign to establish a bureau of aeronautics within the Department of Commerce. The campaign culminated in the Air Commerce Act of 1926.]

 

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ORGANIZATION OF GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES IN AERONAUTICS

MEMORANDUM

 

A. Leave to the War and Navy Departments:

1. Training of pilots, observers, photographers, mechanics, etc.
2. Authority to establish Reserve Corps of same, etc.
3. Engineering development.
4. Procurement of aircraft, etc., after submission for approval to joint Army and Navy Board (the existing aeronautical board). (In case of the inability of this board to come to a decision upon any question, it may be referred to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.)

B. Agencies, such as the Post Office Department, receiving direct appropriation for aviation purposes, shall control their own procurement, personnel, and operation.

C. The duties of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics shall be left as at present.

D. Establish Air Navigation Board under Department of Commerce.

Membership: Two members each from: War, Navy, Post Office, Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, appointed by the heads of the organizations.
 
Duties: 1. Receive requests for aircraft needs of civil agencies of the Government except those for which Congress makes specific appropriations for aircraft, and make arrangements with the military departments of the Government for detail of the necessary aircraft, personnel, etc.

[630] 2. Formulate rules and regulations for interstate civil air navigation, inspection, licenses, etc. Perform the necessary inspection, issue licenses, enforce the regulations, etc. in the name of the Secretary of Commerce.

3. Make plans for air routes, airdromes, landing fields, etc., and in general to carry out wishes of Congress so far as the development of commercial aeronautics by the Government is concerned.

4. Submit annual report for inclusion with annual report of the Secretary of Commerce, reviewing its activities and containing recommendations regard-ing all branches of its work, including the need of the use of aircraft by the civil agencies of the Government, suggestions for more detailed legislation for the regulation of air navigation, and matters concerning the general development of commercial aviation. Make special reports from time to time when in its judgment circumstances require.

 


18. "A National Aviation Policy, "NACA Annual Report, 1920, pp. 54-56.

 

[While European nations were promoting commercial aviation by direct subsidy, the NACA recommended that the United States government foster commercial aviation indirectly through research, regulation, and support for aids to flying and navigation. The rationale was to underwrite a healthy industry to form the nucleus of American air power in future wars. This broadly political recommendation, concerned with the entire spectrum of aviation, may be contrasted with the Committee's more narrowly focused statement following World War II (reproduced as document 36).]

 

A NATIONAL AVIATION POLICY

 

Aviation activities during the war were concentrated on the development and production of military aircraft. The selection of the landing fields that were established was necessarily guided by military considerations. The close of the war found us with an aeronautic industry at the stage of quantity production, a large amount of aircraft material on hand, a large number of trained flyers, and a few scattered landing fields. In brief, all this constituted the national inheritance from the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars for the hurried development of military aviation during the war. In the two years that have elapsed since the armistice a good proportion of the aircraft material has become obsolete. A majority of the technical personnel and trained flyers have returned to civil life and to pursuits not connected with aviation. The great aircraft industry has almost disappeared, and some of the landing fields have been surrendered. Those that have been retained really represent one of the most valuable physical assets salvaged from our aircraft expenditures.

As a nation we must seek to realize clearly the lessons of the war and to profit by them. Our efforts in the development of a military air force and the organization of an aircraft industry during the war were remarkable accomplishments in themselves, but the handicap of a negligible industry at the outbreak of the war and the general lack of technical knowledge were too great to be satisfactorily overcome in a short time, regardless of the money available. It is now our clear duty to take to heart the lessons and mistakes of the war period and to shape a national aviation policy that will be productive of the greatest possible structural development consistent with prudent economy.

The Government agencies actively concerned with the use of aviation at the present time are the Army Air Service, the Naval Air Service, and the Postal Air Service. Other agencies such as the Geological Survey, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Forest Service, etc., have more or less need for the use of aircraft in their work. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics is concerned not so much with the [631] promotion of the uses of aviation as with the scientific study of the problems involved and the technical development of the art for the benefit of governmental agencies and of the public generally, but the committee believes that the use of aircraft by the various governmental agencies should be encouraged where its efficient use is practicable; also that the general development of aviation for all purposes should be encour-aged by the National Government. The faithful performance of our national duties in these respects becomes compelling from considerations of wise military preparedness.

In time of war aviation will probably be the first arm of offense and defense to come into action. For this there must be an established industry and a trained and active air service. Aerial supremacy at the outset of hostilities would be a tremendous military advantage. Ultimate victory would unquestionably incline to the side that could establish and maintain supremacy in the air. Huge expenditures of money in time of danger and frantic efforts to train personnel and to develop hastily an aircraft industry from almost nothing will not do. There must be wise preparedness; there must be in healthy existence at least a nucleus of an industry capable of adequate expansion; there must exist civil and commercial aeronautical activities in all parts of the country which would be the main support of the industry in time of peace. In pure self-defense the Government must encourage the development of commercial aviation. The alternative proposition is the creation and maintenance of a powerful standing military air service relatively self-reliant in time of war. We cannot, however, afford the expense which such a policy would entail, and there would be no advantage in time of peace from such expenditures comparable in any way to the advantages to be gained from the support of civil aviation. We should maintain an active air service in time of peace which should possess inherent strength and be something more than a mere nucleus for expansion in time of war. In the final analysis, however, we must depend upon civil aviation to furnish a military reserve force. The remarkable accomplishments of our Motor Transport Service during the war were only made possible by the healthy condition of our automobile industry. The problem is to place our aircraft industry in a healthy condition, and to do this we must enter without delay upon a sane, sound policy for the development of civil aviation. The relative cost of fostering an organized plan to develop commercial aviation would be much less than the waste that would inevitably result from unprepared entry into war. Aside from military considerations, the fostering of commercial aviation would in time yield adequate returns in itself in the form of promoting and strengthening our means of transportation, advancing the progress of civilization, and increasing the national wealth.

Aviation is a distinct advance in civilization given to the world by America. The importance of the development of aviation from a military standpoint was not fully appreciated before the war, with the consequent lack of encouragement of the development of the art. The handicap of years of comparative inactivity has not yet been overcome. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. We cannot go backward, but must go forward with the intelligent development of aviation in all its branches.

Aviation is still in its infancy; its possibilities, while unknown, appeal to the imagination. The forced development during the war and some of the experimental development since have not been based upon scientific research and sound scientific principles that make for substantial progress. Technical training is necessary, including education in advanced aeronautical engineering; so is the actual training of a large body of men in the technique of the care and operation of aircraft. Broadly speaking, scientific research, technical training, and commercial aviation constitute, or should constitute, the backbone of a national policy.

Reducing to definite form the steps which in the opinion of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics are wise and timely, the committee, after careful consideration [632] of all the facts within its knowledge, submits the following specific recommendations:

First. That legislation be enacted providing for Federal regulation of commercial air navigation, licensing of pilots, aircraft, landing fields, etc. At the present time there is no authority of law for any executive agency of the Government to perform such duties. The committee believes that for the executive administration of these new duties of government there should be established in the Department of Commerce a bureau of aeronautics in charge of a commissioner of air navigation, who should also become a member of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Acting in cooperation with the War, Navy, and Post Office Departments, the committee has prepared a draft of legislation which appears in full in a preceding section of this report under the heading "Organization of Governmental Activities in Aeronautics," and which it strongly recommends for the immediate consideration of Congress. In this connection the committee recommends also the adoption of a policy of Federal aid to the States in the establishment of landing fields for general use in every State in the Union.

Second. That the Congress authorize an American airplane competition in order to stimulate private endeavor in the development of new and improved designs of aircraft, the competition to be under the direction of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the entries of the successful competitors to be purchased by the Government at a predetermined and announced figure and made available for the use of the Postal Air Service.

Third. That adequate appropriations be made for the military and naval air services in order to permit the continuous development of these exceedingly important arms of the two services, and to enable them to place orders in such a way as to maintain a nucleus of an aircraft industry capable of sufficient expansion to meet military needs in time of emergency. The committee considers this absolutely essential.

Fourth. That the control of naval activities in aeronautics be centralized under a naval bureau of aeronautics in charge of a director of naval aviation. At the present time responsibility for the development of naval aviation is divided between the Office of Operations and the numerous bureaus of the Navy Department. This basis of organization does not permit full cooperation with the Army Air Service or with other governmental and civil agencies nor does it, in the opinion of the committee, promote the efficient development of aviation within the Navy.

Fifth. That the Air Mail Service of the Post Office Department be further extended and developed. This service has given the best demonstration of the practicability of the use of aircraft for civil purposes. It has been seriously handicapped by inability to secure suitable airplanes adapted to its work. The question is one of design, which should be handled by the industry. The remedy lies in the development of the industry, which can only be brought about at an early date by the indorsement and prosecution by the Government of a constructive, comprehensive policy.

Sixth. That the Congress approve the program of scientific research in aeronautics formulated by the committee and provide for the enlarged facilities necessary for its prosecution. Continuous scientific research is necessary for the real advancement of the science of aeronautics. The number and importance of problems requiring solution have increased greatly with the general development of aircraft, and the development of airplanes of all-metal construction will require a large increase in the aerodynamic research and engineering experimentation conducted by the committee at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory at Langley Field, Va.

 


[633] 19. Report of the NACA Subcommittee on Federal Regulation of Air Navigation, 9 April 1921, from NA CA Annual Report, 1921, pp. 13-15.

 

In response to a 1 April 1921 letter from President Warren G. Harding, the NACA prepared this report, which represents its mature judgment on what should be included in civil-aviation legislation. Note that the NACA recommends for itself "in an advisory capacity, the coordination of all aeronautical activities of the Government." Five appendixes expanding on provisions of the basic report have been deleted.]

 

NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS,
Washington, D.C., April 9, 1921.

 

 

The PRESIDENT,

The White House.

 

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: In accordance with your letter of April 1, 1921, addressed to Dr. Charles D. Walcott, chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, this committee organized a special subcommittee on Federal regulation of air navigation, as follows:

War Department: Maj. Gen. C. T. Menoher, United States Army; Maj. W. G. Kilner, United States Army.

Navy Department: Rear Admiral D. W. Taylor, United States Navy; Commander Kenneth Whiting, United States Navy.

Post Office Department: Mr. E. C. Zoll, Mr. C. I. Stanton.

Department of Commerce: Dr. S. W. Stratton, Mr. E. T. Chamberlain.

Representatives from civil life: Mr. Sidney Waldon, Mr. F. H. Russell, Mr. Glenn L. Martin.

Dr. Charles D. Walcott, chairman.

Mr. J. F. Victory, secretary.

This subcommittee has taken up, as you directed, the question of Federal regulation of air navigation, air routes to cover the whole United States, and cooperation among the various departments of the Government concerned with aviation, and, in addition, the two questions specified in your letter:

"(a) What can and should be done without further legislative action.

"(b) What legislative action and appropriations are necessary to carry into effect the recommendations of the subcommittee."

The report of this subcommittee is as follows:

The following general considerations on a national aviation policy are recommended:

1. Aviation is inseparable from the national defense. It is necessary to the success of both the Army and the Navy. Each should have complete control of the character and operations of its own air service.

2. Aeronautics is a comparatively new science capable of such tremendous and rapid development that it is of vital importance, in time of peace, to make the greatest possible progress in the science itself. Everything should be done to stimulate invention and to encourage the practical use of aircraft of all kinds and of all the equipment and appliances necessary or incidental thereto.

3. It is considered impracticable in time of peace to maintain a large armed air force, but it is considered imperative that we maintain a sufficient nucleus of available personnel, including organized reserves, and of adequate equipment of the most modern type as a foundation upon which to build at the outbreak of war.

4. It is essential that commercial aviation be fostered and encouraged in harmony with the military and naval aviation policies and programs. The development of aviation as a whole will be made with the minimum of expense to the Government through [634] the adoption of a wise and constructive policy for the upbuilding of commercial aviation.

5. The air mail service is an important initial step in the development of civil and commercial aviation. It must be maintained and extended as rapidly as possible, not only to carry the mails but to become a potential war reserve.

6. It is a pressing duty of the Federal Government to regulate air navigation; otherwise independent and conflicting legislation by the various States will be enacted and hamper the development of aviation. For this purpose a bureau of aeronautics should be established in the Department of Commerce.

7. Approved policies with respect to the encouragement and development of commercial aviation should be carried out by the Department of Commerce.

8. The Army Air Service should be continued as a coordinate combatant branch of the Army. Its existing organization should be used in cooperation with the Navy, Post Office, and other governmental agencies in the prompt establishment of national continental airways and in cooperation with the States and municipalities in the establishment of local airdromes, landing fields, and other necessary facilities.

