AEDC Project Pioneers


What would happen if we could look into the future? If Bob Ansley had told his grade-school classmates that someday he would have a hand in helping a man named Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon's surface and return safely to Earth, they probably would have laughed him off the playground. 

Ansley, who is 81, can look back at his 32-year career as an engineer with AEDC and have the last laugh, but that's getting ahead of the story. 

On Feb. 20, 1962, a bad case of the flu had Ansley at home, recuperating on the couch with the TV on for a special live broadcast. He watched, as millions around the world did that day, as John Glenn lifted off of the launch pad, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. 

Ansley had been working for a telephone company in North Carolina for 10 years as a lead plant engineer. He was responsible for bringing the company's sizeable headquarters and substations up to date with modern heating and air conditioning systems. 

Initially, he had enjoyed the job - designing systems, monitoring the installation, doing the training on them and signing off on the work. It paid well, enough to raise a family and it even enabled him to fulfill a childhood dream of learning to fly an airplane in 1952. 

However, once his work was successfully completed, he had been reassigned to be a service manager. 

The new assignment was not a good fit for a man who enjoyed the complex problem solving engineering demanded. 

"My responsibility was hiring, firing, disciplining and doing technical telephone business which I did not like," he said. 

His brother, Sterling, had started working at AEDC in the early days before the center had evolved into the world-class array of complex flight simulation test facilities with its impressive infrastructure. 

"I had always wanted to be in the aeronautical industry and I already had been talking to my brother at Arnold about a job," he said. "Sterling replied, 'Well if you want to get into the aeronautical business, the best place to come is to AEDC.'" 

Something about being sick at home and watching the coverage of Glenn's flight was the final straw for Ansely. Before the year was out, he was working as a plant engineer in one of Arnold's flight simulation test facilities. 

Ansley said he recalls a lot of excitement as AEDC geared up to enter the space race. 

"When John Kennedy said we're going to the moon within a decade, it quickly became clear there weren't enough test facilities," he said. 

Before Ansley arrived at AEDC, his older brother had been working as a design engineer under the direction of AEDC Fellow Dr. Bernard Goethert on a special project supporting what would become the Apollo program.

"Sterling was in charge of designing a complex test cell for the rocket engines that would power NASA's Lunar Module," Ansley recalled. "Known as the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), it was the portion of the Apollo spacecraft to take two crew members to the surface of the moon and back to the parent spacecraft." 

The test cell was called J-2A and it was designed to fit inside the J-2 test cell, which had originally been designed to test ram jet engines. The new test cell was designed and built specifically for the Apollo program. 

"It was Dr. Goethert's idea to try and simulate space, which is 350,000 feet, where by all definitions, is the threshold of space," Ansley said. "This facility, J2-A, was a very complex test cell. It was designed to simulate that pressure level and as close to absolute zero as possible." 

Ansley had only been on the job for a day or two when he got an unexpected surprise. 

"I went to work one day and that same day I was assigned as plant engineer for this test at J2-A, in October of 1962," he said. "I walked in and they said you've got a test the next day. We were going to test the lunar vehicle's reaction control system. It had these little engines all over it to maneuver it - in quads of four, pointing in all four directions. 

Six months later, Ansley was working as a project engineer with the team to conduct testing on all of the Lunar Lander's propulsion systems, including the ascent engine that would ultimately bring Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin off the moon and back home. 

"Within less than two years I had come from a telephone company to the space business," he said. 

"Here I was doing a performance test on the engine that would get the men back off of the moon's surface, but all of the engineers here had been assembled from all over the country - it was a new industry."
He is also still amazed at the ingenuity it took to build the test cell dedicated to the Apollo project. 

"They took J-2 test cell and made two test cells out of it," he explained. "A rocket engine doesn't require any air. So, they built a big bulkhead dividing the J-2 test cell and actually put the J-2A test cell inside that ducting and then they turned around and made J rocket test cell, J-2SP, which fired upstream and out through a nozzle." 

"So, we had J-2SP which was used for special projects and J-2A which was for ultra-high altitude testing. With J-2 they had to cut the large ducting in half with torches and lift it off and put the J-2A test cell inside it and then weld that ducting back on." 

Ansley vividly recalls the high tempo of testing and the pressure, both literally and figuratively, being exerted on everyone to get it right. When Ansley worked as a plant engineer supporting testing and then as a test project engineer, he shouldered significant responsibilities. He also had to tackle some serious challenges. 

"As a plant engineer, it was my job to see that the tests were running properly," he said. "When you cool something from atmospheric temperatures to minus 320 degrees, cracks form as the material shrinks and expands. So, after about two cycles after I came on board for this test, they were trying to pump J-2A down for the next test and it wouldn't because the test cell's walls had developed so many small cracks."
The team managed to do one test and when they tried to run the next entry, J-2A wouldn't go past 200,000 feet. 

