SP-4305 ENGINEER IN CHARGE

 

Guide to NACA Historical Sources at Langley

 

[567] Since this book is amply footnoted by chapter, and since so little is generally known about the recently constituted archives that provided most of my source material, I have chosen to provide readers with the following general-purpose guide to the major sources for research into NACA history at NASA Langley Research Center instead of with the traditional bibliographic essay. Those seeking guidance about historiography relevant to the NACA or about other archival collections with significant NACA materials in them should consult Alex Roland's Guide to Research in NASA History, 4th ed. (Washington: NASA History Office, 1984), or the extended bibliographic essay in Roland's Model Research: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958, NASA SP-4103 (Washington, 1985), 1:300-305, both of which are richly informative and analytical.

Langley Research Center, the oldest laboratory of the NACA and NASA, possesses an historical collection that in combination with its technical library rivals any archives for aerospace history in this country. In Langley's archives (see diagram) are collections of rare books and photographs, technical reports, office memoranda, flight and wind tunnel logs, programs and minutes of major technical conferences, personal papers, transcripts of interviews with key personnel, as well as scale models of aircraft and spacecraft and other illuminating artifacts. Besides storing Langley's own historical records, the archives also include important files of the Wallops Island (Va.) rocket test range, created in 1945 as an auxiliary base of Langley laboratory and managed by Langley as part of the Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD) until 1958, when Wallops achieved independent status as a NASA center.

The four most important collections in the Langley archives are (1) the NACA correspondence files, (2) the NACA research authorization files, (3) the Milton Ames Collection, and (4) the personal papers of Floyd L. Thompson and John Stack. Since they are so important, these four collections will be described fully below. Key aspects of Langley's Floyd L. Thompson Technical Library are also discussed.

 

Correspondence Files

 

Anyone who plans to do research in an organization's archives should first ask some questions about the correspondence policy in force for that organization's employees: Could they send letters directly to outside addresses? Did all letters have to go through a central office? What management official, if any, had to "sign off" the letters? Knowing the peculiarities of the correspondence policies will make it much easier to evaluate and utilize the records.

In Langley's case, a superb historical archive was created as the by-product of a tight-to-the-vest correspondence policy and a highly centralized filing system. Largely as a result of the early and continuing control by NACA executive secretary John F. Victory over the lab's bureaucratic affairs (see chapter 2), all of its outgoing correspondence was reviewed and revised up through the division level until sanctioned in its final form by the office of the chief of research; then it was signed by the engineer-in-charge, the top......

 


[
568]

Diagram of the Langley Historical Archive (on the second floor of the Floyd L. Thompson Technical Library at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia):

Diagram of the Langley Historical Archive (on the second floor of the Floyd L. Thompson Technical Library at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia): (1) NACA research authorization (RA) files. (2) Panels depicting early aviation, painted at Langley in the 1940s and formerly displayed in the rotunda of the NACA Langley headquarters building. (8) NACA and NASA correspondence files from 1917 through early 1960s; special photographic collections; NACA and NASA visitor registers; index and cross-reference card files for NACA research authorizations. (4) Special file with index cards of technical reports produced by NA CA Flight Research section. (5) Aircraft flight logs. (6) Special model and artifact displays. (7) Special model and document displays. (8) Complete collection of bound NACA annual reports. (9) Historian's office; five-foot shelf of NACA and NASA history books. (10) Milton Ames Collection: very early NACA photographs (many unique); complete collection of Langley Air Scoop; special NACA files on various matters including personnel, facilities, and congressional activities. (11) Telephone directories; special aircraft files; special collection on hydrodynamic research; special collection on Viking Project; 50th anniversary photographic and administrative file; annual inspection files from 1926 on. (12) Floyd L. Thompson's personal papers; John Stack's personal papers; Max M. Munk's book collection.

 

[569] .....man in the laboratory organization. Incoming letters to individuals were routed directly to them, but only after being opened by the mail clerks. Copies of all letters, incoming and outgoing, were made for central files. Each letter was placed into one or more subject files, which were organized according to an alphanumeric code unique to Langley. Within each subject, papers were then arranged by date.

There are two catalogs to the correspondence file codes in the Langley archives, one that is alphabetical by subject and the other that follows the alphanumeric code; both are the products of the lab's mail filing operation. To illustrate the nature of these catalogs, the contents of their respective first pages are reproduced below.

 

Subject Guide, Alphabetical

Subject

Code Number

.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds

B10-3

Accelerometers

A184-8A

Accident Investigation Board-Langley

El-11

Accidents-Ames

El-12

Accidents-Lewis

El-17

Accidents-Edwards

AF252-2

Accidents-Langley

AF252-1

Acoustics

A3134

Administrative Policy and Procedure

E30-12C

Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)

E20-6

Advisory Group for Aeronautical R&D (AGARD)

E2-12B

Aerial Spraying

B10-1

Aeroelasticity

A178-2

Aero Medical Association

E34-17

Aeronautical Symbols

E1-13

Aerospace Industries Association

E6-7

Agriculture Department

B10-1

Air Force

B10-2

Aircraft Companies-General

A173-4

Alsos Mission

E2-12C

Altimeters

A184-8H

Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys

A311-2

Ames Research Center

B10-6

Angle of Attack-Instruments

A184-8D

Antennas (Radio)

A173-7

Apprentice Program

C48-25

 

[570] Alphanumeric Guide

 

Code

Subject

.