9. The Naval Air Service and the control of naval activities in aeronautics should be centralized in a bureau of aeronautics in the Navy Department.

10. The continuous prosecution of scientific research in aeronautics is now provided for by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, established by law in 1915, and broad questions of policy regarding the coordination of the activities of all governmental agencies concerned with aeronautics should be referred to that committee for consideration and recommendation.

11. The National Committee for Aeronautics should have authority to recommend to the heads of the departments concerned on questions of policy regarding the development of aviation, and to recommend to departmental heads desirable undertakings or developments in the field of aviation. To provide for the more effective discharge of these functions, the chief of the air mail service of the Post Office Department and the chief of the proposed Bureau of Aeronautics in the Department of Commerce should be members of the committee.

12. Under this policy, there would be an Army Air Service under the Secretary of War; a Naval Air Service under the Secretary of the Navy, with its activities centralized in a Bureau of Aeronautics in the Navy Department; an air mail service under the Postmaster General; a bureau of aeronautics for the regulation of air navigation, under the Secretary of Commerce, and for carrying out such policies as may be adopted for the encouragement and upbuilding of civil and commercial aviation; a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics for the continuous prosecution of scientific research in aeronautics, and, in an advisory capacity, the coordination of all aeronautical activities of the Government.

Referring specifically to the detailed questions under the three headings, namely, (1) "Federal regulation of air navigation," (2) "Air routes to cover the whole United States," (3) "Cooperation among the various departments of the Government concerned with aviation," the committee reports as follows:

 

1. FEDERAL REGULATION OF AIR NAVIGATION

 

(a) Federal regulation of air navigation can not be accomplished under existing laws. Smuggling and other illegal uses of aircraft can be prevented in a measure.

(b) It is recommended that a bureau of aeronautics be established in the Department of Commerce. . . for the regulation of air navigation and for carrying out such policies as may be adopted for the encouraging and upbuilding of civil and commercial aviation, and that an estimate of $200,000 be submitted for the fiscal year 1922.

 

[635] 2. AIR ROUTES TO COVER THE WHOLE UNITED STATES

 

(a) The Post Office Department is specifically authorized to establish an air route between New York and San Francisco. There is some question as to whether existing laws permit it to establish other routes.

The Army has no specific authority of law to establish air routes, but has charted seven important mail airways as follows:

1. One route from Augusta, Me., to Camp Lewis, Wash.

2. One from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, Calif.

3. One from Savannah, Ga., to San Diego, Calif.

4. One from Augusta, Me., to Miami, Fla.

5. One from Camp Lewis, Wash., to San Diego, Calif.

6. One from Laredo, Tex., to Fargo, N. Dak.

7. One from Chicago, Ill., to Baton Rouge, La.

(b) In order to enable the Army to carry forward its program of air routes to cover the whole United States, it is recommended that an appropriation of $2,000,000 be made available during a period of two years.

Attention is drawn to "Necessary aerological service and estimate of costs." It is recommended that such portions of the appropriations asked for as are necessary to give aerologial service on the approximately 4,000 miles of air mail routes now in commission be made available, and that the funds to cover additional stations along the national continental air routes to cover the whole United States be made available as fast as the need is indicated by the Army and the Post Office Department.

It is recommended that legislation be enacted which will definitely authorize the Post Office Department to establish air mail routes between Chicago, Minneapolis, and St. Paul, and between Chicago and St. Louis, and such other air mail routes as may be determined by the Postmaster General as the need for them arises, taking full advantage, wherever practicable of existing or contemplated airways.

 

3. COOPERATION AMONG THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT CONCERNED WITH AVIATION

 

(a) Cooperation among the air services of the Army, Navy, and Post Office with Coast and Geodetic Survey, Bureau of Fisheries, Coast Guard, Weather Bureau, Geological Survey, and forest patrol service is being carried on with excellent results. .

It is recommended that the President direct the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics to appoint a subcommittee composed of representatives of the War, Navy, Post Office, and Commerce Departments, and two civilians representing the aircraft industry, who shall survey the engineering and production facilities of the aircraft industry and shall recommend a policy calculated to sustain and develop the industry to meet the needs of the Government.

(b) Attention is drawn to . . . forest fire patrol . . . . It is recommended that the funds ($217,151) and personnel asked for be made available for the purpose specified.

In summing up this report, permit me to emphasize the immediate need of legislation to provide for-

First. A naval air service under the Secretary of the Navy, with its activities centralized in a bureau of aeronautics in the Navy Department.

Second. A bureau of aeronautics under the Secretary of Commerce for the regulation of air navigation and the encouragement and upbuilding of civil and commercial aviation.

Third. The development of a system of national continental air routes to cover the whole United States and to include the meteorological service essential thereto.

Fourth. The extension of the air mail service.

[636] Fifth. Making the chief of the air mail service and the chief of the proposed bureau of aeronautics of the Department of Commerce members of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

 

Respectfully submitted,
 
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS,
C. D. WALCOTT, Chairman.

 


20. "Report of Proceedings of Second General Conference between Representatives of Aircraft Manufacturers and Operators and National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," held at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory on 24 May 1927, undated.

 

[The annual industry conferences at Langley Laboratory showed off the Committee's work, brought Langley staff members into contact with colleagues from whom they were otherwise isolated, and gave the aeronautical community an opportunity to propose research to the NACA. The problems of cowling, streamlining, and low-speed maneuverability raised at this conference all became major NACA research projects.]

The second general conference between representatives of aircraft manufacturers and operators and of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was held on Tuesday, May 24, 1927, at the Committee's research laboratory, known as the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, located at Langley Field, Virginia. This conference was attended by representatives of aeronautical trade journals and of educational institutions engaged in the teaching of aeronautical engineering, in addition to the representatives of the industry. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was represented by its Subcommittees on Aerodynamics and Materials for Aircraft and members of its laboratory staff.

The members of the subcommittees and most of the invited guests journeyed by boat from Washington to Old Point Comfort and were conveyed to Langley Field by automobile, while others of the party flew direct to Langley Field and some proceeded by train.

The Washington steamer arrived at Old Point at 6:45 am. Breakfast was served at the Sherwood Inn at 7:00 am. At 8:00 am., the party left Old Point in Army automobiles and arrived at the Officers' Club at Langley Field, at 8:25 am.

 

OPENING SESSION

 

The opening session was held at 8:30 am in the Officers' Club at Langley Field, Virginia. Dr. Joseph S. Ames, Chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, acted as Chairman of the conference. A list of those present is appended.

Doctor Ames stated that the conference has been called by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics upon action of the Executive Committee, and that the primary purpose was to secure a discussion of problems involved in the design and construction of aircraft, with special emphasis upon the problems growing out of the needs of commercial aviation, with a view to the incorporation of such problems into the research programs of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics for the ensuing year. Before going into the problems, however, the Chairman stated that he would like to introduce Colonel C. C. Culver, Commanding Officer at Langley Field, to whom the Committee felt very much indebted for his interest and cooperation.

Colonel Culver welcomed the guests, saying that not only the research laboratories but the military authorities at Langley Field felt honored by their presence. . .

The Chairman thanked Colonel Culver for his warm welcome and interesting address. He stated that a great deal of the success of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical [637] Laboratory depended on the cooperation of the Commanding Officer at Langley Field, and that Colonel Culver had done everything possible in this respect, because of his knowledge and appreciation of the Committee's work.

The Chairman said that before the members of the conference visited the various laboratories he wished them to understand clearly the character and scope of the Committee's activities and the facilities and methods employed.

The Chairman then introduced Mr. H. J. E. Reid, Engineer-in-Charge of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Mr. Reid welcomed those attending the conference and said that he was glad of the opportunity of meeting the representatives of the aircraft industry and obtaining from them suggestions as to what further work the Committee could do that would be of assistance to the manufacturers in their work. He announced that after the heads of sections had spoken, an inspection of the laboratories would be made in three groups, to be known as the red, white, and green groups according to the color of tags issued to members of the conference at the time of registration. He stated that those with red tags would be under the direction of Mr. Lewis, those with white tags would be under the direction of Mr. Truscott, and those with green tags would be under the direction of Mr. H. J. E. Reid.

Mr. Reid, Engineer-in-Charge, then introduced Mr. Elliott G. Reid, the engineer in charge of the atmospheric wind tunnel.

Mr. F. G. Reid stated that during the past year his section had been studying three major problems, which consisted of a series of pressure distribution tests on models of wings of the Boeing PW-9, an investigation of spinning in general with particular reference to the rather new problem of flat spinning, or autorotation, and an investigation of airfoil characteristics as affected by control of the boundary layer flow. In the course of his remarks, Mr. E. G. Reid displayed a series of charts relating to the various items. These included charts showing the pressure distribution over the upper and lower wings of the PW-9, a chart showing the autorotational characteristics of different wings and wing sections, and charts showing the effect on the air flow around a wing of sucking in air and discharging air, respectively, through slots in the wing surface.

Mr. George J. Higgins, the engineer in charge of the variable-density wind tunnel, was next introduced and he gave a brief outline of the work being done in that wind tunnel. He stated that tests had been made on British models with three different wing sections and the results correlated with those that had been obtained in England by tests of the same models in an atmospheric tunnel and with a full-sized airplane in flight. He said that tests had also been made on an airship model with different fineness ratios. He exhibited charts showing the effect of "scale" on the R.A.F. 15, 19, and 30 airfoils, and the effect of scale on the drag coefficient of a model of an airship.

Mr. Reid then introduced Mr. Elton W. Miller, the engineer in charge of the Propeller Research Equipment.

Mr. Miller described the Propeller Research Equipment as a large wind tunnel of the Eiffel type, in which a full-sized airplane fuselage may be mounted. He said the purpose is to test full-sized propellers under flight conditions and measure the forces. He stated that the air velocity is 100 miles an hour at the throat and decreases to about 12 miles an hour at the opening to the entrance cone. He exhibited diagrammatic charts of the Propeller Research Equipment and added that it would be operated for the first time to-day.

Mr. George L. Dawson, the engineer in charge of the Instrument Section, was next introduced and stated that the work undertaken by that section consisted mainly of the development of special instruments to be used by the Aerodynamics and Power Plant Divisions in their various investigations. He showed on various charts the optical system used on many of the N.A.C.A. instruments and the principles of the accelerom-eter and of the pressure-measuring instruments.

[638] Mr. John W. Crowley, Jr., the engineer in charge of the Flight Research Section, described the pressure distribution tests that had been conducted during the past year. He said that there was in progress at the present time an investigation of pressure distribution over the wing and tail surfaces of the PW-9 airplane, the pressure being measured at 250 points over the whole airplane. By charts he showed the accelerations obtained at the center of gravity, the wing tip, and at the tail of a PW-9 Boeing pursuit airplane in a "pull-up"; the pressure distribution on the wings of the PW-9 airplane; and the pressure distribution on the hull and tail surface of the U.S.S. Los Angeles.

Mr. Reid then introduced Mr. Thomas Carroll, Chief Test Pilot of the Committee, who is in charge of the Flight Operations Section.

Mr. Carroll gave a brief outline of the work that has been done by the Flight Operations Section during the past year. He said that an investigation had been conducted on the characteristics of airplanes and seaplanes in taking off and landing and also that a study of ground effect had been made.

Mr. Marsden Ware, the engineer in charge of the supercharger development at Langley Field, was next introduced.

Mr. Ware described the N.A.C.A. Roots supercharger and stated that, while it is similar in principle to the Roots supercharger that has been used commercially, it differs in many important respects. He then brought out the points wherein the two types differed, and exhibited charts showing the characteristics of the supercharger and the effects obtained by fitting it to airplane engines.

Mr. W. F. Joachim, the engineer in charge of fuel-injection research, was then introduced and stated that the National Advisory Committee, realizing the importance of the development of aircraft in general and especially the importance of increasing the safety from fire hazard, and also increasing the distance of flight, undertook the study and development of the high-speed oil engine for aircraft in 1920. Since that time considerable progress has been made in the development of this engine and Mr. Joachim outlined briefly the investigations that had been carried on. He further stated that it took four years to perfect the Committee's present spray photography equipment with which high-speed moving pictures are taken of oil sprays at rates up to 4,000 pictures per second.

Mr. Reid then requested all those who had not registered please to do so.

The Chairman announced that Mr. Reid would like to have the names of all those who intended to return by the Cape Charles route, so that reservations could be made. He further added that Mr. Reid had several announcements he wished to make.