"NASA wanted to bring in the ascent and the descent engine and then a series of small RCS control engines, but we had to fix the test cell first," Ansley said. "We had absolute top priority at AEDC to make it work. We were told to work around the clock until we fixed J-2A. It took us three weeks of practically non-stop work to get it repaired." 

The engineering science of the facility and the challenge of keeping it working properly intrigued Ansley. 

"When you go to 350,000 feet there are so few molecules in the test cell that you can almost count them," he said "And you can't pump them out in the traditional manner - the pumps quit working and you actually have to freeze the molecules. To do that, you use a helium refrigeration system that followed the same basic cycle as an air conditioning system. 

"That's why my experience was applicable, except this was at much lower temperatures. I worked for six months in plant operations and we got the cell back into service where it would attain 350,000 feet on a regular basis." 

With each test, they were exploring new territory in another area as well. 

"In those days no one knew much about the effects such a low temperature and pressure would have on materials going up in space," Ansley explained. "We were finding out the materials we used at that specific temperature and pressure wouldn't work up in space. J-2A was one of the most exotic test units in the world at the time." 

In 1969, the success of the Apollo 11 mission, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's famous lunar landing, brought both a sense of relief and satisfaction to engineers with NASA, AEDC and elsewhere, who had all contributed their time and expertise to the program. However, before long, the space race seemed to end almost as quickly as it had begun, but Ansley still had a role to play in it. 

"There were several other missions to the moon, including Apollo 13, where they had an explosion on board the spacecraft," he said. "It took some on-the-spot engineering here and in the air, in order to figure out how to get those men back alive. They had lost their main engine. So, they had to improvise and use the descent engine which we had tested -as the way to slow down, orbit the Earth and return." 

As emphasis on the space program faded, other concerns took priority. Ansley said challenges arising during the Vietnam War and the continuing threat from the nation's Cold War adversaries on the world stage were forcing the U.S. military to take notice. 

As a U.S. Navy veteran serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Ansley knew first hand about the consequences of a nation playing catch up after being attacked without warning by an aggressive and determined adversary, Japan. 

"The Kamikazes were killing so many people on our ships," he recalled. "I was on a troop transport; we were the replacements. I was also stationed for awhile on the West coast at a naval shipyard, and every dock and every slip on the Pacific coast was filled with ships damaged by the Kamikazes." 

The first wake-up call to develop a new class of jet fighters occurred during the mid-1960s when U.S. Air Force intelligence got an unpleasant surprise. The Soviet Union was busy building a large fighter aircraft, the MiG-25 Foxbat. 

Limitations with armaments carried by the F-4 Phantom II and U.S. Navy's fighters translated to an imbalance in air combat capability between the two Cold War adversaries. 

The Air Force came up with the first version of the F-15 Eagle as the U.S. space race was ending, and Ansley, whether he knew it or not, was waiting to begin ground testing of the Air Force's new warfighter. 


"I am not being humble when I say I've literally stood on the shoulders of giants at AEDC, people who were the very best in their fields," said AEDC Fellow Dick Austin, looking back on the long and sometimes difficult road he has traveled to a successful career. 

Mr. Austin's 35 years at AEDC were marked by a number of outstanding accomplishments, highlighted by his visionary leadership of the center's Propulsion Test and Evaluation Directorate. 

He was the deputy director from 1980 until 1992, serving as the director until his retirement. He played a crucial role in forging government-industry alliances for testing and evaluation of large commercial turbofan engines. Mr. Austin's efforts led to a 20-year alliance with United Technologies Pratt & Whitney, signing an agreement in December 1992 which provided for development testing and certification of the P&W 4000 series engines in ASTF. 

This agreement supported development and certification of the Boeing 777 aircraft; and also led to other alliances and agreements with General Electric, Rolls-Royce and the United Kingdom's Defense Research Agency. These alliance agreements continue to support both military and commercial testing. 

Mr. Austin began his career at AEDC working for ARO Inc., the operating contractor from 1950-1980. He was assigned to the Propulsion Wind Tunnel (PWT) facility after having completed the engineering training program. In PWT he was assigned as a project engineer and was involved in test programs for the Polaris and Titan missiles, the F-111, XB-70 and F-15 aircraft. 

Later he was assigned to the Lorho/Tripltee Facility group where he led the design and development of pilot tunnel facilities used for developing design criteria for large full-scale magneto-hydroynamic hypersonic facilities. 

Mr. Austin accepted an engineering position with the Air Force at AEDC in 1969 and continued his work for the center in that position. 