A170-1

Aerodynamic Theory

A172-1

Aerodynamics Committee Langley

A173-1

Airfoils

A173-1A

Wings-Swept (Back and Forward)

A173-2

Research Equipment Facilities (American Non-NACA)

A173-2A

Equipment (NACA) on Loan to Outside Sources

A173-5

Airplanes-General

A173-5A

Hypersonic Aircraft

A173-5B

Helicopters-General

A173-5C

Privately Owned, Personal or Light Aircraft

A173-5D

Atomic Energy Commission

A173-5E

Airplanes-Disposition

A173-5F

Windshields and Cockpit Visibility Problems

A173-5H

Coupled Airplanes

A173-5J

Convertiplanes (Vertically Rising Aircraft, Except Helicopters)

A173-5K

Quarterly Status Reports on Projects Relating to Research Airplanes

A173-5L

Ground Cushion Phenomena

A173-5M

Use of Center Airplanes

A173-5N

NASA Aircraft Utilization Reports

A173-5P

Air Traffic Control

A173-5R

Integrated Programs for Aerospace Vehicle Design (IPAD)

A173-6

Bombs

Langley's correspondence files are a largely untapped reservoir for aerospace history. Only a few weeks before this book went to press I found in this collection, for example, the following letter, dated the eighth of July 1920. It was addressed to Leigh Griffith, Langley's first engineer-in-charge, and was written by a young man in California who was just getting into the aircraft business: Donald W. Douglas, the soon-to-be-famous airplane designer.

 

2331 Fifth Street
Ocean Park, Calif.
July 8, 1920
 
Dear Leigh:
 
I suppose that you know that I am out here in your old town trying to make a go of the aircraft business here now. I left Martin the end of March, and spent some time trying to get something in a large way going here. I found this impossible at this time as the financial situation is rather uncertain. Luckily however I found a young chap with money here to back me in a small way. We are organizing under the name of the Davis-Douglas Co.
 
I am at work now on the engineering of our first job, and expect to start construction of it in a shop that I have rented down town, before the end of the month. We have hopes that we will have it in the air in November. The ship that I am laying out is a commercial type around a single Liberty motor,[571] and embodies several new schemes that on paper seem to add a great deal to the efficiency and cheapness of it. This first ship is going to be made special to do some record and stunt tricks with. I am carrying 600 gallons of gasoline and hope to be able to make the trip from here to New York non-stop, in about thirty hours. This will be quite an achievement and should give us the necessary advertising to help us to get further business.
 
I have thought that if we were able to equip the plane with a supercharger and an adjustable pitch propeller, we might be able to pick up enough speed at about 18,000 feet to make the trip in considerably less time. I wrote the Army bunch in Dayton and they told me that they would not give the General Electric Co. permission to sell us or loan us one of the Moss superchargers at this time. Some weeks ago I went in to see your father [owner of a machine works from which Douglas's company was getting machined parts] and he told me that they had built a supercharger for the National Advisory committee. I am wondering if it is at all possible that the Advisory committee might regard our attempt seriously and take the opportunity of getting some long distance data on their supercharger, by lending it to us for the flight. There is no question but that we will make the attempt with or without it, and I really would imagine that we might be able to get some very valuable dope on the supercharger and its use in this sort of work, for the Advisory Committee. I wish that you would let me know if there is any possibility of them considering such an arrangement, and if they do, that you would send me the data on it, as soon as possible. I am at a stage now where I could allow room for its installation if I knew what it was like. Also tell me what you think of this particular supercharger, and what tests it has been put to.
 
I certainly do enjoy being back here, and the kids and the wife are of course getting a lot out of it too. I hate to make you homesick, so I won't tell you how much the same as old times it seems back here. I miss you at the Vidarnar noons when I get in there, but Tiny is back on the job again, and so it looks much the same as ever. Why don't you come back out to God's country again. I sure hope that I can make a living out here and get things humming again in an aeronautical way here.
 
Well Leigh I would appreciate very much having some news about your personal welfare, as well as the dope on this supercharger stuff. Charlotte joins me in sending the best of regards to you and Mrs. Griffith.
 
As ever, yours sincerely
[Signed] Donald W. Douglas

 

Brief further research indicates that Griffith went out of his way to help Douglas find a suitable supercharger. He sent the young airplane designer an assembly drawing showing the NACA Root-type supercharger as applied to a Liberty engine (an application which had never actually been made), but he advised him against using this particular device on Douglas's proposed airplane because the device was still in a preliminary test phase of design.

[572] The information in this letter very likely fits into the history of Douglas's round-the-world biplanes, the famous "World Cruisers" of 1924, which constituted his company's first big order. In any case, the letter exemplifies the valuable and yet-to-be-used historical information in the correspondence files of the Langley archives.

 

Research Authorization Files

 

Although the correspondence files are tremendously valuable, the single most important source for aeronautical history at Langley is the NACA research authorization files. These files permit the historian to recreate the entire NACA research procedure for a given project from the raw research idea through the final polished report.

What exactly was an NACA research authorization? Whenever a project for research at Langley was approved by NACA headquarters, a research authorization (or RA) was signed by the chairman of the executive committee and forwarded to the lab for execution. Technically Langley was supposed to have an RA for each of its investigations, and each RA was expected to lead to the publication of an NACA report. Each RA had a title and a number, and each included information on the how and why of the investigation. Sometimes this information was stated very briefly and rather vaguely; other times it was expressed at great length and in detail. From the time of the authorization on, a copy of any letter or document, incoming or outgoing, that in any way concerned the subject of the RA was filed chronologically in the specific RA folder (as well as in the appropriate correspondence files). Thus by studying the RA files one can get a pretty clear idea of how the NACA went about its business. The files shed light on such things as the respective roles of headquarters and the lab in selecting and conducting research projects, the publications policies of the Committee, and the relations of NACA staff members with clients and colleagues.