Mr. Reid stated that at 4:00 p.m. there was to be a demonstration in the hangar of the Katzmayr effect as applied to a TS airplane and also a flight of a Vought airplane with a cut-out center section. He said that transportation would be furnished by Army cars and by members of the laboratory staff. Mr. Reid invited attention to the programs which had been distributed and asked the cooperation of all in adhering to the schedule.

The members of the conference then stepped outside the Officers' Club and posed for a group photograph, after which they divided into three groups and proceeded on a tour of inspection of the Committee's laboratories, in accordance with the following schedule:

 

.

Red

White

Green

.

Arrive:

Atmospheric Wind Tunnel

1 9:45

4 11:20

2 10:25

Variable Density Tunnel

2 10:02

5 11:37

3 10:42

Instruments Section

3 10:20

1 9:45

4 11:00

[639] Power Plant Laboratory

4 10:45

2 10:10

5 11:25

Flight Research Airplanes

5 11:20

3 10:45

1 9:50

Propeller Research Equipment

6 11:55

6 11:55

6 11:55

At 12:30 the members of the conference reassembled in the Officers' Club for a buffet luncheon.

 

JOINT CONFERENCE

 

At 1:30 p.m. the conference reconvened in the Officers' Club with Dr. Ames presiding as Chairman.

The Chairman stated that, before beginning the formal proceedings for the afternoon, he would like to announce that Mr. Lewis had telephoned to the Washington office of the Committee to get the latest news in regard to the Italian officer, de Pinedo, who was flying from New York to the Azores, and that the latest word received was that he had been picked up near the Azores. This report was unconfirmed but the press regarded it as authentic.

The Chairman then stated the object of the joint conference, his remarks being substantially as follows:

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics called the meeting primarily for its own benefit, as it is the duty of the Committee to furnish advice to everyone interested in aeronautics and to determine by scientific experiments the information on which this advice is based.
 
The primary purpose of the conference is to secure a discussion of problems involved in the design and construction of aircraft, with special emphasis upon the problems growing out of the needs of commercial aviation, with a view to the incorporation of such problems into the research programs of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics for the ensuing year.
 
In the past, efforts of the Committee have been concentrated mainly on problems which have arisen in the military services, but, owing to the passage of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 and the consequent growth of commercial aviation, it seems desirable for the Committee to consider also problems relating particularly to civil and commercial aviation. The Committee, therefore, is anxious to have brought to its attention the problems growing out of commercial aviation which its laboratories are equipped to study.
 
Having visited the laboratories of the Committee and having met the members of its technical staff, those attending this conference probably have in their minds a picture as to what the Committee can do. The Committee stands ready to do anything it can. It is not interested in problems relating to any one particular type of aircraft, it is interested in fundamental problems; but there is no fundamental problem which does not have a practical bearing. The Committee would welcome any suggestions which would guide it in the problems to be undertaken.

The Chairman then stated that he thought it best to call upon a few men individually, because he believed they would be able to start a discussion and to offer suggestions which would be helpful. He first called upon Mr. Frank H. Russell, who represented the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Russell stated that the problems of commercial aviation, and the building of airplanes particularly, as distinguished from the problems of military aviation, were coming before the manufacturers of this country with increasing force, and that Doctor Ames's remark that the Committee is ready to assist the industry along this line came [640] as a very welcome one. Mr. Russell said that after an inspection of the laboratories of the Committee he thought the growth over last year was almost phenomenal. He said no one could spend a day at Langley Field and see the work that was being done, meet the engineers, and see the wonderful equipment without going away inspired and enthused.

The Chairmen then called upon Honorable E. P. Warner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Aeronautics.

Mr. Warner stated that so far as the relation of the services to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics is concerned, he was reminded of a wonder that had often crossed his mind as to how human beings ever existed without electric lights, automobiles, and other conveniences that are now accepted so much as a matter of course. He said it seemed now, after seven or eight years of intensive aeronautical research at Langley Field and elsewhere, difficult to conceive how any use of the airplane or any branch of aeronautical operation or aeronautical engineering could have got along without that research, and obviously difficult to conceive how much poorer would have been our knowledge of the data upon which the progress of aeronautical engineering rests had there been no National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and no laboratory at Langley Field. He stated that it was well known that the Army and Navy have been receiving constant assistance from the National Advisory Committee and that the services had learned to lean upon the Committee. He added that the services have from time to time been able to give assistance by furnishing equipment on loan. Mr. Warner said that, speaking to some degree on behalf of the services, he could say that the services recognized their interest in the development of commercial aviation, in the strengthening of the industry by the expansion of its commercial market; and as a very important means to the consequent strengthening of the industry, the Navy would be glad to do everything in its power to assist the National Advisory Committee in any work that might appear likely to be useful to that end.

Mr. Warner than stated that, speaking as an individual engineer, who like all the other members of the conference had been interested in visiting the laboratories of the National Advisory Committee, there was one suggestion he would like to renew from last year's meeting. He said at that time the Air Mail routes were just getting under way and that the future of commercial aviation seemed rather uncertain, but that now after an additional year of experience it was quite clear that the carriage of passengers was going to become important as well as the carriage of mail, and he thought a study should be made of some of the factors that bear on the comfort and convenience of the passengers of the airplane, and especially on the question of noise and the means of eliminating those sounds which produce unpleasant effects upon the ears of the occupants of the cabin.

The Chairman then called upon Admiral H. I. Cone, Vice President and Treasurer of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics.

Admiral Cone stated that, judging from his long experience as an engineer, he believed that there had never been in the history of engineering any branch that depended more on laboratory work, and on the fundamentals of mathematics, physics, and other sciences, than aeronautics. He said that we in this country were particularly fortunate in having available the laboratories of the National Advisory Committee.

He said that members of the industry and all who are interested in commercial aviation could congratulate themselves that there is a body of distinguished scientists, physicists, mathematicians, and engineers like the members of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics who give their time and attention to helping in the solution of the problems of aeronautics.

He said that the Guggenheim Fund was anxious to assist in every way possible and was looking for ways to aid in the development of aeronautics. He said he wished to [641] report that when the Guggenheim Fund was first organized, and had no definite ideas as to how to accomplish its purpose, it had been helped more by the National Advisory Committee, and especially by Dr. Lewis, than he could say.

Admiral Cone said that there was probably no one who knew more the difficulties of carrying on the work of an establishment like these laboratories than he himself. He said that such an establishment is hampered at every turn, no matter how eager it may be to respond to requests, by regulations of all kinds, by "red tape" with reference to the expenditure of funds, etc., and that everyone, in dealing with the Committee, should bear this in mind and be patient, being ready to assist in every way, as well as demand of the Committee.

Admiral Cone thanked the Chairman for the privilege of speaking.

The Chairman called upon Mr. T. P. Wright, Chief Engineer of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, stating that last year Mr. Wright had given the conference helpful suggestions.

Mr. Wright said that, in connection with the preparation of the rules for the safety competition recently instituted by the Guggenheim Fund, a great deal of study was given to the factors that went into the safety of the airplane and it was found that one of the important requirements was that the airplane must have controllability at low speeds. He suggested that this is the feature along the line of safety which calls for more attention on the part of the Advisory Committee than any other. He pointed out that the Committee is working on this problem in connection with the investigation of slotted wings, and he hoped this would lead to greater knowledge of the effect of slots and of combination of slots with aileron action, which would lead to greater improvement than can be realized now. He added that he hoped the study of controllability at low speeds and at high angles of attack, and the control of the burbling of the wing, would be carried as far as practicable in the next year or two.

The Chairman said that at last year's conference a question was asked by Mr. Charles Ward Hall, of Charles Ward Hall, Incorporated, which led to an investigation taken up by the Committee. He called upon Mr. Hall for further suggestions.

Mr. Hall expressed the opinion that there was one element of investigation which has not been carried as far as it might be, namely, the study of the effect of minute protuberances here and there on an otherwise faired streamline body. He said that such information was important in connection with the use of radial engines.

The Chairman remarked that, in the testing of models in the variable-density tunnel, it is essential to reproduce on the model every point on the full-sized airplane. He said that in an atmospheric wind tunnel such detail is not necessary, but in variable-density, to get results free from the scale effect, it was necessary to use models accurate in every detail.

The Chairman said that the question of sound was a very difficult one, and it was hoped to obtain some information along this line from the operation of the Propeller Research Equipment.

The Chairman said he would now call upon a man who had particular reason to be proud of the product of his factory, Mr. Charles W. Lawrance, President of the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, which built the engine used in the airplane in which Mr. Lindbergh recently crossed the Atlantic.

Mr. Lawrance said he would like to enlarge a little on Mr. Hall's remarks. He said that the question of the cowling of air-cooled engines was one about which very little is known, as can be seen from examination of different kinds of airplanes. He described two entirely different conditions of cowling, and pointed out that no definite knowledge was available of the resistance conditions in the two cases. He said it would be very valuable if in the new large sized tunnel an engine could be equipped with various kinds of cowling and experiments conducted on the effects of the different types.

[642] The Chairman said that the remark had been made that two or three wind tunnels like the Propeller Research Equipment were needed on account of the large number of problems which needed to be solved in such a tunnel. He said that the question of the cowling of the air-cooled engine was one of the first which the Committee had resolved to take up with the new equipment.

The Chairman then called upon Mr. S. M. Fairchild, President of the Fairchild Aviation Corporation.

Mr. Fairchild said that he had made many contacts at this conference, and suggested that it might have been well to have the conference two days. He said that the problem in which he was particularly interested was the use of low-speed propellers and that so far it has not been possible to get very accurate data along this line from flight tests. He pointed out that the new propeller-research equipment would be most valuable in this connection, as tests may be carried on which take into consideration the effects of the fuselage and other factors which are apparently very hard to calculate.

Mr. Fairchild also pointed out the desirability of a study of the resistance of cylinder heads sticking out of the various forms of cowling.

The Chairman next called upon Dr. Karl Arnstein, of the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation.

Dr. Arnstein said that those interested in lighter-than-air development had reason to be very grateful to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics for the wind tunnel tests of airship models in the high-pressure wind tunnel. He said that the new balance was a marvelous achievement, and would insure greater accuracy. He said that another important development by the Committee was the work being done toward the solution of the high-speed oil engine and remarked that it was unnecessary to say that the development of the oil engine would increase the safety and economy of airship operation.

He said he was greatly impressed by the Propeller Research Equipment and hoped airship tests would be conducted in it with full-sized airship cars.

The Chairman said he would call on the representative of the company responsible for the development of a great deal of aircraft material in this country, Mr. S. K. Colby, a representative of the Aluminum Company of America and president of the American Magnesium Corporation.

Mr. Colby said that the question in which he was particularly interested was that of materials, and that the display he had witnessed that morning was one that he could not completely comprehend. He was impressed particularly with the scope of the laboratory, with the wind tunnel and flight research carried on. He said that if there were two or three such laboratories the answers to the questions of commercial aviation would come a great deal sooner.

He said that the particular detail in which he was interested was magnesium. He said it had been thought the development of this metal would grow rapidly, but it had not grown as rapidly as was expected; that the difficulties would be solved, but had not been solved yet.

The Chairman said that he had called upon a number of the people present whom he happened to know personally and who knew something about the Committee. He then requested that others in the conference suggest fundamental problems for investigation by the Committee.

Mr. R. W. A. Brewer of Pitcairn Aviation, Incorporated, said he was interested in the question Professor Warner had raised, the question of noise, to which he had referred at last year's conference. He said that another thing on which he would like to have information was tied up with the question of cowling, and that was the most suitable way of handling the exhaust in the radial air-cooled engine, whether by ring manifolds, short stacks, or what. He would like to be advised as to some way of [643] handling manifolding not only from the viewpoint of silencing, but of the comfort of the passengers and of the durability of the product itself.

He said he was also interested in the question of materials from which cylinders can be made, and he believed the development of an improved method of cylinder construction would be a great advance in the commercial air-cooled engine at the present time.

Mr. R. H. Upson, of the Aircraft Development Corporation, referred to the great dependence of lighter-than-air design at the present time upon the Committee's laboratories at Langley Field. He said that the problem of scale effect, which is a serious one even with heavier-than-air craft, becomes a very dominant problem with lighter-than-air craft, on account of the fact that not only are the scale differences actually so much greater but also the types of full-sized lighter-than-air craft are of such a delicate character that they seem to be peculiarly sensitive to changes in scale. He pointed out that the National Advisory Committee had the only two tunnels in this country, if not in the world, which are suited to the solution of the difficulty of scale effect, particularly with reference to lighter-than-air craft, and that the problems of airship resistance can be studied nowhere else as thoroughly as in either the high-pressure tunnel or the new large tunnel. He said that there were countless problems which might be studied with very good advantage, including the shape, form, and disposition of tail surfaces, and that the investigation of varying fitness ratios had already been started. He said that a thorough study of this problem involves study not only of the various curves for various fineness ratios but of the variations in the curve of results for the same fineness ratio.