In his work with the Air Force, Mr. Austin managed a broad range of ground test programs for the Aeronautical Systems Division, headquarterd at Wright-Patterson AFB. These included the F-4E, F-15, B-1B, F-5E, A-10, F-16/17 Light Weight Fighters, Advanced Tactical Fighter (F-22) F119 Joint Fighter Engine program and the Air Launched Cruise Missile. As part of this work, he led AEDC teams in development of independent government ground test plans for these systems. He also represented AEDC in the Air Force Source Selection Evaluations for all of these systems. 

In 1975, Mr. Austin was assigned to the AEDC Plans and Programs Directorate. In his role there he developed AEDC's first Corporate Strategy Plan, formulated a new AEDC mission statement and conceptualized engineering analysis and technical evaluations (analysis & evaluations) as an added dimension of AEDC's mission in support of Air Force weapons development. 

In addition, he established a Flight Test/Ground Test Coordination Activity between AEDC and the Edwards AFB Flight Test Center. In 1980, he was assigned as the Deputy Director of the Engine Test Facility (ETF). In this role, he was responsible for managing the propulsion test contract and protection of the engine test facilities. 

He was also assigned as the U.S. Data Exchange Officer for air breathing and rocket engines with the British, French and German governments. He established a Data Exchange Agreement with the Canadian Government for turbine engines and rockets for which he was awarded a Canadian Medal upon his retirement. 

Mr. Austin's major roles as director of the Propulsion Test activity was the creation of the commercial engine test alliances which continue today and the establishment of the critical need for the J-6 remote rocket test facility. He authored 20 AEDC technical reports and research papers. He was also responsible for critical review for all technical reports created in ETF. 

Mr. Austin, a registered professional engineer, is a graduate of the University of Florida, National Defense University, National War College and George Washington University. He is a U.S. Navy veteran of the Korean War. 

He serves the Salvation Army as a volunteer by sailing medical and school supplies to Cuba, Guatemala and Honduras. He also has a small business involved in inventing devices that are being produced in China where he has a Chinese partner. 

Maintaining a very active life long after retirement is a choice Mr. Austin has made without any reservations. 

"I'd rather burn out because I can't stand the thought of rusting out," he said. 

When asked what he considered the most meaningful accomplishment of his career at AEDC, Mr. Austin did not hesitate with his answer. 

"I think it is knowing that I had a direct involvement in developing the weapon systems that broke the back of communism so that our children and grandchildren do not have to live with that threat," he said. 

Of all the prestigious awards, kudos, plaques, letters of appreciation and accolades, including those from England and Canada, Mr. Austin is particularly proud of the acknowledgement he got from the Air Engineering Metal Trades Union Council (AEMTC) leadership at the end of his AEDC career. 

"When I announced I was going to retire, I got a letter from the AEMTC union thanking me for the leadership I brought to that operation," he said. "There is no accolade I am more proud of than that letter." 

Mr. Austin knew from a very early age what the future held in store for him professionally, or as he often said, "what I would do for an avocation as opposed to a vocation." 

However, the path to a successful career was neither straight nor a certainty. 

After a four-year enlistment in the Navy was up, he disembarked from his ship, the USS Saipan, an aircraft carrier, in Mayport, Fla., after an around-the-world cruise. He hitchhiked, in uniform, down to Gainesville, getting to the University of Florida's campus around midnight. 

When Mr. Austin went to apply for classes and told the admissions secretary he had no school transcripts, she told him he would not be accepted without the paperwork. He was determined to enroll in classes and ended up in front of Dr. Lester Hale's desk. 

Dr. Hale, who was the dean of men at the school, sent Mr. Austin to the local VA for a battery of academic screening tests. To say he did not fare well on the tests was an understatement, but he repeatedly asked to be given a chance to attend the college. 

The dean took the young man under his wing, helping to enroll Mr. Austin into remedial reading and math courses as well as a class on how to study. Once he began his engineering courses, Mr. Austin had found his niche, ultimately making the dean's list each semester. 

When he graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering from the university, Mr. Austin considered it a minor miracle. 

On graduation day, upon hearing his mentor, Dr. Hale, describe the young man's early struggles and the subsequent applause of close to 4,000 in attendance, the Navy veteran of the Korean War broke into tears - grateful to put his hand around his diploma, proof of his hard-earned degree. 

"Most of us know that nobody is ever any more than what somebody expects of them," he said. It was his mentors in the military, during college and ultimately at AEDC, whose expectations pushed him to go beyond his own expectations during his life and career.


Otto Bock of Brentwood, Tenn., is one of the few surviving engineers, scientists and technical specialists the U.S. military brought to Wright Field, Ohio from Germany after World War II as part of Operation Paperclip.

Operation Paperclip was the code name given to the program under which military and U.S. intelligence services extracted German scientists from Nazi German during and after the final phases of World War II. 

Bock came to Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) in 1953, as the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was gaining momentum after the end of World War II in 1945. 

