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Guide to the NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory Records at NARA San Francisco, 1939-1958
Record Group 255.4.1  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The NACA Ames records document a broad range of theoretical work, applied research, and testing related to aeronautics and space technology. Subjects include aerodynamics, airframe problems, flight simulation, instrument development, satellite re-entry, heat transfer and de-icing. It also documents design and wind tunnel testing of such aircraft as the P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning. Also included are records relating to project proposals and research authorizations, minutes of the NACA committees on which Ames staff served, and general administrative matters. The records are primarily central files, consisting of correspondence, data sheets, minutes of meetings, memorandums, specifications, and technical reports. Nontextual records include artwork, engineering drawings, and photographs interfiled with textual records. The general Ames photograph files are still in the Federal Record Center.
Background
The Ames Aeronautical Laboratory was the second laboratory of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA). The NACA was created by act of Congress on March 3, 1915 and charged with the development of aeronautical research and testing facilities to improve both civil and military aviation. By 1917 the NACA had built a fully operational aeronautical research facility called the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory near Norfolk, Virginia. By 1939, American political leaders recognized that the world was heading toward war and that other nations had surpassed the United States in basic aeronautical research. NACA leaders recognized that the Langley laboratory had run out of space for new wind tunnels and was straining the electrical capacity in the area. Thus, the Roosevelt Administration forcefully endorsed a report from the NACA Special Committee on Future Research Facilities, dated December 30, 1938, that argued for the establishment of a second research installation near the West Coast aircraft manufacturers. The tentative site suggested was the U.S. Naval Air Field and Army training base at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, California. On February 3, 1939 President Roosevelt transmitted the $10 million request to Congress for incorporation into the second deficiency bill. A stiff partisan political struggle followed, however, and it was not until August 9, 1939, that the funds were approved as a part of the third deficiency bill.
Restrictions
Copyright does not apply to United States government records. For non-government material, researcher must contact the original creator.
Availability
Collection is open for research.