Since there are over 2000 research authorization files, this collection provides virtually virgin territory for historical research. I looked in detail only at two or three dozen RA files. In preparation for Model Research, Alex Roland examined, I presume, about the same number. Clearly scholars have so far only scratched the surface of this prime source for NACA history.

The RA files are maintained in sequence in the archives from RA No. 1, "Comparison of mathematical analysis and model tests of air propellers," issued 18 July 1918, through RA No. 1584, "Free-fall tests to determine stability derivatives of Dove guided missile," issued 24 November 1950. (RAs after 1950, at present stored elsewhere, will be moved into the archives.) In the archive there is also a card file to the RA collection that cross-references subjects and titles of technical reports with RA numbers and the file codes of correspondence.

Still, the RA files are not easy to work with. Because of the vague and rather indiscriminate nature of the majority of RA titles and the built-in flexibility of RA procedure (discussed in chapter 2), it can be very hard now for anyone, even the talented and experienced Langley file clerks and librarians, to match individual research projects to the specific RA, or RAs, that covered them administratively. The best example of this difficulty during research for this book was my attempt to find the RA covering the preparation of the "Theory of Wing Sections of Arbitrary Shape," an important paper written by Langley physicist Theodore Theodorsen in 1931 and published by the NACA as tech. rpt. (TR) 411. (The contents of this paper are analyzed in chapter 4.)

On the day I was working on this problem, veteran Langley engineer Axel T. Mattson visited my office, and I enlisted his help to solve it. The logical first step was to identify all [573] RAs originating before 1931 whose titles most closely matched the subject of Theodorsen's paper. With Mattson's help, I narrowed down the possibilities to nine RAs, all of which in one way or another concerned airfoils or wing sections:

 

No. 43-"Pressure distribution for thick airfoil sections"
No. 77-"Pressure distribution over tapered thick airfoils"
No. 203-"Study of characteristics of very thick airfoil sections"
No. 206-"Investigation of airfoils tapered in form and section"
No. 217-"Investigation of a series of wing models with fiat lower surfaces and varying upper cambers"
No. 254-"Investigation of methods of developing airfoil shapes to obtain desired characteristics"
No. 290-"Investigation of effect of thickness and mean camber line shape on airfoil characteristics"
No. 350-"Determination of standard design characteristics for certain airfoils"
No. 351-"Investigation of compressibility effects on airfoils"

 

We deemed RA 254, "Investigation of methods of developing airfoil shapes to obtain desired characteristics," our best chance, as it matched the subject of Theodorsen's paper most closely, and then ranked the other eight RAs in order of our evaluation of their relevancy.

One by one we pulled dusty RA files down from their shelves, with no success. Having spent about an hour exhausting our list of nine RAs, Mattson and I went back to the complete list of RA titles I had prepared early in my research. We found ten more RAs that we thought might have covered Theodorsen's wing-section analysis, but none of their titles actually looked anywhere as promising as had those of our first nine. We examined the first RA on this second list-No. 236, "Investigation of wing flutter"-because we knew that its subject was one of Theodorsen's specialties. When RA 236 also proved a washout, we gave up the idea of proceeding further with our method.

I then asked Mattson which research section Theodorsen had worked in during 1929 and 1930; I knew that Theodorsen became head of the Physical Research Division when it was created in 1931, but was unsure where he had worked previously. Though Mattson did not come to work at Langley until just before World War II, he knew the older crowd and replied that he thought Theodorsen had been a member of the Atmospheric Wind Tunnel (AWT) section.

Having failed to find anything in the RA files, I now decided to look into the correspondence files for contemporary records of the AWT section. Entry into these records was easy, thanks to the alphabetized subject guide discussed above. Mattson and I looked through some letters from the late 1920s and early 1930s, and though we saw nothing dealing with Theodorsen's paper, we did see in the upper left-hand corners of many of the letters, in parentheses next to the Central File code, the numbers 88 and 237. We knew that these numbers were cross-references to RA numbers where other copies of the same document had been filed by Langley clerks. The numbers meant that the administration of much of the work being done in the AWT section during this period had been covered by RAs 88 and 237.

RA 88, "Investigation of scale effect on airfoils," and RA 237, "Investigation of lateral stability with particular reference to rotary stability at large angles of attack," did not seem to match the subject of Theodorsen's paper. Of the two RAs, however, No. 88 looked closer to it. So we got a few folders of 88 down from the shell and started looking through [574] them. We found a memo with a note penciled in at the bottom, "TR 411 changed to RA 237."

TR 411 was the published NACA technical report by Theodorsen which we were looking for, so Mattson and I knew that our hunt was over. Mattson was astonished to find where it had led, for RA 237, "Investigation of lateral stability with particular reference to rotary stability at large angles of attack," had nothing whatever to do with the subject of Theodorsen's paper. In fact, Mattson noted (and I agreed completely) that RA 237 would have been just about the last place we would have looked for the administrative records of Theodorsen's work. RA 237 covered TR 411 simply because it was an RA which was generally blanketing a number of diverse research projects then being conducted at Langley by the AWT section. Scholars wishing to use the NACA research authorization files may benefit by keeping our experience in mind.