It was a period characterized by an ongoing threat of nuclear conflict and high-stakes technical competition between the two superpowers and their respective allies that lasted until the early 1990s. 

Bock said there wasn't much to AEDC other than a few buildings, blueprints and dirt when he first came to work. 

"AEDC was on paper mainly and some brickwork - that was the extent of it," recalled the 94-year-old research engineer. "Eventually, I was assigned to the von Kármán facility, which was the Gas Dynamics facility at that time." 

The von Kármán facility includes high speed supersonic and hypersonic wind tunnels with speeds up to Mach 12. 

Born in 1914 at Waltringhausen, Germany, it wasn't long before Bock had joined his brother and father working on a farm. After turning 14, he attended a school in Hanover, Germany specializing in agricultural science that included classes in chemistry, lab methods and photography.

Unhappy about the prospect of going into the agricultural field, Bock found his professional calling shortly after he learned about an aerodynamic wind tunnel complex called the Luftfahrt Forschungs Anstalt (LFA) near Braunschweig, Germany. 

Bock said he was literally hired on the spot at the LFA, an aerodynamic research and development installation similar to Arnold, with subsonic and supersonic wind tunnels and gun ranges. His job at the LFA was designing and operating optical hardware for wind tunnels. 

The young man soon honed his technical skills to such a degree at the LFA he was able to convince his boss, Dr. Theodor Zobel, to incorporate his suggested system improvements to finally obtain optical measurements required for testing on military aircraft models and other test articles. 

During the eight years Bock spent at Wright Field he designed and operated various interferometer and schlieren systems and did pioneer work in color schlieren photography, an effort he continued at Arnold. 

Schlieren photography is an optical process used to photograph the flow of fluids, including air, water or glass, of varying density. The German physicist August Toepler invented the process in 1864 to study supersonic motion. Since that time, schlieren photography has been widely used in aeronautical engineering to photograph the flow of air around objects. 

At AEDC, Bock became a key figure in the development of major optical systems for the wind tunnels and aeroballistic ranges of the center's von Kármán Gas Dynamics Facility. 

He combined optical, photographic, electronic and mechanical systems to provide data quality "stop action" photographs of projectiles moving at speeds of up to 14,000 miles an hour at AEDC's 1,000-foot underground hyperballistic range. He was involved in the design and implementation of shadowgraph, schlieren and photopyrometry systems for AEDC's aeroballistic ranges. 

"All of his major designs, and the successes achieved as a result of them, reflect Otto Bock's unusual scientific skill and diligence," said Dr. J. Leith Potter, former deputy director of the facility. 

Bock's knowledge of optics and high-speed photographic instrumentation has been shared widely in the U.S. and abroad, through consultation work with industry and with other Air Force and government installations. His work also has been cited in a government textbook on high-speed photography. 

Bock was also a consultant with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development at L'Institut de Saint Louis in France and at the National Physical Laboratory and Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment in England. He did consultant work in his native Germany as well and has participated in several international congresses on high-speed photography.


Arthur "John" Cable was inducted as an AEDC Fellow in 1992, receiving the honor for his significant, outstanding technical and leadership contributions in development of world-class ballistic test facilities at AEDC. With 43 years of noteworthy achievements, Mr. Cable was widely recognized as one of the worlds leading authorities in aeroballistic range design and development. 

A native of Salisbury, England, Mr. Cable received his bachelor's and master's degrees in aeronautical engineering from the University of Bristol in England. Before beginning a 30-year career at AEDC, Mr. Cable worked at the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment in the United Kingdom before immigrating to the U.S. 

Mr. Cable's technical and leadership contributions in the development and upgrade of AEDC's ballistic ranges played a significant role in enhancing AEDC's test capabilities. He joined AEDC in December of 1963, serving as a supervisor of range operations launch systems and in 1970 he was appointed supervisor of range operations for Sverdrup Technologies, Inc. 

In 1976, Mr. Cable earned a master's degree in engineering administration from the University of Tennessee Space Institute and two years later he became a state-registered engineer. During his career, he authored or co-authored more than 50 published papers, journal articles and AEDC technical reports. 

Instrumental in organizing the world-renowned Aeroballistics Range Association (ARA), Mr. Cable served as chairman of the association from 1977 to 1979. By 1992, the organization had grown from three U.S. charter members in 1961 to 63 organizations from 20 countries. In 1985, ARA awarded Mr. Cable its initial Ballistic Award for technical achievements and advancement of ballistic range technologies worldwide. 

Through Mr. Cable's technical leadership, techniques have been developed to allow separate measurements of quantities of material ablated by chemical effects and by mechanical erosion from clear air or ice crystal/cloud/dust-particle environments. These data sets have provided the basis for major advancements in development and validation of today's reentry vehicle ablation and erosion codes. 

