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The July 1948 Inspection at the Ames Laboratory highlighted the facility’s new wind tunnels and work on heat transfer and aircraft control systems.


The second biennial Inspection at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory was expanded to two days, on July 13 and 14, 1948.  The program was identical both days, split to accommodate the 886 guests from aircraft manufacturers, airlines, universities, professional societies, Congress, local municipalities, the press, NACA headquarters and the other Laboratories, and the military services.

As with all the Ames Inspections, since there were no hotels nearby, blocks of rooms were reserved for the Inspection guests at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco and at the St. Claire Hotel in San Jose.  Busses transported attendees the twenty miles to the Laboratory.  Before they boarded their busses back to their hotels, the guests were invited to a happy hour at the Moffett Field Officer’s Club.

The event started with a moment of silence for George Lewis, Director of Aeronautical Research for the NACA for 30 years, who died the day before.  The new NACA director of research, Hugh Dryden, reminded the attendees that the Inspection was meant to be a very general look at the aerodynamic work of the NACA, and that the NACA would accelerate the use of specialized conferences on focused topics.  Special guest of honor, Jimmy Doolittle, was sworn in then as a new member of the NACA Main Committee.  Chuck Yeager, who recently broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1, attended to punctuate the role of the NACA in supersonic flight.

Jack Parson again organized the logistics of the events, and engineer Walter Vincenti honed the intellectual structure of the presentations.  He presented a matrix of standard aircraft problems (performance, stability and control, and other problems related to engines and structures) mapped to speed regimes—subsonic, transonic and supersonic.  Again, the emphasis was on the research facilities that Ames was still rapidly building, especially to tackle the problems of supersonic flight.  Guests toured the new wind tunnels—the 16 foot, the 12 foot, the 40 by 80 foot, the 7 by 10 foot, the 6 by 6 supersonic, the 1 by 3 foot supersonic, the low-density wind tunnel, and the flight research hangar—and saw a special presentation on research on air induction.   Ames highlighted its new work on heat transfer at high altitude, as well as its burgeoning agenda on the performance efficiencies of swept wings. Lunch cost $1.75, was served in the new flight research hangar, and the hangar floor was ringed with displays of new instruments and research techniques.

Brochure cover.
Brochure for the 1948 Ames Inspection.

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Man filming engine test.
Ramjet testing behind the Jet Propulsion Static Laboratory (10/23/1946).

1947 Lewis Inspection

The first Inspection at the Cleveland laboratory, held in October 1947, emphasized issues pertaining to post-war development of the turbojet engine.

Model in wind tunnel.
High-speed aircraft in Ames' 40-By 80-Foot Wind Tunnel.

1948 Ames Inspection

The July 1948 Inspection at the Ames Laboratory highlighted the facility’s new wind tunnels and work on heat transfer and aircraft control systems.

Prop engine in AWT.
A General Electric TG-100 turboprop engine in the Altitude Wind Tunnel (1946).

1948 Lewis Inspection

During the September 1948 Inspection, the NACA renamed its Cleveland laboratory in honor of the recently deceased George W. Lewis.

4x4 Display.
Display for Langley's 4-By 4-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel (1949).

1949 Langley Inspection

Langley’s biennial Inspection in May 1949 featured its recent work in high-speed aerodynamics, particularly in the transonic stage.

8x6 compressor.
This compressor produces 13,000 miles per hour air speeds for research in the 8-By 6-Foot 6 Supersonic Wind Tunnel (1949).

1949 Lewis Inspection

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16-Foot High Speed Tunnel
Ames' 16-Foot High Speed Tunnel (1949).

1950 Ames Inspection

The July 1950 biennial Inspection at the Ames Laboratory’s took place shortly after the onset of the Korean War and signaled the beginning of the NACA’s transition into missile and rocket research.

Missile display.
Flutter research display at the Langley Inspection (1951).

1951 Langley Inspection

Langley’s 1951 biennial Inspection addressed tools necessary for transonic research and efforts to transition from manual data computations to mechanical and digital computers.

Aircraft model.
Model in Ames wind tunnel.

1952 Ames Inspection

Increasing Cold War security concerns led to a reduction of technical information on display during the July 1952 Inspection at Ames.

Tunnel display.
Langley 6-Foot Transonic Tunnel exhibit.

1953 Langley Inspection

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Aicraft crash test.
Lewis' Crash Fire Test Program.

1954 Lewis Inspection

The Lewis Laboratory’s June 1954 Inspection emphasized the NACA’s role in the Cold War, while demonstrating the new Propulsion Systems Laboratory and its growing rocket research.

Drive motors.
Drive motors for Ames' Unitary Plan Tunnel.

1955 Ames Inspection

The talks at the June 1955 Inspection of the Ames Laboratory revealed that the more advanced aircraft of the future required the same type of NACA research as previous generations.

10x10 Control Room.
Control room for Lewis' new 10-By 10-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel (1956).

1956 Lewis Inspection

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Model in 10x10.
1957 Lewis Inspection tour stop.

1957 Lewis Inspection

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Aircraft illustration.
Chart used during the 1958 NACA Ames Inspection.

1958 Ames Inspection

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Group photograph.
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1966 Lewis Inspection

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Aircraft engines on display at the 1973 Inspection.

1973 Lewis Inspection

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