The Chairman stated that the British Aeronautical Research Committee has been studying the problem of a suitable design for a wind tunnel similar to this Committee's variable-density tunnel, and had sent to this Committee confidential reports prepared by British scientists on the merits and demerits of our tunnel. He said that the British were skeptical of our tunnel because they were convinced that the character of flow in our tunnel was turbulent, and that a tunnel of the Eiffel type was preferable. The Chairman pointed out, however, that the results obtained by the Committee on models tested in the variable-density wind tunnel checked closely with actual flight tests made in England on full-sized airplanes of the same type, whereas these two sets of results were at variance with the results of tests in the wind tunnel of the National Physical Laboratory on the same models as were tested in the variable-density wind tunnel.

The Chairman further stated that the National Advisory Committee has in mind its responsibility with reference to investigations on lighter-than-air craft.

Dr. Zay Jeffries, of the Aluminum Company of America, pointed out that perhaps the only field in aeronautics in which all aircraft people are interested is that of aerial navigation, which involves the questions of suitable landing facilities, and flight in fogs, snowstorms, bad winds, and other conditions of bad weather. He said that anything the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics could contribute in this field would be applicable to the whole aircraft industry and would probably hasten the development of commercial aviation. He suggested that someone outline for the conference the status of aerial navigation in bad weather.

The Chairman called upon Dr. L. J. Briggs, of the Bureau of Standards.

Dr. Briggs stated that the experience of the Bureau of Standards had been entirely in the laboratory, in the development of instruments, which, when developed, never meet the full requirements of the flyer. He said he thought it would be much more to the point if someone who had spent long hours in the air under the conditions referred to would recount his experiences, and suggested that Lieutenant Shoemaker be called upon.

Lieutenant Shoemaker said that his experience was limited to operations with the battle fleet in West Indian waters this winter, involving flights of 700 or 800 miles. He [644] said it had been found necessary to abandon the wind-driven earth-inductor compass because it was not dependable, and that an excellent British aperiodic compass had been substituted, which gave magnetic north at all times and was not affected by the turning of the airplane.

Referring to Mr. Lindbergh's New York-to-Paris flight, Lieutenant Shoemaker said he did not understand how he had done it. He described the drift-indicating device used by the round-the-world flyers, and said that in his own experience in seaplane flying he had found that, knowing the force of the wind when he took off and judging its direction from the streaks he could see in the water, he could set his course to allow for the drift. He said that the electrically driven earth-inductor compass and the aperiodic compass were the best instruments now in use to indicate direction, and stated that Mr. M. M. Titterington, of the Pioneer Instrument Company, was thoroughly familiar with these instruments, and also knew what navigation instruments were used by Lindbergh in his flight.

Mr. Titterington said that the problem of air navigation was a very difficult one. He said that it would be possible to fly entirely blind as long as a couple of stars or the sun can be seen, and the fact that long flights have been carried out would seem to show that even with the present equipment this can be done. He said that the problem of taking off and landing in fogs was important.

The Chairman inquired whether any instrument had yet been developed to indicate actual height above the ground as distinct from the indication of pressure of the atmosphere. Mr. Titterington replied that there was promising development along this line, and it was felt that the problem would eventually be solved.

In answer to inquiry as to the instrument equipment carried by Lindbergh, Mr. Titterington said that his instruments were those ordinarily carried by the pilot, and included two small magnetic compasses of the ordinary type, an earth-inductor compass, and a drift indicator, as well as a turn and bank indicator, air-speed indicator, tachometer, and engine instruments of the standard types. He said that Lindbergh had all the instruments that he could readily use, but had no way of reading his position by astronomical observations.

The Chairman remarked that when Alcock and Brown made their transatlantic flight in 1919, he had asked Commander Richardson how they had succeeded in reaching Ireland, and the Commander had replied that they "hit Ireland by the grace of God."

Mr. Fairchild remarked that he had been told when he was in Europe last summer that the British are using an automatic rudder control for directional flying, and that the results obtained were very accurate. He asked whether any information was available on this instrument.

On inquiry of the Chairman, Mr. Lewis said that the Committee had no informa-tion regarding this instrument.

Major Leslie MacDill, U.S.A., of the Materiel Division of the Air Corps, after apologizing for introducing the matter at this meeting, called attention to the question of standardization of Army and Navy requirements for aircraft materiel. He said that letters were being sent to the manufacturers asking them what differences between the Army and the Navy requirements caused them difficulty, and which they preferred, and why. He appealed to everyone to give this letter careful consideration and to go into the matter in as much detail as possible, prior to the standardization conference to be held at McCook Field within the next few months.

At this point the Chairman stated that he would turn over the meeting to Dr. George K. Burgess, Chairman of the Committee on Materials for Aircraft of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, for a public session of the Materials Committee.

 

[645] PUBLIC SESSION, COMMITTEE ON MATERIALS FOR AIRCRAFT

 

The Committee on Materials for Aircraft then met in joint session with the other members of the conference, Dr. Burgess presiding.

Dr. Burgess announced that the main feature of the meeting would be the presentation of a paper by Dr. E. H. Dix, Jr., of the Aluminum Company of America, on "'Aiclad,' a New Corrosion-Resistant Aluminum Product," but that prior to the presentation of this paper there were one or two items of routine business of the Materials Committee to be taken up. After these were disposed of, Dr. Burgess made a brief statement regarding the importance to aeronautics of the light alloys of aluminum, the chief points he brought out being as follows:

Aluminum alloys, and especially duralumin, have been studied for a number of years, and attempts have been made to develop an alloy better than duralumin, but have been unsuccessful. The chief difficulty in the use of duralumin is the intercrystalline embrittlement of the material, and there are two problems involved in the study of this embrittlement, namely, that of determining and eliminating the cause of the embrittlement, and that of interposing a protecting layer of material between the duralumin and the atmosphere. In connection with the study of these problems, the cooperation of the producing companies with the government organizations interested has been excellent in all respects. The Aluminum Company has developed an arrangement of metal which is called "Alclad," and which Dr. Dix will describe to the conference.

Dr. Burgess then introduced Dr. Dix.

Dr. Dix presented a detailed discussion of the new product. He said that while, in comparison with steel, aluminum offered high resistance to corrosion, nevertheless the strong alloys, when used in thin sections, required some protection, especially if exposed to mist or salt air. He stated that for the past four years the research laboratories of the Aluminum Company of America had been studying resistance to corrosion, and had developed this new product which consists of a core of 17ST alloy (duralumin) with a surface of pure aluminum.

Dr. Dix exhibited a number of lantern slides showing the internal structure of this material, and submitted a number of samples, which were examined by the members of the conference at the close of the meeting.

Dr. Burgess asked Dr. Jeffries to comment on Dr. Dix's paper.

Dr. Jeffries said it might be interesting to know that the coating of pure aluminum on the surface of the duralumin entailed a slight loss of tensile strength, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 pounds per square inch, but it was possible that with further study of the material this could be regained. He said that it was not possible as yet to state definitely what could be expected from this material from the point of view of protection from corrosion. He stated that the Aluminum Company was making every effort to develop this product as a material to be desired by the aircraft industry.

Dr. H. W. Gillett, of the Bureau of Standards, said that from tests at the Bureau of Standards it had been found that pure aluminum was especially resistant to the intercrystalline type of corrosion, and it was expected that tests of the new product at the Bureau would corroborate the belief as to its high resistance to corrosion.

Lieutenant R. S. Barnaby, U.S.N., of the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, raised the question of the protection of rivets used with the new material. Dr. Dix replied that from tests made by the Aluminum Company it seemed certain that the pure metal would form an electrolytic protection for the rivets.

Dr. Burgess stated that the Committee on Materials for Aircraft was organized with four subcommittees, namely: Metals; Woods and Glues; Coverings, Dopes, and Protective Coatings; and Aircraft Structures. He asked whether any members of the conference had any suggestions to offer relating to the work of these subcommittees.

[646] Mr. B. C. Roulton, Chief Engineer of the Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corporation, said that one thing in which his company was interested, and on which the Army and Navy were not in complete accord, was the question of zinc plating for certain types of tubular structures. He said that there were certain airplane parts which the plating process could not reach but which were subjected to the acid, and he believed it was injurious to attempt to zinc-plate such fittings or parts. He said there was controversy between the Army and the Navy on this point, and he thought the matter would be a suitable subject for further investigation.

Dr. Burgess replied to Mr. Boulton that the Committee would be glad to keep his suggestion in mind.

As there were no further suggestions, Dr. Burgess thanked the members of the conference for their attendance at the meeting of the Materials Committee, and the meeting adjourned.

Following the meeting, the members of the conference made a further inspection of various activities of the laboratory which were of particular interest to them. Demon-strations of the effect of blowing air through transverse slits in the wing, known as the Katzmayr effect, and of a wing with the front portion cut away and equipped with flaps, for improvement in visibility, were conducted at the Committee's hangar and in the air and were witnessed by many members of the conference.

The following were present at the conference:

Members of Subcommittee on Aerodynamics:

Dr. Joseph S. Ames, Johns Hopkins University, Chairman
Dr. L. J. Briggs, Bureau of Standards
Lieutenant W. S. Diehl, U.S.N.
Professor Alexander Klemin, Department of Commerce
Mr. G. W. Lewis, Director of Aeronautical Research, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
Major Leslie MacDill, U.S.A.
Professor Charles F. Marvin, U.S. Weather Bureau
Captain H. C. Richardson, U.S.N.
Honorable Edward P. Warner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Aeronautics

 

Members of Subcommittee on Materials for Aircraft:

Dr. George K. Burgess, Bureau of Standards, Chairman
Professor H. L. Whittemore, Bureau of Standards, Vice Chairman and Acting Secretary
Lieutenant R. S. Barnaby, U.S.N.
Mr. S. K. Colby, American Magnesium Corporation
Dr. H. W. Gillett, Bureau of Standards
Dr. Zay Jeffries, Aluminum Company of America
Mr. J. B. Johnson, Materiel Division, Army Air Corps
**** Mr. G. W. Lewis, Director of Aeronautical Research, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
**** Captain H. C. Richardson, U.S.N.
Mr. G. W. Trayer, Forest Products Laboratory
**** Honorable Edward P. Warner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Aeronautics

 

Representatives of Manufacturers and Operators:

Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce, New York City:

***** Mr. Charles L. Lawrance, Wright Aeronautical Corporation, Paterson, NJ.
[647] ***** Mr. F. H. Russell, Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, Garden City, N.Y.
***** Mr. S. M. Fairchild, Fairchild Aviation Corporation, New York City
Aircraft Development Corporation, Detroit, Mich.: Mr. R. H. Upson
Allison Engineering Company, Indianapolis, Ind.: Mr. J. S. Bray
Aluminum Company of America, New Kensington, Pa.:
Mr. R. V. Davies
Dr. E. H. Dix, Jr.
Auto Engine Works, St. Paul, Minnesota: Mr. J. D. Mooney
Henry Berliner Company, College Park, Maryland: Mr. Henry Berliner
Boeing Airplane Company, Seattle, Washington: Mr. E. S. Campbell
Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, Garden City, New York:
Mr. F. H. Russell
Mr. T. P. Wright
Mr. W. H. Miller
Mr. T. N. Joyce
Mr. M. B. Bleecker
Fairchild Airplane's Manufacturing Corporation, New York City: Mr. S. M. Fairchild
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Incorporated, Akron, Ohio:
Dr. Karl Arnstein
Dr. Wolfgang Klemperer
Charles Ward Hall, Incorporated, New York City: Mr. Charles Ward Hall
Keystone Aircraft Corporation, Bristol, Pa.: Mr. C. T. Porter
Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corporation, New York City: Mr. B. C. Boulton
Glenn L. Martin Company, Cleveland, Ohio:
Mr. C. A. Van Dusen
Mr. L. C. Milburn
Paragon Engineers, Incorporated, Baltimore, Md.: Mr. Spencer Heath
Pioneer Instrument Company, Brooklyn, New York: Mr. M. M. Titterington
Pitcairn Aviation, Incorporated, Philadelphia: Mr. R. W. A. Brewer
Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, Hartford, Conn.: Mr. William G. Chamberlain
R. W. Schroeder, Glencoe, Illinois:
Mr. R. W. Schroeder
Mr. John Wentworth
Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation, Ithaca, N.Y.: Mr. Raymond Ware
Chance Vought Corporation, Long Island City, N.Y.:
Mr. C. J. McCarthy
Mr. Michael Watter
Wright Aeronautical Corporation, Paterson, N.J.: Mr. Charles L. Lawrance