Mr. Cable's leadership and technical expertise also led to a major breakthrough for the range/track system, the measurement of boundary layer transition distances on the nosetips of reentry materials that were then tested in actual reentry conditions. Another success for Mr. Cable was validation of transpiration cooled nosetip designs, including repeat flights and recoveries 

From 1980 to 1990, Mr. Cable was a range operations supervisor and in 1989 he began leading a team in a $13.3 million upgrade of the Range G launcher, track and recovery systems, designed to further advance AEDC in "soft" impact launch and wake physics capabilities. 

Mr. Cable was actively involved in the community and worked with the Boy Scouts for 15 years. In 1979, Cable and his wife, Julie Maxfield Cable, received the Lamb Award by the Department of National Youth Agency Relationships of the Lutheran Council in the U.S. Cable and his wife were also instrumental in the formation of the Tullahoma branch of Habitat for Humanity in 1988, for which he acted as treasurer until 1993. 

Mr. Cable passed away in November 2001.


In the last 40 years, the U.S. has worked to develop hypersonic technologies which would permit sustained atmospheric flight. At AEDC, engineers like Dr. E. Eugene Callens have played a key role in the development of state-of-the-art test techniques and facilities for ground hypervelocity testing under extreme aerothermal conditions. 

Virtually every high-speed flight vehicle has required testing in AEDC's Tunnels A, B and C, from reentry and tactical vehicles and space capsules, to the X-planes and winged vehicles. Dr. Callens, who was a key player in integrating advanced technologies into operational test capabilities, had early involvement in specific projects ranging from the unique AEDC's Hypervelocity Track G Guided Rail Facility to the design of Electromagnetic Launchers (EML). 

While at the center, he was responsible for all research and development and test programs in the Aeroballistics Branch of the von Karman Gas Dynamics Facility. He managed engineering and support personnel for approximately 150 test and technology projects during 1978-83. He worked on test programs that include work for MX Impactor Technology Program (ITP) and Miniature Vehicle (MV) for the Air Force; Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE) and Hypervelocity Penetrator for the Army; Improved Accuracy Program (IAP) and Materials Spallation Study for the Navy; Galileo Probe for NASA; and Advanced Materials Screening for the Defense Nuclear Agency. 

Dr. Callens worked in aerothermodynamics, hypersonic flow, wake phenomenology and hypervelocity erosion. He was recognized for his ability to design and implement research programs with the goal of providing new technology, including mathematical and experimental modeling of physical processes as well as development of test procedures and methods of data acquisition, reduction and analysis. He was responsible for accurately forecasting future technology needs, obtaining support for proposed research programs to satisfy these needs and managing developmental program to an operational capability. 

Dr. Callens has more than 35 years experience in aerospace test and technology project management, 17 of those years at AEDC. He was an engineering manager with Calspan Field Services, Inc. (1981-83) and ARO, Inc. (1968-81) at AEDC. 

He earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in aeronautical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1962 and 1964, respectively. He earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 1976 and a diploma with honors from the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, Rhode-Saint-Genese, Belgium, in 1967. 

He was awarded the von Karman Prize for outstanding research in hypersonic, separated flow phenomena by the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, Rhode-Saint-Genese, Belgium in 1967. He was recognized for his outstanding research achievements when he won the General H. H. Arnold Award from the Tennessee Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in 1974 for outstanding contributions to aerospace sciences and development of snow erosion testing techniques. 

Additionally, as chairman of the Tennessee Section of AIAA, he received the Outstanding Section Award in 1984. 

He left AEDC in 1983 for Louisiana Tech University where he taught courses that included fluid mechanics, gas dynamics, heat transfer, aerothermodynamics and many other engineering courses for the last 23 years. In 1983, his first position at Tech was an associate professor of mechanical engineering. In 1994, he was appointed the interim department head of mechanical and Industrial Engineering. He became the Academic Director for Mechanical Engineering, industrial engineering and biomedical engineering programs in 1996. 

In 1997, he obtained the position as the academic director for mathematics and statistics and was appointed to be the associate director of the Institute for Micromanufacturing from 1998-2001. 

From 2004-2006, he was the James F. Naylor Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering. During this time in academia, he continued his association with the Department of Defense and NASA, conducting research at the NASA Stennis Space Center in the area of gas sampling and particle characterization techniques for rocket engine exhaust plume measurements and conducting research at the Air Force Armament Directorate at Eglin AFB, Fla., in the area of terminal ballistics phenomenology. 

He served as the principal investigator for an Air Force Office of Scientific Research-sponsored research project to investigate the effects of penetrator and target material properties on impact crater characteristics and as project director and principal investigator in the development of an automated, internal thread gaging system for Morton Thiokol, Inc. during 1984-1991. This state-of-the-art system satisfies a critical need in industry for on-line, real-time internal thread gaging. For this work, he received U.S. and Canadian patents for this system as first inventor. 

