NASA Precursor National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Met for First Time 104 Years Ago

By  //  April 29, 2019

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SPACE HISTORY: In 1958, the NACA was chosen as the basis for creating NASA

SPACE PIONEERS: Seated, left to right – Dr. William Durand, Stanford University, California. Dr. S.W. Stratton, Director, Bureau of Standards. Brig.Gen. George P. Scriven, Chief Signal Officer, War Dept. Dr. C.F. Marvin, Chief, United States Weather Bureau Dr. Michael I Pupin, Columbia University, New York. Standing, left to right – Holden C. Richardson, Naval Instructor. Dr. John F. Hayford, Northwestern University, Illinois. Capt. Mark L. Bristol, Director of Naval Aeronautics. Lt. Col. Samuel Reber, Signal Corps. Charge, Aviation Section Also present at the First Meeting but not in the picture: Dr. Joseph S. Ames, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Hon. B. R. Newton, Asst. Secretary of Treasury. (NASA image)

(NASA) – In April 1915, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) met for the first time in Washington, D.C. In 1958, the NACA was chosen as the basis for creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The NACA had been created as a result of a provision attached to the Naval Appropriations Bill that had been passed on March 3, 1915.

President Wilson named a dozen men to serve as unpaid volunteers on the committee.

Their mission was to “direct and conduct research and experimentation in aeronautics, with a view to their practical solution.”

The creation of the NACA was a direct result of the U.S. finding itself far behind Europe in aeronautics at the start of World War I.

Within five years the NACA grew into much more than just an advisory committee as it built a research laboratory, now NASA Langley Research Center, and carried out much of the cutting edge aeronautical research in the United States – often in close collaboration with industry.

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By the late 1920s, the NACA was at the forefront of worldwide aeronautical research and earned the first of five Collier Trophies in 1929. The NACA grew dramatically just before and during World War II.

The NACA research during that period gave U.S. aircraft critically important improvements in performance that were an important advantage in achieving victory during the war.

Following World War II, the NACA pushed the boundaries of high-speed flight and did path-breaking work on rocketry and spaceflight.

In 1958, the NACA was chosen as the basis for creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in session in 1920 at Washington to discuss plans to place America foremost in the development of aviation. A report was heard from Dr. Ames, chairman of the executive committee, on research work to develop the new heavy oil fuel injection aircraft engine which does away with carburetor and spark plugs, and will lessen the fire hazard. Dr. S.W. Stratton, secretary of the committee and director of the Bureau of Standards, is shown seated at the extreme left. Around the table, left to right, are: Prof. Charles F. Marvin, chief of the weather bureau; Dr. John F. Hayford (Northwestern Univ.); Orville Wright; Major Thurman H. Bane (chief Engineer Div. Army); Paul Henderson, (Second Ass. Postmaster Gen.); Rear Adm. W.A. Moffet, Chief Bureau Aeronautics, Navy; Dr. Michael I. Pupin, (Columbia Univ.); Rear Adm. D.W. Taylor, U.S.N. (Chief Bureau Construction and repair); Dr. Charles D. Walcott, chairman, (Chief Air Service) and Dr. Joesph S. Ames, chairman executive committee (John Hopkins Univ.). (NASA image)
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