Representatives of Aeronautical Journals and Educational Institutions:

Aviation, New York City: Mr. W. L. LePage
U.S. Air Services, Washington, D.C.: Mr. Earl N. Findley
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Mr. Edward A. Stalker

Additional Guests:

Lieutenant Colonel C. C. Culver, U.S.A.. Commanding Officer, Langley Field, Va.
Admiral H. I. Cone, The Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics
Captain Emory S. Land, U.S.N.
Dr. F. L. Browne, Forest Products Laboratory
Dr. H. L. Dryden, Bureau of Standards
Commander E. L. Gayhart, U.S.N., Washington Navy Yard
[648] Lieutenant Lloyd Harrison, U.S.N., Bureau of Aeronautics Mr. T. H. Huff
Mr. F. H. Norton, Cambridge, Mass.
Commander E. M. Pace, U.S.N., Bureau of Aeronautics
Mr. H. S. Rawdon, Bureau of Standards
Lieutenant Commander D. Royce, U.S.N., Bureau of Aeronautics
Lieutenant J. M. Shoemaker, U.S.N., Bureau of Aeronautics
Mr. R. H. Smith, Washington Navy Yard
Dr. L. B. Tuckerman, Bureau of Standards
Mr. J. F. Victory, Assistant Secretary of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics

 

Members of Committee's Staff

Mr. Thomas Carroll, Chief Test Pilot
Mr. Donald G. Coleman
Mr. John W. Crowley, Jr., head of Flight Research Section
Mr. George L. Dawson, head of Instrument Section
Mr. Smith J. DeFrance
Mr. George J. Higgins, head of Variable-Density Wind Tunnel
Mr. Eastman N. Jacobs
Mr. William F. Joachim, head of Fuel-Injection Engine Development
Mr. Elton W. Miller, head of Propeller Research Section
Mr. William C. Morgan
Mr. Elliott G. Reid, head of Atmospheric Wind Tunnel
Mr. Henry J. E. Reid, Engineer-in-Charge
Mr. Walter H. Reiser
Mr. Oscar W. Schey
Mr. Edward R. Sharp, Chief Clerk of Laboratory
Mr. Marsden Ware, head of Power Plants Division
Mr. F. E. Weick

 


21. Memorandum, George W. Lewis to General [Herbert M. I Lord, director of the Bureau of the Budget, "Some Accomplishments of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," 13 Sept. 1928.

 

[The NACA always had to justify its activities to laymen in Congress and the executive branch who were unfamiliar with the technology of flight. In this memorandum to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, George Lewis characteristically emphasized the practical applications of NACA research and the expected savings to the military services and the American aviation industry.]

 

The activities of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics have been concentrated on solving those problems that will increase the safety and reduce the cost of construction and operation of aircraft. The major emphasis has been placed on those fundamental problems dealing with these two important subjects. However, the Committee has been mindful of the immediate requirements of the Army and Navy and those interested in the manufacture and operation of purely commercial type aircraft. In the past and at present the major portion of the Committee's activities has been in connection with requirements of the Army and Navy to solve immediate problems that will make for safer and more reliable aircraft for military purposes.

To be of maximum service to the industry, the Committee each year calls a conference of the manufacturers and operators of commercial type aircraft, and at this conference the representatives of the industry are invited to present those problems [649] the solution of which, from their experience, will reduce the number of accidents and further reduce the cost of construction and operation of commercial type aircraft.

Aerodynamic Loads on Airplanes. In the development of military aircraft one of the outstanding contributions made by the Committee has been the determination of the aerodynamic loads to which the aircraft is subjected in military maneuvers. The Committee has determined, by the aid of specially designed instruments which exist nowhere else in the world, the actual loads to which the wings, the control surfaces, and other portions of the airplane are subjected in military maneuvers. The information thus obtained has made possible the safe structural design of military aircraft operating at speeds up to 250 miles per hour. The safety factors on which military types of aircraft are now constructed are based on the results obtained in free flight tests, showing the actual measurement of the air loads on the wings and tail surfaces of the airplane.

Aerodynamic Loads on Airships. In connection with the development of airships in the United States, the Committee has been called upon to investigate the air loads on the airship hull and the controls of the U.S.S. Los Angeles. This was a gigantic undertaking, involving the construction of new types of instruments for these measurements. The investigation has been completed and report submitted to the Navy Department, and the design of the two new airships for the Navy is largely based on the fundamental information obtained in the flight tests with the Los Angeles in steady flight and in air conditions such as are encountered in service operation.

Study of Controllability and Maneuverability. Another important contribution made by the Committee has been the development of a series of instruments that measure the controllability and maneuverability of aircraft. These two characteristics are the deter-mining factors that mark a poor or a good type of airplane for military purposes. Prior to the development by the Committee of means and methods for actually measuring the controllability and maneuverability of airplanes, these characteristics were gauged and measured by the impressions of the pilot. Needless to say, these impressions were often misleading, resulting in the purchase of aircraft not suitable for the purpose intended. This contribution of the Committee will make possible the selection of airplanes with the maneuverability and controllability characteristics desired, and will therefore result in the elimination of the loss of money by the purchase of aircraft not suitably maneuverable and controllable.

Spinning Characteristics of Airplanes. As a result of investigations by the Committee on the problem of the spinning of airplanes, information has been obtained which will make it possible to construct airplanes which will not have undesirable spinning characteristics. Airplanes have been purchased in the past which had a spinning characteristic which was not controllable, and resulted in fatal accidents and the destruction of the airplanes. This has been one of the most serious aerodynamic problems presented to the Committee. The solution is not final, but certain factors have been determined which make it possible to design an airplane which will have normal spinning characteristics. The Committee has found that it is necessary that the vertical fin and rudder be of ample size; that it is desirable to have forward stagger; that the center of gravity should be placed forward within a limited range of position; and that the distribution of weights of the airplane parts should be such that the airplane will have a small inertia coefficient.

Loads on Seaplane Floats. In the development of seaplanes and airplanes having seaplane floats, one of the main disadvantages is the weight requirements of the boat. This has largely been due to the fact that aeronautical engineers were in the dark as to the actual loads imposed on the boat in landing on and taking off from the water. The Navy Department requested the Committee to investigate this problem and to actually measure the water pressure on the bottom of the boat in taking off and landing in rough and in smooth water. Here again the investigation required the development of [650] new and unique types of instruments that would be self-recording and would actually measure the water pressures within one-tenth of a pound. This investigation has been completed on two types of seaplanes, not only the maximum pressures imposed being measured, but also the pressures over the entire under surface of the pontoon, and the information obtained will make possible the economical design of the pontoon from the standpoints of weight and cost.

Propellers. The airplane propeller is one of the most important factors in the satisfactory and economical operation of aircraft. A difference in propeller efficiency of two or three per cent means considerable in the performance, fuel consumption, and cost of operation of the aircraft. The Committee has investigated in the propeller research tunnel metal propellers of the adjustable type, and determined the range of blade setting which will give the maximum of performance. The development of the metal adjustable blade attached to the hub of the propeller has been an important factor in reducing the cost of operation of aircraft, as it is now necessary to have only a few designs of blades which are standardized and which can be attached to the same type of hub, and the variation in performance can be obtained by the adjustment of the blades. In making this practical, the Committee has constructed and released information on an instrument for the correct and proper setting of propeller blades in the field. These instruments are now in use in the Army and Navy services.

Problems of Commercial Aeronautics. In mentioning the contributions made by the Committee to commercial type aircraft, I would cite a few examples of problems submitted to the Committee by the industry and the answers that have been obtained to date.

Cooling and Cowling of Air-Cooled Engines. A large proportion of the commercial airplanes now operating and being constructed in the United States use the Wright Whirlwind engine, the engine used by Lindbergh, Chamberlin, and other transoceanic flyers. The one single question in which the aircraft industry as a unit was interested was to know the proper method of cowling and cooling the Wright Whirlwind engine; to know the drag or resistance of this engine so that computations can be made as to the performance of the aircraft.

The Committee has been actively engaged in studying on full-sized airplanes methods of cowling and cooling Wright Whirlwind engines. A program of tests covering eight different methods has been completed, and the Committee has developed a cowling which reduces the resistance of the engine uncowled, at a speed of 125 miles per hour, from 208 pounds to 128 pounds. This means that if the airplane is flying at 125 miles an hour, instead of requiring 200 horse power it will require only 166 horse power. The saving in operation of the thousands of engines of this type in service with the improved method of cooling and cowling will be appreciable. The drag of the J-5 engine was found in the propeller research tunnel to be 85 pounds at a hundred miles an hour.

I feel that it is important to add that, having the equipment of the propeller research tunnel, the Committee is in a position to supply information to the American aircraft industry which cannot be supplied anywhere else in the world. It is the only tunnel in existence where a full-sized airplane fuselage with engine mounted and in operation can be thoroughly investigated. The importance of information of this character in furthering the interests of American aeronautics cannot be overestimated.

Interference Effects between Wing and Fuselage. Another problem in which the manufacturers were greatly interested was the interference effects between the wing and the fuselage and the possible benefit of curving the wing into the fuselage or supplying a fillet at the connection. An investigation of this problem has been made, and the information obtained that a fillet of 6-inch radius or 12-inch radius on an airplane of the design of the "Spirit of St. Louis" would result in definite increase in propeller efficiency and a reduction in the resistance of the airplane.

[651] Development of Wing Sections. As a result of the investigations of the Committee on the characteristics of wing sections, a large number of American aircraft manufacturers are now constructing and operating airplanes using wing sections developed by the Committee. When it is realized that the wing is the most important item in the design of the airplane making for safety and economy, it is gratifying to the Committee to note that these wings have been selected by the manufacturers without any definite or direct recommendations by the Committee.

Oil Engine Development. The Committee, appreciating the importance of the power plant in the successful and economical operation of commercial air transport, has had under investigation an engine using heavy oil and eliminating ignition, carburetor, and other accessories necessary to the operation of an engine using gasoline as fuel. The type of engine being investigated, known as the compression-ignition engine, will use a Diesel engine fuel, costing one-fourth as much as gasoline and operating at a higher efficiency. The fuel consumption of the gasoline engine is approximately .5 pound per horse power per hour. The heavy-oil engine with a higher compression and a greater efficiency will operate at about .38 pound per horse power per hour.

There were many fundamental problems that had to be attacked in bringing about the successful development of an engine of this type, which must necessarily operate at relatively high speeds, that is, above 1500 revolutions per minute. The contributions of the Committee in this field have been such that the Committee is now looked upon as the leader in the development of engines of this character, and the investigation has reached the point where the Government has contracted with the Westinghouse Com-pany and the Allison Engineering Company for engines of this type.

Another important factor in connection with this development is the elimination in a large measure of the fire hazard, because of the low volatility of the fuel used.

The importance of this investigation can be appreciated when it is realized that the commercial aircraft of the future will probably be a large aircraft having thick wing sections, and heavy oil engines using a reduction gear on pusher type propellers. These engines, besides being economical, are reliable, and the use of a reduction gear and pusher type propeller will largely eliminate noise and vibration, which do not make for comfort in commercial aircraft.

Supercharger Development. As the average airplane will operate at altitudes from sea level to 15,000 feet, and as the horse power of the engine varies from full horse power at sea level to one half that horse power at 15,000 feet, owing to the decreased weight of air available at that altitude, the Committee has seen the necessity of developing an auxiliary to the engine known as a supercharger. This equipment consists of a highly efficient light-weight compressor which maintains at the carburetor an air pressure which will provide full sea-level horse power at altitudes up to and above 15,000 feet. An appreciation of this device is realized when one considers that a large number of our landing fields are at altitudes of 5,000 feet or more, and that in operating on our airways aircraft must climb over mountain ranges at altitudes of 10,000 feet or more. To maintain air speed and to provide sufficient safety in taking off and landing at these altitudes it is necessary to retain full engine horse power, and it is probable that in the future the supercharger will be considered an indispensable accessory to the aircraft engine.

The Committee has been of substantial aid to the Navy in the development of this type of equipment, and at present twenty seaplanes attached to the Pacific fleet are fitted with the N.A.C.A. Roots supercharger, which has not only proved valuable in increasing the performance of the aircraft at altitudes, but has also proved highly useful as an aid to catapulting or taking off from the deck of the battleship. Where the supercharger is used, the horse power of the engine is increased at least fifty percent above that at normal sea-level operation.