Furthermore, he served as the project director and principal investigator in the design of an overpressure and ballistic impact protection system for the NASA Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) during 1986 to 1990. This design incorporates state-of-the-art lightweight, high performance ceramic/composite armor in the protection of the nuclear power generators used on deep space probes. 

He is the author or co-author of 44 technical reports. 

Upon his retirement from the university in June 2006, Dr. Callens was appointed Professor Emeritus.


Maj. Gen. Franklin Otis Carroll is widely known for being the first AEDC commander, but his contributions to the center are far greater. 

"General Carroll personified the vision and tenacity it took to make technology and testing a central focus within the Air Force," said Gen. Ronald Yates, former commander for Air Force Systems Command and Air Force Materiel Command at the Carroll Building renaming dedication in 1991. "Without his foresight and commitment, we might not be standing here today. We're here today only because he fought for AEDC in the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and in every other corner of government that he thought could make this become a reality." 

Born Feb. 10, 1893 in Washington, Ind., he attended the University of Illinois at Champaign, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1915. 

He was quickly called to active duty after graduation with the 101st Illinois Volunteer Calvary, Illinois Guard and served with General Pershing's Expeditionary Force searching for Poncho Villa. 

After returning home for a short three weeks, he was recalled to active duty when his State Guard Unit reactivated and was assigned to Officer's Training School at Fort Sheridan, Ill. There he volunteered for the Signal Corps, Aviation Section and in late 1916 was sent to Kelly Field in San Antonio, for flight training. He became a pilot instructor in his remaining time at Kelly Field in 1918. General Carroll attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1920 where he earned an advanced engineering degree in aeronautical engineering. 

Except for occasional assignments elsewhere, General Carroll spent a significant part of his career at Wright Field. These were exciting times at Wright Field witnessing a revolution in aircraft design, materials, manufacturing and performance. Many may not realize it but General Carroll summoned a world-renowned aerodynamicist by the name of Dr. Theodore von Kármán to Wright Field to explain to senior officers whether it was possible to design and build a plane that could fly 1,000 miles per hour. 

At Wright Field, General Carroll was chief of the engineering division, a position that gave him a say on every major experimental and engineering project during World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, General Carroll approved the creation of new laboratories for aero medical research, communications and navigation and radar. He oversaw plans that expanded Wright Field's experimental facilities, including the world's most powerful wind tunnel and other tunnels for vertical, transonic and supersonic testing of aircraft and associated equipment and components.

In 1949, he became the first commanding general of the Air Engineering Development Division, established to oversee the creation of AEDC, which in 1951 was rededicated as AEDC. While here, General Carroll oversaw the center during its construction and early operation. 

He retired from the Air Force in 1953 after 41 years of service. General Carroll passed away in 1988 at the age of 95. 

Among his many medals, General Carroll held the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the World War I Victory Medal, the Mexican Border Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Asian-Pacific Theater Medal and the Occupational Medal (Japan). 

The Engineering Analysis Facility (EAF) was dedicated June 21, 1991 in honor of General Carroll. The $14.7 million, 126,000 square foot facility has office space to approximately 600 operating contractor personnel. The Carroll Building provides AEDC with centralized engineering analysis and computer operations. These operations were spread across the base before the establishment of the building.


Shortly after 16-year-old Milt Davis, Sr. graduated from high school in 1942 and started working at his first "real" job; he knew the career he wanted to pursue. That first job, an under-aircraft model maker at National Advisor Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor to NASA, lasted only six months, but it set the stage for a 40-year career in wind tunnel testing, design and development at the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) and other places in the U.S. and abroad where cutting-edge aeronautical and aerodynamic research and ground testing was conducted. 

Davis was one of eight children born to a father who was a Colorado rancher and a mother who took her children's education very seriously. His mother ensured her children had the best education, wherever it was locally available. Davis vividly recalled attending one school in rural Colorado that he jokingly referred to as the "smallest school in the United States." 

When he turned 16, he sold his horse, borrowed $50 from his father and headed across the country to Langley, Va., to begin that first job as a wind tunnel technician at NACA. The trip took him a long way from home, and it also introduced him to a new world he was soon to enter in earnest. 

"I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer and work in wind tunnels," he said, recalling how he had learned of that first job at NACA, which had included Orville Wright as one of the organization's original founders. "It was advertised in the Model Airplane News. I applied for a job; they sent me a wire that said 'You're hired.'" 

Six months later, Davis returned home to attend college. World War II had begun less than two years before, and, shortly after turning 18, he joined the Navy. 

