NACA Inspections

Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory


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Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory's third Inspection, on September 20 to 22, 1949, featured the nation's largest supersonic wind tunnel, the brand new 8-by 6-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel. Guides described the tunnel's operation and instrumentation to the guests in detail. The 1949 Inspection was the NACA's first attempt to present the material in a streamlined manner that reduced the amount of technical language and increased the use of visual aids.

During this period, Lewis was concentrating its efforts on the ever-increasing demand for additional engine power, particularly for the military. Just weeks before the Inspection, Lewis appointed Abe Silverstein as Director of Research. Silverstein’s opening remarks stressed the interconnectedness of the laboratory's various research groups in pursuing the laboratory’s mission of "understanding the basic nature of the propulsion process." The tour stops covered issues such as supersonic missile research, afterburners, altitude ignition, high-temperature materials, compressor and turbine work, and rocket fuels.

More than 1200 guests attended the 1949 Inspection—industry one day, military the next, and local businesses the third. Robert Sessions supervised the planning of the event, which included the enlistment of 125 apprentices to construct six protective mounds around the Rocket Lab. Again, the staff could view talks on Friday, and families could tour buildings on Sunday.