 

Milton Ames Collection

 

A third important collection of historical documents in the Langley archives is the Milton Ames Collection. In the early 1970s Ames, an ex-Langley engineer who had served as chief of aerodynamics at NACA headquarters from 1949 to 1958, began research for what he hoped would be a complete and publishable history of the laboratory. Although he did not achieve his goal, Ames did pull together hundreds of significant documents. Organized into folders which he titled and deposited into seven oversize boxes, the Ames Collection is stored-according to the original box scheme and folder titles-in file cabinets in the LaRC archive.

The Ames Collection is especially enlightening because it was created by an old NACA hand, a product of the institutional culture under investigation. The documents he found significant enough to include for research tell us something about both Ames's identity as a member of the NACA "corporation" and his approach as an engineer to historical understanding. Furthermore, since Ames was one of the NACA's most talented and forward-looking aerodynamicists, his choice of key technical papers for historical examination is very helpful to the nonspecialist.

The entire collection, comprising seven boxes, is outlined below.

 

Contents of Box No. 1

 

WRIGHT BROTHERS

Articles on early flights from
The Croatan Courier, 17 Dec. 1936
Journal of the American Historical Society, Fall 1966
Collier's, 25 Dec. 1948
Air Scoop [Langley in-house newsletter], 22 June 1953
Air Scoop, 22 Dec. 1944
LMAL Bulletin, 18-24 Dec. 1943
Reprint from Above and Beyond, 1968
Folder, Kill Devil Hill National Memorial
Guide to NA CA Historical Sources at Langley
Original army contract with Wright brothers, 1907-1908
Miscellaneous photographs, Wright Flyer

 

ESTABLISHMENT OF BRITISH ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS

Papers, notices, 1909 interim report, 1909-1911 report

 

[575] NEED FOR AN AERONAUTICAL LABORATORY IN AMERICA

From Dr. Zahm's papers, nos. 33, 34, 40, and 54

 

SMITHSONIAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE LANGLEY AERODYNAMICAL LABORATORY

Dr. Zahm's paper no. 53

 

SURVEYS OF AERONAUTICAL LABORATORIES IN EUROPE, 1913-1920

Papers by:
Dr. Zahm, nos. 42, 43, and 55
Dr. Hunsaker, articles from Flying, 1914
William Knight, NACA Technical Note 17, 1920

 

AERONAUTICAL RESEARCH IN CANADA

AGARD paper by J. H. Parkin, June 1955
"First Wind Tunnel Constructed and Placed in Operation," 1919

 

EARLY HISTORY OF AERONAUTICAL RESEARCH IN GERMANY

Schlichting letter listing references Hermann Schlichting, Univ. of Göttingen]

 

MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS ON AVIATION UP TO ESTABLISHMENT OF NACA

Dr. Zahm's paper no. 49
Three memoranda from Lee Dickinson to Milton Ames
Washington newspaper clippings

 

LEGISLATION PERTAINING TO NACA, AND APRIL 1958 SUMMARY

 

ESTABLISHMENT OF NACA

Articles from Flying, April and July 1915
War Department letter calling for first meeting of NACA
Letter from acting chairman to comptroller of Treasury, 27 July 1915
Dr. Walcott letter to Lt. Richardson, 8 April 1915
Letter from first chairman to president, 23 April 1915
Letter from Department of Commerce to Lt. Richardson, 19 October 1915
Miscellaneous papers, 1941-1950

 

NACA MEMBERSHIP, CHAIRMEN, ETC.

Articles from Flying, 1915
Summary of NACA membership, 16 March 1960

 

FIRST MEETING OF NACA

Minutes and photographs of members, 1915

 

LANGLEY SITE SELECTION AND TRANSFER OF LAND TO NACA

 

NACA STATEMENT OF POLICY, OCTOBER 1917, AND EXECUTIVE ORDER DATED 20 MAY 1918

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH THE ARMY RE USE OF LANGLEY FIELD BY NACA, 1919

 

[576] SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT EVENTS IN EARLY HISTORY OF NACA, 1915-1917 (SUMMARY PREPARED DECEMBER 1929)

 

NACA PARIS OFFICE (ESTABLISHED MAY 1919)

 

MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS ON AERONAUTICAL RESEARCH IN USA, 1921-1925

"Aeronautical Research in USA," Edward P. Warner, May 1921
"Making America Independent in the Air," Mechanical Engineering, September 1923
"Aeronautics in the Government-The National Advisory Committee," Charles D. Walcott, June 1925
"A Chronology of U.S. Aviation," Aircraft Year Book, 1949

 

EARLY REVIEWS AND SUMMARIES-NACA AND LANGLEY

NACA library reference listing regarding NACA, Nov. 1943
Early talks by E. R. Sharp regarding origins of NACA and Langley
LMAL chronology through 1933
British view of NACA, by Sir Roy Fedden
John F. Victory interview with representative from Langley AFB historical office, 1944
NACA press release regarding need for national aeronautical policy, 1922
Chapters from various versions of John F. Victory's NACA history:
"History and Development of the NACA"
"Some Direct Accomplishments of the NACA"
"Accomplishments"

 

MISCELLANEOUS LANGLEY BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Murals in the Administration Building
House organization
Miscellaneous papers

 

LANGLEY FIELD, VIRGINIA-HISTORY AND CONSTRUCTION (AIR CORPS VIEWPOINT)