"I served in the V5 and V12 programs, Navy ROTC and I graduated from Georgia Tech as an ensign in 1946," he recalled. He started out training to become a pilot, but later the Navy transferred him to a curriculum geared for officers who would serve in the surface Navy. He ended up with two bachelor's degrees from Georgia Tech, one in basic engineering and the other in aeronautical engineering. 

Prior to attending Georgia Tech, he had taken calculus courses at a couple of what were then referred to as teacher's colleges, one in Kansas and another in Colorado. Although he had high scores, Georgia Tech officials strongly advised him to retake the same math courses. They knew Georgia Tech's math curriculum was more demanding than what he had experienced in the other schools. But Davis didn't want to waste time.
"I insisted on going on, and, as a consequence, I got a bachelor's degree in basic engineering in '46 and another bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in '48," he said. 

At age 21 he married his wife Valerie and they were soon raising a family. He went to work for United Aircraft Corp, in East Hartford, Conn. Jets had just begun to revolutionize the aircraft industry and it was his job to help conduct wind tunnel testing on propellers in an effort to compete with the emerging threat of jet engines. 

Three years later, despite all the company's efforts, physics proved the futility of trying to get propellers to keep up with the speeds jets provided. Davis then went to work for the Sandia Corp., in what he described as the engineering arm of the nuclear weapon triad. 

"I was in the wind tunnel group that was responsible for the aerodynamics of nuclear weapons. We were in the early throes of developing a thermonuclear, two-stage weapon - a hydrogen bomb." 

In 1957 he came to AEDC, initially working for Heinrich Ramm, one of a core of scientists originally from Peenemunde, Germany's premiere scientific wind tunnel complex during World War II that conducted testing on the V2 rocket. 

He went to work at the 16S wind tunnel, which was in the midst of being built. 

"It had all been designed by Sverdrup and Parcel," he said. "We were working with the (Army) Corps of Engineers to construct it. We eventually, through the leadership of Dick Rebmann, AEDC fellow Rudy Hensel and Herman Collier and others, brought the tunnel into calibration." 

Davis bluntly explained the challenge of working at PWT, saying, "The biggest supersonic wind tunnel, until they built the 16-foot supersonic wind tunnel, was about 24 inches. They would have been better off if they had built some intermediate sized ones before they went full scale. Heinrich Ramm had built the 20-inch or so tunnel at Peenemunde (Germany) where they developed the V2 rocket. He jumped from that to the head of the supersonic branch under Rudy Hensel, who had worked with Dr. Theodore von Kármán." 

To prove he was up to the challenge of working at 16S, he was tasked to conduct an aerodynamic test on the T-38 (Talon jet trainer) in the center's 16-foot transonic tunnel. "They thought I had to at least do that in order to get educated on how to run tests in large wind tunnels." 

A sense of pride, tempered by a desire to properly credit his co-workers and those who worked for him at AEDC, is evident when Davis is asked what he considers his greatest accomplishments. Bringing 16S into operation was one highlight of his career. He described the design of 16SÕs nozzle as an "engineering miracle." He is particularly proud of being "the father" of 4T, but he also listed a long list of former and current AEDCers who all played an important role in the development and success of 4T and the other facilities he worked on. 

AEDC Fellow Dr. Edward Kraft considers Davis the center's premiere expert on the design and operation of wind tunnels. "Mr. Davis has been involved in more wind tunnel design studies than perhaps anyone in the country," he said. 

In 1988, Davis retired from AEDC and went to South Africa to teach a Sverdrup-sponsored course on basic wind tunnel aerodynamics to young engineers with the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. 

He remained in South Africa for a year and a half, as a consultant to CSIR for Davis Engineering, his own company. 

"I've been working for Davis Engineering ever since, whenever I can get a job," he said, adding, "I've been back to AEDC on several consulting contracts, as Davis Engineering." 

In 1999 and 2000, his most recent work for AEDC involved researching, documenting and publishing all of his colleague's corporate knowledge of the 16S wind tunnel. 

"All of that corporate knowledge has been almost lost because the people have retired, died or moved away," he said. 

Milt Davis Sr.'s legacy goes beyond his accomplishments with advances in wind tunnel design, development and research. His son, Milt Davis, Jr. and grandson, Chris Davis, both work for Aerospace Testing Alliance at AEDC. 

Milt Davis, Jr., who has a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech, is a gas turbine propulsion analyst and project manager working in the computational modeling and simulation section of the Applied Technology Branch of the Integrated Testing and Evaluation Department. Chris Davis is a computer scientist also working in the Applied Technology Branch supporting data acquisition and aiding in developing new test acquisition techniques.


When Robert Dietz came to AEDC in 1952 much of the center's 4,000 acres looked more like a massive construction site than a flight simulation testing complex. 

Looking back, he acknowledges AEDC's transformation has been dramatic, and he is proud to have been a part of that process. 

