Category Archives: aviation

Guaranteeing Aeronautical Innovation: Is that Possible?


For the twentieth century no set of technological innovations are more intriguing than those associated with aviation. Perhaps no technological development in this century has more fundamentally transformed human life than the airplane, coupled with its ground support apparatus and … Continue reading

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The NACA Makes the Jet Engine both More Efficient and More Powerful


I have been working on a general history of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor to NASA, and I have been working on a section of jet research in the 1940s and 1950s. Comments on this draft … Continue reading

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The NACA and the Documenting of Progress in Aerodynamics


The aeronautical research that the NACA between 1915 and 1958 undertook found dissemination in a complex set of technical publications that the agency made available to all on an equal basis. Most NACA research was accomplished “in-house” by scientists or … Continue reading

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Model Research in the NACA’s Wind Tunnels (And Some Full-Sized Efforts)


Nearly thirty years ago historian Alex Roland published a very fine history of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) with the main title, Model Research. It was an ironic title, cleverly emphasizing the aeronautical investigations that the NACA undertook … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Plane Queer”


Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants. By Phil Tiemeyer. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. vii + 288 pp., illus., acknowledgments, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 978-0-520-27477-8. $24.95 (paperback). Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS … Continue reading

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The Legacy of William F. Durand


William F. Durand (1859-1958) was of the leading lights in American aeronautics in the first half of the twentieth century. He was also one of several individuals who made the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) a reality, an historical … Continue reading

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Call for Papers: The NACA Centenary: A Symposium on 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development


Call for Papers The NACA Centenary: A Symposium on 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development   The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum and the History Office of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) invite proposals for … Continue reading

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Orvis Nelson and the Transocean Air Lines Experience


One of my favorite research topics over the years has been the rise, fall, and sometime resurrection of non-scheduled air carriers in the middle part of the 20th century. I wrote an article a few years ago on Orvis Nelson, … Continue reading

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The NACA’s Quietly Effective Director of Research: George W. Lewis


I have been researching the early history of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and decided to share some information about one of its formative leaders. Very few people today have heard of George W. Lewis (Mar. 10, 1882-Jul. … Continue reading

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Announcement: Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums Conference, April 11-14, 2014


The Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums Conference is a unique, international meeting starting today in Washington. It focuses specifically on the needs of the air and space museum community and features three days of panel discussions and concurrent sessions. … Continue reading

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