By James Schultz
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Extra resources for Crafting Flight: Aircraft Pioneers and the Contributions of the Men and Women of NASA Langley Research Center (NASA History)
Samuel W. Stratton; Dr. George W. Lewis, director of aeronautical research; and Dr. Charles F. Marvin. NASA Langley photo no. 5 Beginning in 1920, upon his NACA appointment by President Woodrow Wilson, Wright brother Orville took his responsibilities seriously as a Main Committee member. According to biographer Tom Crouch, Orville remained a member of the NACA longer than anyone else in the history of the committee, until his death from a heart attack, on January 30, 1948, at the age of 77. Although, as Crouch notes, while Orville’s As the NACA began its work in Washington, high on the agenda was ﬁnding land on which to build its ﬁrst research laboratory.
Most were aeronautics enthusiasts, interested in all things with wings, rotors, and propellers. In coming to the Laboratory, these aeronautical engineers had not chosen a job, but a vocation. Some approached their labors with an almost religious intensity, working nights and weekends with a zeal of which only devotees are capable. The majority kept regular hours, but were no less enamored with the cause. For many, Langley was a dream come true: here was a one-of-akind research facility where the sky was literally the limit.
We were short of factories, short of pilots, short of know-how. ”8 To confront the daunting technological challenges it faced, Langley Laboratory had to build a professional and support staff from the ground up. Early on, the NACA committed itself to ﬁnding the best and brightest to solve the problems of ﬂight. Langley’s people would matter most as the Laboratory pushed across the uncharted frontiers of aeronautical research. Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory as it appeared in 1918. NASA Langley photo no.
Crafting Flight: Aircraft Pioneers and the Contributions of the Men and Women of NASA Langley Research Center (NASA History) by James Schultz