Aviation Edition, Hampton Monitor-July 1918
Commanding officers, Langley Field, 1917-1946
Excerpt from Look Homeward, Angel (reference to construction of Langley Field during World War I)
Photographs-Mitchell bombing results
"Langley Field 1917-1945," Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society, Spring 1965
Colonel Carl F. Greene, AF liaison officer
"Early Langley Field Aircraft," Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society, Fall 1966

 

LANGLEY LAND RECORDS AND DEEDS

Original land records (Elizabeth City County)
Early deeds regarding Langley
Langley plats-photographs of clerk of court's documents
George Wythe birthplace

 

[577] EARLY CONSTRUCTION, LANGLEY RESEARCH STATION

Correspondence regarding White Engineering Company, 1918-1919
Atmospheric Wind Tunnel, papers about land allotment and construction

 

DEDICATION OF LANGLEY (11 JUNE 1920)

Correspondence regarding official opening of the wind tunnel and dedication of the laboratory
Invitation list
Speech of Rear Adm. David W. Taylor
Expenditures for entertainment
Official designation of field station as "Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory"
Photographic copies of 12 July 1920 editions of Newport News (Va.) Daily Press and Times Herald

 

VARIABLE DENSITY WIND TUNNEL-CONSTRUCTION

Land allotment
1924 report on design and operation
Copy of VDT logbook entry, 1 Aug. 1927, regarding wind tunnel fire
1931 and 1935 papers regarding VDT modifications

 

Contents of Box No. 2

 

LANGLEY ORGANIZATION CHARTS

Correspondence on organization, and original organization chart
John Victory's draft chapter, "The Langley Laboratory" (discussing early organization and difficulties with the army)
Folders on papers regarding early organization
Files on Langley organization prior to 1952
Langley organization charts, in order from 1952
Miscellaneous selected files regarding Langley organization

 

LANGLEY PERSONNEL AND PERSONNEL ACTIVITIES

Folder on early personnel
General background material and personnel statistics (complement 1919-1965)
Statistics regarding personnel Personnel
training NACA emblems
Bond drives, etc.
Cafeterias
Green Cow [early social club]
Community cooperation
Activities building and related material
Miscellaneous material on personnel
Recruiting brochures

 

[578] ESTIMATES OF LANGLEY PLANT COSTS

1934 estimates
1936 estimates
1943 estimates

 

ECONOMIC VALUE OF NACA RESEARCH (SUMMARY, 1937)

PRELIMINARY (LANGLEY) DATA ON NACA BUDGET (1915-1952)

EFFORTS TO TRANSFER NACA FROM INDEPENDENT AGENCY TO OTHER AGENCIES

Proposed transfer to Bureau of Standards and War and Navy departments, 1921
Proposed transfer to Commerce Department, 1925
Proposed transfer to Commerce (Bureau of Standards), 1932-1933
McKeller Bill (S-5044), proposed abolishment of NACA and transfer of its laboratories to War Department, 1933

 

LANGLEY INSPECTIONS (ORIGINALLY CALLED MANUFACTURERS' CONFERENCES)

Joseph Ames's papers-First Manufacturers's Conference at Langley, 24 May 1926
Henry Reid's papers-conference books, 1926-1935
Edward P. Warner's proposal for additional industry representatives on NACA committees and subcommittees
Folder on post-World War II inspections and anniversaries

 

Contents of Box No. 3

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC FILES

Early pictures selected from Air Scoop
Miscellaneous photographs, 1919-1935
H. J. E. Reid photographic albums:
1. Flight section
2. Wind tunnel section
Selected correspondence on Langley photographs

 

LOGBOOKS OF EARLY EXHIBITS

LANGLEY VISITORS' REGISTER, 1926-1934

 

Contents of Box No. 4

 

WILBUR WRIGHT MEMORIAL LECTURES

List of lecturers from 1913 through 1935
1918, William F. Durand, "Some Outstanding Problems in Aeronautics"
1923, Joseph Ames, "Relation Between Aeronautics Research and Aircraft Design"
1932, H. E. Wimperis, "New Methods of Research in Aeronautics"
1939, George W. Lewis, "Some Modern Methods of Research in the Problems of Flight"
[579] 1949, Hugh L. Dryden, "The Aeronautical Research Scene: Goals, Methods, and Accomplishments"
1961, Abe Silverstein, "Researches in Space Flight Technology"

 

FOLDERS ON KEY INDIVIDUALS ASSOCIATED WITH LANGLEY HISTORY

Ames, Joseph S.
Dryden, Hugh L.
Durand, William F.
Hunsaker, Jerome C.
Langley, Samuel P.
Lewis, George W.
Lindbergh, Charles A.
Reid, Henry J. E.
Sharp, Edward R.
Stack, John
Thompson, Floyd L.
Victory, John F.
Walcott, Charles D.
Zahm, Albert F.
Biographical material-miscellaneous

 

CLIPPINGS (1925-1930)

1933 HURRICANE

SPECIAL PUBLICATIONS-ANNIVERSARIES, HISTORIES

CONFERENCES, CEREMONIES, INSPECTIONS, VISITORS

ECONOMIC STUDY OF 1933 AND "NOTES ON AVIATION PROGRESS THROUGH RESEARCH"

LANGLEY HISTORY (COLLECTION OF PAPERS AND TALKS ON LANGLEY HISTORY)

MISCELLANEOUS PRESS RELEASES ON LANGLEY RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

MISCELLANEOUS CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING EARLY HEADQUARTERS-LANGLEY RELATIONSHIP

LANGLEY TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES, JAN. 1963 TO MAY 1971

 

Contents of Box No. 5

 