 
G. W. LEWIS,
Director of Aeronautical Research, Budget Officer.

 


[652] 22. Frank A. Tichenor, "Why the N.A.C.A. ?"Aero Digest (Dec. 1930), 47ff.

 

[The NACA had its share of critics over the years, but none so vocal and explicit as Frank Tichenor. This particular attack-in which the NACA staff saw the hand of its former employee Max Munk-contributed to the Committee's troubles in maintaining congressional support in the early years of the Depression. Although the NACA refused to answer Tichenor in print (in keeping with its policy of avoiding public disputes), the staff took vehement exception to Ticherior's allegations. (See documents 23 and 24.)]

 

WHY THE N.A.C.A.?

By Frank A. Tichenor

 

Here is a matter of such vital importance to the industry that we cannot write of it save with plain words of considerable solemnity. It is a matter to which we respectfully would call the attention of the President. Indeed, we do so explicitly and respectfully, refraining from anything except such a statement as will make facts clear.

In this period of industrial readjustment, particularly in the aviation industry, our thoughts turn to a very important basis of technical enterprise, experimental aeronautical research. A young industry is more dependent on research, and at the same time less able to provide for it, than older and better established industries. Because the Government has been well aware of this situation, nearly all aeronautic research in this country has been financed and carried on by the Federal Government. Foremost in this activity has been the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, for which Congress has provided funds. The N.A.C.A. has obtained from Congress funds for the largest, the most splendidly equipped and the most modern laboratories, and facilities for aeronautic research. To all practical purposes aeronautic research in America means N.A.C.A. research. Our thoughts turn in this hour to this research activity, and with full concern for conditions in the aeronautic industry, we ask ourselves whether the N.A.C.A. has discharged its duty well, whether it has given to the industry the full return to which it is entitled for these appropriations.

How greatly aeronautic progress depends upon research has indeed been fully realized by those in charge of N.A.C.A. work, as is indicated in the annual report of the N.A.C.A. for 1921 (page 5):

"Substantial progress in aeronautical development must be based upon the application to the problems of flight of scientific principles and the results of research."

Research activity of the N.A.C.A. has been going on for more than ten years. The first appropriation for a wind tunnel having been made in 1917, this tunnel was reported to have been completed in 1918. Experts tell us that a year is ample time to build an ordinary small wind tunnel. Nevertheless, although the wind tunnel was completed, it was not then put into operation. In 1919, the tunnel was again reported not yet in operation. Finally, in 1920, the same tunnel originally reported as finished in 1918, was once more reported as finished. The year 1920, therefore, we are entitled to consider as the beginning of research activity, particularly inasmuch as an engine laboratory and free flight test facilities had been announced as completed in 1919.

This fact is important because the results of research cannot be judged from the activity of one day, or one month or even one year. After ten years of uninterrupted activity, however, with continuous liberal financial support, the N.A.C.A. can be judged according to the results derived from its research work and an estimate can be made of what we have a right to expect in the future. Let us, therefore, review these results and ascertain what the N.A.C.A. has achieved.

[653] The standard by which the results of research should be appraised is defined by the N.A.C.A. itself. Repeatedly, its annual reports have stressed scientific research as of paramount importance. For instance, almost all reports close like that of 1927 (page 76): "Further substantial progress is dependent largely upon the continuous prosecution of scientific research," and farther below on the same page, "its (N.A.C.A.'s) work in the fields of pure and applied research on the fundamental problems of flight." The latest report, that for 1929, states (page 87): "The most important active influence upon aeronautics has been the farsighted and constructive policy of the Federal Government, liberally supported by Congress and the President, in providing for the continuous prosecution of organized scientific research." In the 1926 report we find (page 69), "The more fundamental investigations are undertaken by the Committee in its own laboratory," and (page 68), "to conduct investigations of a truly scientific character." (The italics are mine.)

We could easily quote other passages from N.A.C.A. publications to the same effect. The N.A.C.A. is not an aircraft factory; it is not interested in the properties or the development of any particular airplane. More general scientific investigations are its domain. It is charged with the responsibility of furnishing information concerning aeronautics as a science.

Nor do the annual reports of the N.A.C.A. leave any doubt about what is meant by "scientific research." That of 1922 (page 48), defines the term clearly:

"By scientific research is meant the investigation by trained men in a properly equipped laboratory of the fundamental phenomena of nature . . . . All progress depends upon the acquisition of knowledge, of new knowledge. This can be obtained only by long continued investigations directed by men who know the problems and the methods used for their solutions.

Perhaps the best standard by which to judge the results of ten years of N.A.C.A research is in terms of returns for the funds spent. Even with a small appropriation there is no upper limit to what can be obtained in the way of research if that research is directed "by men who know ..." There is, however, a lower limit to what ought to be obtained for a given amount of money. It stands to reason that we can expect more for an expenditure of $2,500 than for one of $250, and more for one of $25,000 than for one of $2,500.

The N.A.C.A. has spent on each of its research items undertaken more than $100,000, and we have a right to count on important results from $100,000 researches. This average expenditure for each problem investigated is computed by dividing the sum of the money spent by the number of problems undertaken. Thus far the N.A.C.A. has received $4,936,370 in appropriations. Approximately $4,800,000 has been spent (presuming the expenditure of the whole sum of $1,508,000 appropriated for 1930). The results of its research are laid down in eighty-eight Technical Reports. All other N.A.C.A. Technical Reports contain information obtained from outside sources, the N.A.C.A acting only as publisher. This means that more than $50,000 has been spent for each report on a research project. It means much more per research, for at least four reports are always issued on the same research. This would give $200,000 per research item. Allowing for those research projects not yet completed for which no reports have yet been published and allowing also deductions for other expenses of the N.A.C.A., we are certainly justified in estimating that more than $100,000 has been spent for each research undertaking. Since 1925, and until 1930, the annual appropria-tion for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics has been approximately $500,000. This year it was increased to $1,508,000. No one can claim that during any one of the last four years more than live research problems have been finished and the [654] results made available to the public. One hundred thousand dollars per research is perhaps too moderate an estimate.

It is pertinent to ask whether really useful scientific results have been obtained, and if not, to inquire about the reasons why research so liberally supported failed to furnish an adequate return. This sum cannot be considered exorbitant if valuable results have been obtained from it.

If we make a more detailed analysis of the N.A.C.A. research of the past ten years, we find that it can be classified into wind tunnel research, free flight research on actual airplanes, and engine laboratory research.

In the engine laboratory, tests have been conducted with a view to improving the efficiency of gasoline aircraft engines by the choice of the best compression ratios, richness, and mixtures, and the like. That work would be valuable if important results had been obtained, but we doubt whether, lacking this research, any one existing engine would be worse. To say the least, this study and experiment has not been of a scientific nature. In addition, the Diesel engine was studied, likewise not a scientific or new phenomenon, and no tangible results were achieved, except possibly in the case of the spray research with solid injection.

The free flight researches gave valuable information concerning the maximum accelerations and maximum pressures occurring in maneuvers. Also some practical information regarding the ice hazard and similar subjects was obtained. Apparently the only fact demonstrated in the study of the supercharger was that such a device increases the available horsepower, and that was known before. This can hardly be considered an outstanding success. On the whole it can, nevertheless, be said that the free flight research has been the most beneficial conducted by the N.A.C.A. At the same time it can be said that no free flight test has been a scientific test nor dealt with investigation of fundamental phenomena of nature. Test flights conducted over a period of ten years, with the aid of good instruments, cannot but yield some valuable information, especially at a time when flying is new, but they are not likely to advance fundamental science.

The class of wind tunnel research should correspond most to the description "scientific." Therefore, we ought to consider it in more detail in order to find there at least some of the promised scientific work. In this category the pressure distribution work of the N.A.C.A. showed only that wings should be rounded at the tips, which was known before, and which could be and was demonstrated in the course of natural industrial development. Merely to make pressure distribution measurements is not scientific. We are sometimes inclined to believe that it would be better for wind tunnel research if it were more difficult to do this kind of work; an abundance of patience is necessary but not much creative mental effort. The results are not of great practical value, because they are made under steady wind tunnel conditions, whereas the largest pressures occur under unsteady flight conditions. For this reason, the pressure meas-urements made in flight tests are much more valuable.

In addition there have been wind tunnel tests on complete airplane models, and drag measurements on airplanes and airplane parts. This research cannot yield new results of general value, and is therefore outside the scientific research the N.A.C.A. is charged to undertake.

During all of the ten years, much time and effort has been spent on a series of tests undertaken to standardize wind tunnels throughout the world. This work showed merely that different wind tunnels give slightly different results and that these differences cannot be predicted- which facts we knew before. Tests referring to wind tunnel technique are secondary anyhow. Someone has claimed that all wind tunnels could continue to do research even if no airplanes existed. They could, but we would not accept such work as useful unless science had been advanced.

[655] Propellers have been investigated and found to possess a certain thrust and torque. Interesting, but again not scientific progress, not even technical progress.

We come at last to the research having most of the scientific element in it- that dealing with the rotating cylinder. This stirred the imagination when the first tests were made and showed undreamed-of lifts. Right now, a very prominent manufacturer is making experiments along that principle. Unfortunately, the first tests along this line were not made by the N.A.C.A. On the contrary, the N.A.C.A. refused a suggestion in 1921 to measure this phenomenon. Several years later, it did repeat measurements made abroad without adding one new thought or result.

The Autogiro is the most painful subject in connection with then N.A.C.A. research. The N.A.C.A. had the priority in this new and perhaps most important invention of recent years. Autogiro models were investigated in 1922. It is hard to believe, but nevertheless true, that these tests were never published in a Technical Report. Five years later, after the practical value of the Autogiro had been demonstrated abroad, the results were published in mimeographed form, giving evidence of an opportunity to contribute to scientific progress which was woefully neglected.

In the investigation of auto-rotation of wings, it was demonstrated that, in a wind tunnel, wings can be made to rotate like windmills. This has hardly any bearing on or connection with the spinning of airplanes. It can hardly be called a research, but rather only making pretense of research. No airplane designer gives any attention to such tests, and science rejects them entirely.

A study of boundary layer control is on the program of the N.A.C.A., according to its statement, but no report has appeared in print on the results and we have not been apprised of any progress. This should be the most important subject of the work, but in fact hardly anything seems to have been done except the repetition of some work abroad.

Finally there is the wing section research. This is the only line in which the N.A.C.A. has contributed to aeronautics by way of its own experimental research. The M wing sections were developed by the N.A.C.A., in its wind tunnel, and at least two of them have been adopted in practice, being considered superior to older ones. Accordingly, the N.A.C.A. report for 1924 (page 50) says: "satisfactory progress has been made in the science of aerodynamics during the past year . . . . One important result of wind tunnel investigations has been the development of a number of remarkably efficient wing sections of adequate thickness for economical structures. It is desirable that this development continue substantially along the present course.

This was indeed desirable, for the investigation was intended only as the first and preliminary step of a more systematic research. Much better wing sections were expected from the next series of tests, as the report indicates (page 59), "It is believed that a fruitful field for research lies in the determination of these sections which have a stable flow with good aerodynamic properties." In the interim, however, there has been no evidence of further work and the M section research, so admirably begun, has never been continued.

We do not believe that we have overlooked a major research item of the N.A.C.A.; we are certain we have not overlooked a successful one. The N.A.C.A. was officially awarded the Congressional medal for its low drag cowling. Apparently, even the friends of the N.A.C.A. consider this the most outstanding of the research projects completed. Yet, in the true sense, this cowling work was a development rather than an original work. Moreover, because it had reference to special airplanes and engines, it cannot be regarded as having general value. Therefore, it cannot be considered scientific work. It does not involve the study of new and fundamental phenomena of nature. Its doubtful value in this connection is clearly contrasted with the research of similar aim-though along entirely different lines-carried on at the same time in England. The Townend Ring is definitely superior to the N.A.C.A cowling. It is the outcome of [656] strictly scientific research carried on with scientific spirit, involving the systematic exploration of new and fundamental phenomena, and incurring relatively little expense. It represents more brain and less expenditure than for the N.A.C.A cowling research.

The results of the N.A.C.A. experimental research are not, in our opinion, an adequate return for the money spent. There is hardly one research project of scientific value, and only a few of technical value. There is an enormous gap between the principles of research laid down and those applied.

