national laboratory for aeronautical research.Named in honor of
pioneering American sci-entist, Samuel Pierpont Langley, the research centeroccupies
acres of Atlantic Coast waterfront landin Hampton, Virginia. Professor Langley, a brilliantscientist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries,is credited with the first practical demonstration ofunmanned mechanical flight. While Secretary of theSmithsonian Institution in Washington,
he builtand flew a powered model aircraft on May 6, 1896.From the beginning, research
Langley was con-ducted systematically, in ground facilities
notablywind tunnels-and in flight. Airplanes of World War
vintage were the earliest flight research tools. Thefirst Langley wind tunnel, with a test section five feetin diameter, began operating in 1920, but within adecade
was joined by a variety of new, highly spe-cialized tunnels which represented several innova-tions in research equipment design.Early Langley contributions included: the syste-matic development of airfoil shapes; full scaleresearch on propellers; the famous NACA cowling in1929; the precise engineering definition of airplanehandling qualities; research on engine cooling; thedevelopment of superchargers; refinements for air-foils with various kinds of flaps.During the Wold
period, Langley furnishedpersonnel and research techniques to found otherresearch establishments, now important parts of theNational Aeronautics and Space Administration.They include the
Aeronautical studies carried out inwind tunnels at Langley ResearchCenter, on a hypersonic (the nexthigher speed range beyond super-sonic) transport concept.
blended-body-wing model of a hypersoniccruise configured transport is beingexamined in Langley’s 20-inch Hyper-sonic Tunnel.
is being evaluatedunder rigidly controlled conditionsclosely simulating real flight.
Ames Research Center, MoffettField, California; the Lewis Research Center, Cleve-land, Ohio; the Flight Research Center,Edwards,California; and Wallops Station, Wallops Island,Virginia.All comprised the nucleus around which NASAwas formed on October
1958, and all continue toprovide essential research to meet the national goalsin space and aeronautics.The engineering skills and expertise of Langleyand other NACA research laboratories were whollydevoted during World War
militaryairplanes superior in every respect. Langley windtunnels worked around the clock to add to fighterplane speeds by reducing drag. Critical designproblems of engine cooling and cowling were
tackled and solved.The emphasis on speed brought aeronautics to thethreshold of supersonic flight, and led to
jointNASA-military program to build and fly airplanesspecifically intended to produce research informa-tion. One
these -the Bell
-first accom-plished supersonic flight in 1947.Langley also led the way in developing the slottedwall wind tunnel for transonic research, and with
came the “area rule” aircraft design concept forreducing transonic drag.The supersonic transport program which theUnited States is now pursuing had many of its originsin a concentrated Langley research effort to develop