EARLY ENGINE COMPETITION (1920)

FATAL AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT REPORT, JN-6 44946, 20 AUGUST 1924

FORD RELIABILITY TOUR, 1926

CRASH OF THE "AMERICAN LEGION" AT LANGLEY, 26 APRIL 1927

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES DURING 1920s

Early model airplane use
Early noise study
Complaints on early flight reporting
[580] Langley documents on early research programs
Cowling research
Lockheed Air Express
Propeller Research Tunnel
"Little America" (telegram regarding NACA cowling and modified propellers)
Background to boundary-layer-control research
Eastman Jacobs's laminar-flow work
Rotary-wing aircraft

 

NACA PREPARATIONS PRIOR TO WORLD WAR II

Policy regarding laboratory in time of war (George Lewis's memorandum dated 1 Dec. 1936 for chairman of special committee on policy regarding membership of employees in military reserves)

Westover Committee report to NACA chairman, 19 Aug. 1938; subject: Relation of the NACA to national defense in time of war

Initial report of Air Corps-NACA committee making recommendations for priority of research projects in LMAL program, 22 Dec. 1939

Authorization to the NACA's director of aeronautical research from the NACA executive committee to carry out investigations for the army and navy for the duration of the war, and to issue research authorizations as required

John F. Victory letter to NACA laboratories regarding views of high government officials on the NACA, 17 Feb. 1943

NACA library listing of references pertaining to NACA preparation for war and support of World War II

 

LANGLEY CONTRIBUTIONS TO AMES AND LEWIS LABORATORIES

Ames Laboratory
Lewis Laboratory

 

LANGLEY ACTIVITIES DURING WORLD WAR II ERA

NACA studies for U.S. Army Air Forces of factors affecting performance of advanced military aircraft
Langley contributions to controlled bombs
Miscellaneous files, World War II era
Research studies for Army Air Forces and navy on supersonic aircraft (by Macon C. Ellis, Jr., and Clinton E. Brown)
Wallops Island and miscellaneous related material

 

MEAD COMMITTEE INVESTIGATION-ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE

U.S. Senate special committee investigating the national defense program, 1946

 

NATIONAL AERONAUTICAL RESEARCH POLICY, 21 MARCH 1946

POST-WORLD WAR II RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

National program of transonic and supersonic research
Transonic (slotted throat) wind tunnels
[581] Flight research
Research airplane program

 

GAO SURVEY OF NACA, 1953

25TH ANNIVERSARY OF LANGLEY TOWING TANK AND FULL-SCALE WIND TUNNEL, 1956

NATIONAL AWARDS TO LANGLEY

Collier trophies
Air Medal for Herbert Hoover [NACA test pilot] for research airplane flight testing

EXTRA COPIES OF "AIR SCOOP"

MISCELLANEOUS AIRSHIP PHOTOGRAPHS FROM MELVIN N. COUGH

 

 

Contents of Box No. 6

 

AREA RULE AND RICHARD WHITCOMB

LANGLEY CONTRIBUTIONS TO B-58

V /STOL RESEARCH

Summary papers, various authors
Charles Zimmerman's V-173

HIGH-SPEED SUBMARINE "ALBACORE" RESEARCH FOR U.S. NAVY

RESEARCH ON FLEXIBLE WINGS

LANGLEY SPECIAL GROUP ON RESEARCH FOR GUIDED MISSILES

(Only copy of file in existence)

LANGLEY RESEARCH FACILITIES

Wind tunnels, other facilities, and research techniques
Miscellaneous files on facilities

"NACA RESEARCH INTO SPACE," 1957

"ECHO I" AND WILLIAM J. O'SULLIVAN

EARLY MANNED SPACE FLIGHT

1958 proposals
Early Project Mercury articles
Project Mercury tracking range
Mercury astronauts

 

PROJECT APOLLO

Langley contributions
Genesis of lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) concept
Miscellaneous material on LOR concept, including letters from John C. Houbolt to Dr. Robert Seamons
[582] Langley working paper, "Preliminary Geologic Evaluation and Apollo Landing Analysis of Areas Photographed by
Lunar Orbiter II," March 1967

 

Contents of Box No. 7

 

PAPERS AND TALKS RELATING TO HISTORY OF LANGLEY

Papers by Jerome C. Hunsaker, 1941-1942
Talks by John F. Victory, Hugh L. Dryden, Floyd L. Thompson,
Arthur Regier, John Stack, and Axe! Mattson, 1945-1954
Talks by Langley and NACA officials
Talks by Floyd L. Thompson
Talks- Miscellaneous Langley's 50th Anniversary
Floyd L. Thompson's opening remarks
Miscellaneous
Photographs
Anniversary plaque
Miscellaneous publicity information
Outside publications "America's Race for the Moon," story of Apollo Project in New York Times
Miscellaneous technical papers by Langley authors
Langley flight projects reference manual

 

Personal Papers

 

The Floyd L. Thompson Collection. Actually this collection holds more for the space historian than it does for the aeronautical historian. Most of its contents postdate the NACA; they derive from Thompson's term as director of the NASA Langley Research Center, 1960-1968. Box C of this collection, though, contains some important documents on NACA research dating back to the 1930s. (Thompson began working for the NACA at Langley in July 1926.) The entire collection of papers was donated to the LaRC archive in 1980 by Thompson's widow, Mrs. Jean Thompson. The following reproduces Floyd Thompson's own inventory of the subjects of the collection.