It cannot be denied that there is keen feeling of disappointment throughout the industry about the outcome of the N.A.C.A research. Every year the industry gathers at Langley Field to acquaint itself with the latest results of the research going on, but every year it is presented with stone rather than with bread. New laboratories and instruments are exhibited but no new results worth speaking of.

Responsibility for the N.A.C.A.'s failure to make substantial contributions to aeronautic science does not rest entirely on the organization itself. General supervision of the research undertaken is in the hands of committees which are composed of members serving without compensation. Under these circumstances, they cannot give much time to this research; and after all, they are not to be blamed for its shortcomings. Scientific knowledge cannot be amassed by a committee any more than an opera can be written by a committee. The capable and patriotic members of the several research committees feel that they can give best service by keeping their hands off, by assisting with advice and suggestion only, without showing too much initiative.

The real responsibility would seem to rest, therefore, upon the director of research. Is he one who knows "the problems and the methods used for their solution"? We fear not. But then it must be remembered that this director exercises the direction of the research from a distance of 200 miles, and as an auxiliary duty only. His primary duty is that of an executive. In the first place he must practice diplomacy and exercise organizing talent: only secondarily need he exhibit any scientific spirit. Most of his direction of the research is done over the long-distance wire, or on occasional visits. These facts, together with his normal duties which stand in distinct contrast to the duty of research supervision, and require entirely different capabilities, make it plausible to believe that the director of research is not in a position properly to discharge his duty. As one important reform that will improve the present conditions, we suggest that the Langley Field laboratory be separated entirely from the Washington political office of the N.A.C.A. and be put in charge of a capable research engineer who would be fully responsible for the research and for it only.

As it is, the true initiative must come from the local head of the laboratory, and from the heads of the single divisions. We expect most from the aerodynamic sections. It is now a fact that both positions, the head of the L.M.A.L. and of the aerodynamics division, have been occupied in recent years by men who are decidedly not research engineers at all. Neither of them has ever contributed anything to science, and neither of them expects to do so. They are mere routine engineers, and hardly that; they are mere bureaucrats, signing letters and unwrapping red tape.

This brings us to the question of the N.A.C.A staff. Friends of the N.A.C.A. have claimed that the staff has suffered great losses because the industry has induced its best men to leave by offering them lucrative positions. This does not sound probable. In the first place, a capable research engineer does not leave his work if he has found favorable working conditions, and is progressing satisfactorily in his work. The fact that nearly all good research engineers have left the N.A.C.A. constitutes in itself a reproach to the management. From inside information we know that most engineers left of their own initiative, because they were dissatisfied with the management. They are now employed in industry, and most of them did not leave as friends of the Committee. During these ten years, the head of the laboratory at Langley Field has changed [657] four times, and two and a half years is about the average time the engineers used to stay. There must be a reason for this state of flux in the personnel. Most of the research engineers are young graduates and the few older men who have stayed with the organization are for the greatest part less capable than those who left. Jealousy and petty politics have always played too great a part in the activities at Langley Field. The spirit of research and scientific work was never really encouraged by the management. Nobody can carry on research work successfully if he is compelled to devote a great part of his time to fighting for the cooperation of others to which he has a right, and fighting off the aggressiveness of his colleagues. The failure of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics is the failure typical of so many public organizations. There is no effective check on what is accomplished. If the results of the N.A.C.A. could be computed according to their worth in dollars and cents, the Committee would long ago have been bankrupt. But it is not a money-making organization, it is a money-spending organization. That leaves much energy free, and unfortunately the conditions in such a case are favorable to the survival of those most unsuitable for carrying on scientific research.

The activity of the N.A.C.A. has become a mere building of new laboratories without distinct ideas of what to do with them after they are built, and it has become a mere weighing and measuring of less value than the weighing of a grocery clerk. No concerted efforts are made to elevate science; no efforts are made to apply the results of the tests to any logical system, to digest them, and to interpret their significance in the sum of general knowledge. The truth is that the tests cannot be interpreted that way because the program has not been guided by scientific reasoning. Weighing for weighing's sake is not scientific research, but at the best a kind of indoor golf.

We urge that radical changes in the management be made with the view to improving the conditions to the end that real and honest talent may be attracted to the N.A.C.A. Only then will there be some prospect of an intelligent use of the research equipment and a reasonable return for the money spent.

Let's devote a period of thought to wondering if these large appropriations devoted to the N.A.C.A. have served, are serving, or will serve the industry.

Let's hope that Congress, yes, and even the President of the United States, will give consideration to the self-same subject.

Let us spend money, certainly- no detail of aviation should be stinted- but let us have men in charge of its expenditure who will see to it that the money which we spend shall count.

 


23. Memorandum, Elton W. Miller to Engineer-in-Charge, "Article in Aero Digest for December, " 19 Dec. 1930:

 

[This rebuttal to the Tichenor article (document 22) is one of the weaker ones that emerged from the NACA. Paragraph 6, for example, rather confirms Tichenor's opinion than refutes it. Nevertheless, the memo provides an insight into the nature of research as understood by the NACA, as well as examples of what the Langley staff took pride in. A handwritten note on the original described the Aero Digest article as being Max Munk's work.]

 

1. With reference to your memorandum of December 11, I have given some consideration to the various questions contained in your memorandum, and before answering them specifically, I feel that it is necessary to define fundamental phenomena of nature and scientific research. A study of the phenomena of nature doubtless includes a study of how air flows about bodies. Some phases of this study might be classified as fundamental or basic, and others which might be the outgrowth of the first [658] and planned to cover in greater detail certain phenomena would not be fundamental. They might have a definite practical object.

2. I believe very little of our work could be classified as fundamental, according to general acceptance of the term, but defining science as "accumulated and accepted knowledge, systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths on the operation of general laws," and research as "careful or critical examina-tion in seeking principles or facts," I think that practically all of our work can be classified as scientific research. I assume that research need not necessarily be aimless to be scientific, but that it may have a definite practical object. This is borne out by the Organic act which charges the Committee "with the supervision and direction of the scientific study of the problems of flight with a view to their practical solution- ." The scientific method of research is believed to be that of systematic search for truth, and apparently it must be directed toward the discovery of general laws.. Most of our work falls under this head. I will now take up your questions, using the corresponding numbers.

5. Some investigations are more systematic than others, and some lead to more general conclusions than others. Among such may be mentioned the investigation of pressure distribution and acceleration on the PW-9 pursuit airplane, the F6C-4 airplane, and the Douglas M-3. The distribution of pressures was systematically investigated over various parts of the airplanes in question throughout various maneuvers. It is possible from the accumulation of information to draw rather general conclusions, and to obtain information for the study of more specific problems, such as tail loads, leading-edge loads, and the study of load factors. Another investigation which has been systematically carried out has been that of the maneuverability of various airplanes, and while it has not yet progressed far enough to lead to general conclusions, there is every reason to believe that it will do so.

6. There are two main purposes in making wind tunnel tests on complete models of airplanes, particularly in the Variable Density Tunnel; first, to compare the aerodynamic characteristics of airfoils with those of the complete models on which the airfoil sections are used; and second, to show the validity of the principle on which the Variable Density Tunnel operates. This may be done by comparing the results of tests in the tunnel on a model of an airplane with the results of tests on the airplane in flight.

7. The correspondence on file does not show whether tunnel standardization was suggested and started by this Committee or by the British National Physical Laboratory. We have a letter from the N. P. L. dated May 27, 1922, requesting the Committee to make tests of the N. P. L. airship models. Our Research Authorization No. 70, on which this work was done, was approved on January 26, 1922. It seems likely that the initiation of this R. A. resulted from some preliminary correspondence with the British, not in our files at present.

8. Among the most systematic and hence most scientific of the investigations conducted thus far on propellers have been those of the effect of high tip speeds on propeller efficiency, and the effect of body interference on propeller efficiency. In the first, two families of propellers of different pitches were used at various r.p.m.'s, and hence at various tip speeds. This series of tests leads unmistakably to a general conclusion regarding the effect of tip speed on propeller efficiency. In the second, a series of propellers of different diameters was tested in front of a single body. In another investigation, the effect of changes in blade form was studied by tests of a systematic series.

12. The tests of twenty-seven airfoil sections in the Variable Density Tunnel was completed in the later weeks of 1924, and the tests of seven frequently used sections, early in 1925. It was the desire of the tunnel staff to continue this investigation, and progress was laid out to this end . . . . Although this progress was approved by Dr. [659] Munk and by Mr. Lewis, the records do not show why it was not carried out. They do show, however, that Dr. Munk had other plans which he wished to investigate. These include.

 

1. The Slotted Wing, Technical Memorandum 282, Figure 12 to be tested at several pressures.
 
2. Five Elevator Wing Sections with Flap, Figures 1-5 to be tested at 20 atmospheres with different positions of the elevator proper.
 
3. . . . Investigation of Influence of Aspect Ratio of One Monoplane Airfoil on Scale Effect.
 
4. Investigation of One Biplane Cellule.
 

All of these investigations, with the exception of the first, were carried out, and occupied the tunnel for a period of months. In addition, tests were made on the Sperry Messenger airplane model, and on a wooden replica of the N. P. L. airship model. The CYH airfoil was built and tested January 1, 1926. While it was, doubtless, Dr. Munk's intention to continue this investigation, since he speaks of the tests of the twenty-seven sections as tests of the first systematic series of airfoils, he did not suggest continuing the progress at any time during his residence at the Laboratory, which continued until March 31, 1927.

13. The investigation of the Townend ring by the British was conducted in a somewhat similar manner to the work on our N.A.C.A. cowling, except that their work was done only on models, rather than on a real engine, and they had no means of measuring the effect on the cooling of the engine. It might be thought by some that the investigation of the Townend ring was more scientific because the investigators started out to accomplish one thing (to study the interference of a ring in front of a body), and stumbled upon a scientific truth which could be applied to an entirely different problem; while, in the case of our own cowling, the investigators started out with a definite practical problem- to solve that of finding out how much of the engine could be covered by cowling, and thus, how much the drag could be reduced without interfering with cooling. Mr. Townend was apparently studying the question of interference in connection with a propeller investigation when he realized the possibility of reducing the drag of an air-cooled engine by applying the ring.

It is deemed to be not the purpose of this Laboratory to devote itself to fundamental scientific research as distinguished from that which has a definite practical object. It is the aim of the Laboratory, and I believe it is in large measure realized, to apply scientific methods to the solution of the practical problems of aerodynamics. The conditions at the Laboratory, described in the above article, the dissatisfaction of personnel, and questionable value of some of the results are believed to be more true of the period a few years ago, with which Dr. Munk is personally familiar, than of the present period. The interest of the personnel in the work of the Laboratory and the enthusiasm for the work at hand is believed to be as great as will be found in many research organizations, and much greater than in most Government establishments. This is borne out, at the present moment, by the fact that a number of the personnel in each section of our division are at work when they are entitled to leave for the remainder of the year. An effort is being made throughout the Laboratory to conduct every investigation in a thorough and systematic manner. Greater care is being taken to secure accuracy, and results are being more carefully checked than ever before, and I believe that the conclusions reached as a result of our work will be of more and more value as time passes.

 

ELTON W. MILLER,
Senior Aeronautical Engineer.

 

 


[655] 24. Memorandum, H.J.E. Reid to George Lewis, "Comments on the article in the December 1930 issue of Aero Digest, entitled 'Why the NACA.?' Jan. 1931.

 

[Answering the charges leveled against the NACA by Frank Tichenor (document 22), the engineer-in-charge at the Langley laboratory reveals information about the workings of the laboratory that appears nowhere else in print. To the hyperbole of the Tichenor piece, Reid responds characteristically with documentation, moderation, and specificity. He does, however, leave unanswered several of Tichenor's general criticisms.]

 

 

1. I have read over the article of reference several times, and have looked up some information in the Laboratory's files which is explained below, and I am forwarding copies of memoranda from Messrs. Miller and Kemper covering some of the statements made in the article.

2. In looking over the article I was first impressed by the misstatement regarding the completion date of the Atmospheric Wind Tunnel, which was not reported as completed in 1918, but was officially opened in 1920. The Annual Report for 1919 states that the tunnel had been completed but not put into operation on account of the inability of the local power company to supply power. It then became necessary to install a small power plant to furnish direct current temporarily.

3. In regard to the cost of researches, or "research items", as the article states, it is very difficult to arrive at any figure which we could call the cost of a research. A good many of the research authorizations which have been issued have been cancelled because the work has been done under other research authorizations or it has been later found that the research proposed would not be fruitful. In the early days of the Laboratory a relatively small amount of aeronautical information had been acquired, and it was quite natural that many researches might be proposed which, in light of further experience and information, would be proven to be of small value or uneconomical. These researches were, of course, cancelled in many cases without ever having conducted any research under the particular authorization. Many research au-thorizations were so broad that they really covered a number of separate researches, each of which led to good reports containing valuable information. It is difficult, or almost impossible, therefore, to say just how much the so-called "research items" undertaken actually did cost. It is known, however, that results of the researches at the Laboratory are reported in more than 88 technical reports, the Laboratory itself having contributed during that period 129 technical reports and 131 technical notes, all of which are valuable. In addition, a considerable amount of money has been spent by the Committee on research at other points than Langley Field, for which there have been many reports and technical notes published by the Committee. No mention, of course, is made of technical memoranda and aircraft circulars, which are of definite value to the industry and rightly come under the work of the Committee in obtaining and disseminating information.

4. While the appropriations during the past 11 years, including the fiscal year 1930, have been approximately $4,963,000, not all of this has been spent at the Laboratory. It is believed that you are in a better position to know what percentage of this amount has been spent at the Laboratory. There still remains, however, the value of the plant equipment, including buildings, wind tunnels, hangars, airplanes, instru-ments, stock, etc. . .

5. Regarding the statement that the N.A.C.A refused the suggestion in 1921 to measure the phenomenon of the lift on a rotating cylinder, we find that the Laboratory has no information in its files regarding such a suggestion as early as that date. The first mention of anything of that sort in the files is contained in the Minutes of [661] the Meeting of the Subcommittee on Aerodynamics, September 19, 1923, where Mr. Bacon****** reported that three cylinder models had been prepared for test at Langley Field. This work was reported in 1924 in Technical Note 209, by E. G. Reid.

6. In regard to the autogiro, as mentioned in the article, there is no evidence in the files to indicate that tests on an autogiro model, as such, were ever made. The correspondence back as far as January, 1919, shows that propellers were being studied with a view to their application to the helicopter, and in 1921 tests were carried out on a propeller mounted in a wind tunnel, measuring the drag at various angles of yaw and with various amounts of braking. Later on, work was done on feathering propeller blades, and correspondence in 1923 and 1924 indicates that there was a paper pre-pared by Bacon and Munk on "Model Tests on the Economy and Effectiveness of Helicopter Propellers." The Laboratory correspondence does not indicate that this type of work showed very much promise, and as I was not personnally connected with any of that work I am not in a position to recall any of the details of the tests.

7. Mr. Miller has covered the question of the wing section research and I distinctly recall that Dr. Munk, during his stay at the Laboratory, had other work for the Variable Density Wind Tunnel which he wanted to push ahead of the further work on airfoils. As you know, a systematic family of airfoils has been made up, and work will soon start on this investigation. It is expected that results will be available from a great many, if not all, of the family of airfoils, for presentation at the next Manufacturers' Conference.

8. It was interesting to read the startling statement in the article regarding the Townend ring, especially the statement that it is definitely superior to the N.A.C.A. cowling all accounts, it seems that every improvement the British make in the Townend ring brings it closer to the original N.A.C.A. cowling as flown on the AT-5 airplane. The method of conducting this investigation, it would seem to me, was quite similar to that which the British used, except that we had the definite goal of reducing the resistance of the air-cooled engine. The methods employed were much the same, except that, instead of using rough models, the Committee used an actual engine and airplane, which led to definite conclusions immediately.

9. It is true that a great many good research engineers have left the Committee, but it is not true that most of them left because they were dissatisfied with the management. There were a few engineers who left because of dissatisfaction with conditions, but they, in general, were not to be classed as good research engineers. There were at least two, Mr. E. G. Reid and Mr. Paul E. Hemke, who were very strongly influenced in their decisions to leave the Committee because of their unpleasant relations with Dr. Munk. For the most part, however, the engineers have left because of the fact that many of them were interested in the industry and not in research, and as a result of their experience at the Laboratory could command high salaries in the industry which, it is well known, was paying abnormally high salaries to everybody connected with it. The fact that several of the engineers who have left the Committee have been interested in returning to the Committee, and the fact that Mr. Weick actually has returned after serving some time in the industry, indicate that the conditions here at the Laboratory are not as described in the article.

10. As for the Manufacturers' Conference, it is believed that the increasing attendance and interest shown by the manufacturers are a definite acknowledgement of the fact that they do get information of value from the Committee.

 

H. J. E. REID,
Engineer-In-Charge.

 


[662] 25. Minutes of the NACA annual meeting, 22 Oct. 1931, pp. 10-13, adoption of rules governing work done by NACA for industry.

 

[The question of using NACA staff and equipment to conduct research for industry was a troubling one throughout the Committee's history. This, the first formal declara-tion of policy, prompted discussion of two of the stickiest aspects of the problem: costs, and proprietary rights. Note that in the discussion no member of the Committee observes that the policy would favor large well-capitalized manufacturers over small inventors of modest resources who might nonetheless have more worthwhile projects. (See documents 26 and 42.)]

 

Regulations Governing Work for Private Parties. The Chairman stated that the Commit-tee had arrived at that stage in its history where, due to the possession of unique equipment, it was necessary to provide for the conduct of work on the request of, and at the expense of, private parties. The Secretary stated that the act establishing the Committee authorized it to proceed under rules and regulations approved by the President; that Rule 2 of such rules and regulations provides that the Committee "under regulations to be established and fees to be fixed," shall exercise its functions for the benefit of private parties provided they defray the cost involved. The Secretary then read a draft of proposed regulations and fees governing work for private parties as follows:

1. Any American citizen or American firm, association, or corporation which desires the Committee to conduct any investigation or test will make application by letter addressed to the Committee stating definitely what is wanted.
 
2. If the investigation or test relates to aeronautics and necessarily involves the use of facilities not available in the United States outside the Committee's organization, the Director of Aeronautical Research may authorize the investigation or test to be conducted at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
 
3. The engineer in charge of the laboratory will submit to the Committee an estimate of the cost based on all direct labor and material, plus 100%, and the Secretary will then require the posting of a special deposit in the form of cash or certified check payable to the order of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in an amount equal to the total estimated cost, and will notify the laboratory when the required deposit has been received.
 
4. If a model or models are required for any investigation or test, same should be provided by the party desiring the work and be sent, charges prepaid, to the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
 
5. The engineer in charge of the laboratory will issue the necessary job orders, keep an accurate record of cost, including cost of preparing report and returning model, and will transmit report to the Committee along with statement of cost.
 
6. If during the conduct of any investigation or test it appears to the engineer in charge that the special deposit may not be sufficient to cover the total cost involved, he shall promptly notify the Secretary. The latter will then require an additional deposit and promptly notify the laboratory of its receipt.
 
7. The engineer in charge shall stop all work on any investigation or test before the accrued costs exceed the total amount on deposit.
 
8. Upon completion of an investigation or test the Secretary shall cause an amount equal to the total cost to be deposited in the Treasury to the credit of "Miscellaneous Receipts" and the balance, if any, remaining in the special deposit to be returned to the depositor.
 
[663] 9. The results of all such investigations and tests so conducted shall upon request of the depositor be kept confidential as far as the public is concerned, but shall in the discretion of the Committee be available for Government use.

Dr. Burgess # referring to paragraph 8 questioned the wisdom of depositing the amount earned by the Government to the credit of "Miscellaneous Receipts" and announced he would oppose that provision, citing the experiences of the Bureau of Standards in similar matters. General Prattt ## agreed with Dr. Burgess. The Secretary stated that as the depositors would be required to furnish models there would be practically only labor and power costs involved, and that it would not be necessary nor practicable to engage additional temporary employees for such work; wherefore if the costs were deposited to the credit of the Committee's appropriation they would at the end of the year remain an unexpended balance in the Committee's appropriation and might just as well be deposited in the first place to the credit of "Miscellaneous Receipts". He added that if the volume of such work increased to the extent that it became necessary and practicable to employ additional personnel on account of such work, then the Committee would have need for the use of such additional funds and at that time could meet the situation by changing its regulations.

Mr. Guggenheim ### questioned the proposed policy of making any charge, saying in effect that if the Committee deemed the work worth while it should be done without charge, and if it deemed the work not worth while it should refuse to do the work even at the expense of private parties. The objection made to this procedure was that if the Committee were to do the work without charge it might be burdened with a great many requests, and if it were to refuse to do work deemed not worth while, it would be in a vulnerable position and open to charges of discrimination. General discussion ensued in which all the members participated.

A separate vote was taken on the question of whether the amount earned by the Government should be deposited to the credit of "Miscellaneous Receipts" or to the credit of the Committee's appropriation, and the result was four votes for each plan; whereupon the Chairman #### to break the tie voted in favor of depositing such funds to the credit of "Miscellaneous Receipts."

Mr. Warner ##### referring to paragraph 9 raised the question as to the propriety of allowing the results to be kept confidential and suggested that they become public property either promptly or within a brief period of time, e.g. six months. General discussion followed in which the right of the Government to the use of the results was not questioned, but it was maintained on the one hand that the depositor had a right to require that the results be not made public, and on the other hand it was maintained that since the work necessarily involved the use of expensive Government equipment, the Government had the right not merely to the use of the results for Government purposes but also the right to make the results public for the general good of aviation. The point was made that if the results were favorable in whole or in part the depositor would probably advertise them and use the Committee's name, and might state only such of the results as were favorable and thereby force the Committee in fairness to the public to state all of the results, and that therefore the Committee might just as well [664] publish the results in the first place. The suggestion was made that the Committee's report on a test omit the depositor's name and the trade name of the article tested, and that the depositor not state the Committee's name in announcing favorable results.

After further discussion the question developed as to whether the publication of the results should lie in the discretion of the Committee or in the discretion of the depositor. On this question a vote was taken which showed the members divided four to four; whereupon the Chairman, to break the tie, voted in favor of reserving to the Committee discretion as to publication of results.

It was recorded as the sense of the meeting that the Secretary should circulate a revised draft of paragraph 9, and subject to the approval of such draft by a majority of the members it was, on motion duly seconded and carried,

RESOLVED, That in accordance with Rule 2 of the Rules and Regulations for the Conduct of the Work of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics the proposed regulations and fees governing work for private parties or organizations as revised be, and the same are hereby, approved.

The revised draft of paragraph 9 as approved subsequent to the meeting reads as follows:

9. The results of such investigations and tests shall be furnished promptly to the depositor, be made available for the use of the Government, and may, in the discretion of the Committee, be published or otherwise released for the information of the public, under such restrictions as the Committee may deem proper to impose.
 
 


26. Orville Wright to John Victory, 6 Nov. 1931.

 

[Orville Wright served on the NACA longer than any other member- 28 years- but he seldom played an active role. Like several other members from private life, he was on the Committee to grace the letterhead and to add the weight of his reputation to the NACA name. When he did voice a strong opinion, as in this letter, he could be counted on to speak frankly, individualistically, and often in defense of the small inventor and entrepreneur who harked back to the early years of aviation. Here he takes exception to the policy established in document 25.]

 

 

November 6, 1931.
 
Mr. JOHN F. VICTORY, Secretary,
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics,
Washington, D. C.

 

Dear Mr. Victory:

I will not be able to be present at the special meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics on next Tuesday, November 10th.

I am returning enclosed your letter of October 23rd with the draft for paragraph 9 of the new regulations governing work for private parties. I believe the draft represents the action of the Committee and, therefore, I approve it, although I do not myself believe in making public the reports of investigations or tests paid for by private parties, except with their consent. So long as this rule is retained by the Committee, no one, I believe, who has a really novel or valuable idea will have it tested by the Committee; and therefore all of the tests made in the tunnel will be of inventions of minor importance.

I think the inventor is rendering a public service, even though he may patent his invention, when he puts the invention on the market, so that use of it can be secured by the public. For this reason I think that our Committee would be serving our [665] Government and our people at large when it makes tests of inventions for private parties on a strictly confidential basis.

 

Sincerely yours,
 
(s) ORVILLE WRIGHT.


* Edward P. Warner, chief physicist, NACA Hq.

** John H.DeKlyn, aeronautical engineer, NACA Hq.

*** Controllability

**** Also member of Subcommittee on Aerodynamics.

***** Also representing his own company.

****** David L. Bacon.

# George K. Burgess, director, National Bureau of Standards.

## Brig. Gen. Henry C. Pratt, US. Army, chief, Materiel Division, Air Corps, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio

### Harry F. Guggenheim, president, Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics.

#### Joseph S. Ames

##### Edward P. Warner, editor, Aviation


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