 

Box A

 

MORL (Manned Orbital Research Laboratory)
LUNAR ORBITER (historical notes)
APOLLO
MERCURY SCOUT X-15
SST
PASSIVE COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE
LARGE BOOSTERS
MISCELLANEOUS TECHNICAL PROPOSALS AND MEMOS

 

[583] Box B

 

EARLY SPACE PROGRAM PLANNING: MEMOS AND ORGANIZATIONS VISITS AND EVENTS

Mercury
University of Tennessee
ICASE (Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering)-Munich
Martin Plant-Denver, Colorado
University of Michigan
Boeing anniversary
AGARD (Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development, NATO)-Athens, Greece
British flying display
West Coast visits (Boeing, Lockheed).
Miscellaneous

 

NEWPORT NEWS CYCLOTRON AND VARC (Virginia Associated Research Campus)

 

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENTS

Elliot Committee regarding industrial funding
Consultations on aeronautical development
President's Advisory Council on Management Improvement
ARPA workshop, May 1970
NRC panel on hydrodynamics of submerged bodies
NRC panel on submarines
Committee for disposition of NASA artifacts
Test site for space shuttle engine

 

Box C

 

OLD LANGLEY FLIGHT RESEARCH PROGRAMS

HISTORICAL NOTES ON FLYING QUALITIES WORK

OLD CONFERENCE MEMOS AND HISTORICAL NOTES ON DYNAMIC LOADS AND STRUCTURES RESEARCH

TRANSONIC RESEARCH

NOTES, COMMENTS, STATEMENTS ON MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY

AERONAUTICS POLICY, 1970

LANGLEY'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY

ROTARY CLUB TALKS

LOCAL AFFAIRS

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN HONORARY DOCTORATE

WILLIAM AND MARY HONORARY DOCTORATE

[584] RETIREMENT PARTY, 17 OCT. 1968

PERSONAL MATTERS, INCLUDING CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING APPOINTMENT AS CENTER DIRECTOR

NOTES ON OTHER PERSONS

MISCELLANEOUS TECHNICAL REPORTS AND PAPERS

 

Box D

 

COPIES OF PUBLIC TALKS, PUBLICITY STATEMENTS, PHOTOS

LETTER TO NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING

NUMEROUS TECHNICAL ARTICLES AND PAPERS, MOSTLY PUBLISHED

 

The John Stack Collection. This collection is more valuable to the aeronautical historian than is the Thompson collection because it includes a greater number and wider chronological range of older business correspondence and research program files-many of which concern Stack's pioneering work in transonic and supersonic technology. The papers were donated to the Langley archives by Stack's son, Peter, who, like Mrs. Thompson, chose to keep several of the more private letters in the family's possession, at least for the time being. The papers, which are in folders labeled by John Stack, have been organized into sections of file drawers according to categories:

 

Section No. 1

Wind Tunnel Design, Operation, and Test Techniques

 

CROCCO CURVE
KOCHEL ULTRA-SUPERSONIC WIND TUNNEL DEVELOPMENT
NEW TYPES OF TUNNELS
USES OF GAS OTHER THAN AIR IN WIND TUNNELS
HODOCRAPH REPORT
8-FOOT HIGH-SPEED TUNNEL OPERATIONS
SUPERSONIC WIND TUNNEL AT WRIGHT FIELD
4-FOOT SUPERSONIC TUNNEL
MISCELLANEOUS WIND TUNNEL DATA
SPECIAL TYPE TUNNELS-SLOTTED TEST SECTIONS
REPOWERING 16-FOOT HIGH-SPEED TUNNEL
UNITARY PLAN WIND TUNNEL
REVISED UNITARY PROGRAM
GAS DYNAMICS LABORATORY
FLUTTER TUNNEL
[585] SUPERSONIC COMPRESSOR
ABERDEEN SUPERSONIC WIND TUNNEL
MADELUNG HIGH-PRESSURE WATER TUNNEL
PROPOSED AIR ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT CENTER
NATIONAL SUPERSONIC RESEARCH CENTER
ELECTRIC POWER SUPPLY
REFRIGERATION
SCHLIEREN PHOTOGRAPHS
MISCELLANEOUS OPTICAL SYSTEMS SCHLIEREN PHOTOGRAPHS-BRITISH NATIONAL PHYSICAL LABORATORY
AFTERGLOW PHOTOGRAPHS
SPHERE PHOTOS OVER A RANGE OF MACH NUMBERS

 

Section No. 2

Research Problems

 

JET ANALYSIS, INDUCTED
INTERACTION OF SHOCK AND BOUNDARY LAYER
SHROUDED PROPELLERS
DATA ON VARIOUS NACA AIRFOIL SECTIONS
DRAFTS OF STACK'S WRIGHT BROTHERS LECTURE, "COMPRESSIBLE FLOWS IN AERONAUTICS," 17 DEC. 1944
MISCELLANEOUS TECHNICAL REPORTS

 

Section No. 3

Reports of Meetings, Conferences, and Study Groups

 

GAS TURBINE CONFERENCE AT GENERAL ELECTRIC, 1945
HIGH-SPEED AERODYNAMICS CONFERENCE, NACA-NAVY-ARMY, 13 JULY 1945
STACK'S REPORT ON ABERDEEN CONFERENCE, 17 JAN. 1946
AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY MEETING, 25 APRIL 1946
NACA CONFERENCE ON SUPERSONIC AERODYNAMICS, AMES LAB, 4 JUNE 1946
LANGLEY CONFERENCE ON HIGH-SPEED AERODYNAMIC THEORY, 3 FEB. 1947
LANGLEY CONFERENCE ON SUPERSONIC AERODYNAMICS, 19-20 JUNE 1947
AMES CONFERENCE ON SUPERSONIC AERODYNAMICS, 31 AUG. 1948
AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY MEETING, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, DEC. 1949
[586] MISCELLANEOUS CONFERENCE REPORTS
CONFERENCES
MINUTES OF MEETINGS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HIGH-SPEED AERODYNAMICS
COMMITTEE ON ADVANCED STUDY
AD HOC PANEL ON LONG-RANGE AIR-TO-AIR GUIDED MISSILES
DRAPER COMMITTEE
DOD TECHNICAL ADVISORY PANEL ON AERODYNAMICS, AD HOC GROUP ON WATER-BASED AIRCRAFT

 

Section No. 4

Memos and Correspondence

 

HENRY J. E. REID'S TRIP TO EUROPE, 1944
DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGH-SPEED AERONAUTICS DURING WORLD WAR II
RIPARBELLI REPORT
LETTERS FROM COLEMEN DUPONT DONALDSON ON GERMAN SCIENTISTS AT WRIGHT FIELD, 1946
BELL TELEPHONE LAB
PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE
MEMOS FOR ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
LETTERS BETWEEN PROF. CARLO FERRARI, UNIVERSITY OF TURIN, AND ANTONIO FERRI, NACA, 1947-1948
MEMOS ON AIRFOILS MEMO FROM HARTLEY SOULE, 1948
MEMOS FOR FILES
MISCELLANEOUS CORRESPONDENCE

 

Section No. 5

Aircraft Development Projects

 

NORTH AMERICAN P-51
HIGH-SPEED BOMBER PROGRAM, 1945
SUPERSONIC AIRPLANE
PROJECT 506
WATER-BASED AIRCRAFT
REPUBLIC P-47B
[587] B-35 ELEVON
PROPELLER FOR SPITFIRE 21
XP-69 HORIZONTAL TAIL
EAGLE
REPUBLIC AVIATION CORPORATION 5-YEAR PLAN
SUPERSONIC TRANSPORT (SST)
GROUND EFFECTS MACHINES
V/STOL
MUTUAL WEAPONS DEFENSE PROGRAM (MWDP)
VTOL-FAA PROJECT "HUMMINGBIRD"
NATO BRIEFING, 13 OCT. 1960
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE BRIEFING, 28-31 OCT.
1960 TRAINING CENTER FOR EXPERIMENTAL AERODYNAMICS, BRUSSELS
STACK'S TRIPS TO EUROPE ON MWDP, JUNE-OCT. 1959
MISCELLANEOUS DATA FROM 1959 MISCELLANEOUS DATA FROM 1960
CORRESPONDENCE FOR FISCAL YEAR 1961
ITALY'S HYPERSONIC TUNNEL BRITISH
HAWKER P-1127 AIRCRAFT
BE-53 ENGINE DATA INCLUDING SWALLOW AND HAWKER P.1127

 

TFX DEVELOPMENT

HISTORICAL NOTES
SOURCE SELECTION BOARD
CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS
UNITED KINGDOM TSR-2

 

Section No. 6

Miscellaneous

 

MISCELLANEOUS PHOTOGRAPHS

BLUEPRINT DRAWINGS

"STACK'S STUFF," MISCELLANEOUS

 

The Floyd Thompson Technical Library

 

What really makes Langley one of the very best places in the country for research in aeronautical history is the technical library in which the historical archives are located. Besides holding major collections (over 3.8 million volumes) in the physical sciences and engineering with emphasis in aerospace science and technology, aeronautics, structures, materials, acoustics, energy, electronics, and the environment, and [588] besides holding supporting collections in physics, chemistry, mathematics, and management, the library also preserves the complete NACA publications series-over 16,000 reports in more than 1000 bound and nearly 2000 unbound volumes-including Technical Reports (TRs), Technical Notes (TNs), Technical Memorandums (TMs), Wartime Reports (WRs), Aircraft Circulars (ACs), Research Memorandums (RMs), Advance Confidential Reports (ACRs), Advance Restricted Reports (ARRs), Confidential Bulletins (CBs), Restricted Bulletins (RBs), and Memorandum Reports (MRs). (For an analysis of the NACA publications series, see Roland, Model Research, app. G, pp. 551-567.)

What gives the library its unparalleled strength as a place for historical research, though, is the fact that its staff maintains the same index to aeronautical literature that was begun by the NACA in the 1920s. Cards reference tens of thousands of aeronautical papers from all over the world by subject, author, title, and, in the case of NACA reports and research authorizations, by number. Many of these papers are unpublished or classified. This makes the NACA card file one of this country's most treasured guides to aeronautical information. Langley's file is all the more precious because it is the only set extant.

The library is accredited and open to the public.

Photographic Collection. Langley's collection of photographs (housed separately from the library) runs to roughly 100,000 negatives, all of which are logged by date and by subject. The motion picture film collection (part of which is housed in the library and part in the separate photographic laboratory in building 1155) is also extensive, but most of the films are not in any shape to be loaned out for exhibition. There is a subject card file to this motion picture collection.

 

* * *

 

Anyone interested in conducting historical research at Langley should contact Richard T. Layman, Historical Program Coordinator, Mail Stop 123 (telephone 804/865-3688), or Sue K. Seward, reference librarian, Mail Stop 185 (804/865-2634), Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia 23665.


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