For more than 28 years, he played a major role in the planning, growth, operation and accomplishments of the center. 

Now at 83, Mr. Dietz is still amazed at how the road he traveled has led to a life full of memorable experiences and marked by significant professional and personal achievements. 

Some people might attribute such successes in life to good fortune - being the right person in the right place at the right time. He sees things a little differently. He credits it to a higher power. 

Born at home and raised in St. Louis during the height of the Great Depression, Mr. Dietz was eager to learn from a young age and blessed with the potential to make the best of superb schools and excellent teachers. It wasn't long before he realized engineering lay in his future. 

"I remember one teacher in particular, her name was Mrs. Shapiro," he said. "She didn't put up with any nonsense, she expected you to do your work." 

An aptitude for drafting and mathematics during high school provided skills that would serve him well throughout his college years and professional life. His engineering expertise and an instinctive sense of knowing when to be "a meddler" enabled him to make lasting contributions during a career that began with some unexpected twists and turns. 

Upon graduating near the top of his class at the University of Missouri-Rolla, Mr. Dietz initially accepted a job with an oil firm, but he found it impossible to resist a better offer when it came along. He interviewed for a coveted research engineering position at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and was shocked he was hired. He soon found himself burning the midnight oil in a control room at the agency's Lewis Propulsion Lab in Cleveland, Ohio. 

During the final months of World War II, Mr. Dietz and other young engineers at Lewis had been working late into the night and early morning to solve a frustrating problem, which was hampering the mission to force Japan to submit to an unconditional surrender. They were in the midst of trying to figure out why the engine powering the B-29 Superfortress was coming apart during takeoffs with a full load of ordnance. Pilots had been forced to ditch some of the planes at sea with the loss of all on board - events which haunted the young engineer's dreams. 

It was at this time when Mr. Dietz learned a lot about taking a hands-on, but diplomatic, approach to a challenge from a man who had a reputation for getting things done. That individual was General of the Air Force Henry H. Hap Arnold. At 2 a.m., General Arnold walked into where the team was working the problem and after a brief introduction, addressed the men, saying, "Boys, we need this airplane in the Pacific. Let's make it work." 

Those words had a profound effect on the team. They succeeded in solving the problem with the plane's engines. The planes were able to make their bombing runs, completing the flight from the Marianas Islands to Tokyo and back. The dreaded invasion of the Japanese mainland never materialized, and the war soon ended. 

His experience at Lewis left a powerful impression on the young college graduate. Mr. Dietz acknowledged the excellent mentoring he received throughout his career from his peers and the vital role played by competent supervisors. 

"Even as a junior engineer when I took the first job at NACA, I was working with geniuses," he said. "They were teaching me all the time." 

In 1950, AEDC and the Engine Test Facility (ETF) were no more than preliminary blueprints and an idea in the heads of scientists, engineers and senior planners. Mr. Dietz was in St. Louis and working for Arnold Research Organization (ARO), the first support contractor for AEDC. He was already busy tackling the challenge of taking ETF from a concept to a fully functional facility for testing propulsion systems, including turbojet and turbofan air breathing engines and ramjets. 

From the beginning, serious challenges kept the team working on ETF very busy. He took the lead in helping the team to overcome a major problem early on with airflow instability in the facility. 

"I assigned a junior-level engineer and suggested to him that by applying the Reynolds number at sea level to a model built from quarter-inch plastic would be just right for studying the air flow in those chambers that the designer had put in ETF," he said. 

Mr. Dietz moved up to become a manager on the chief engineer's staff. He was responsible for the technical direction of approximately 400 engineers and support personnel. He also managed the team's administrative, labor and grievance issues. 

In 1957, he moved from ARO to become AEDC's government chief of the advanced study group. That same year Dr. Theodore von Kármán spent a few weeks at AEDC and personally delivered a series of lectures on gas dynamics. Mr. Dietz attended every class, and he encouraged every one of his team's subordinates and peers to attend as well. 

"He was able to teach in a way that was interesting as hell," he said. "And you didn't need to ask him many questions, you just needed to listen carefully. He was really a good teacher, no question about it." 

From 1966 to 1970, Mr. Dietz made significant contributions to the future of aeronautical and aerospace engineering during his five years as director of the von Kármán Institute (VKI) for Fluid Dynamics in Belgium. His work at VKI earned him the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. 

Mr. Dietz returned to AEDC in 1970 and became the director of technology. His efforts resulted in improved management of research within the operating contract, and they significantly upgraded the response to Air Force requirements. 

Then, as the center's deputy of planning, he participated in the successful drive to plan, design, develop, promote and help find funding for what became the Aeropropulsion Systems Test Facility (ASTF). 

Throughout his career, Mr. Dietz made a significant impact both nationally and internationally as a participant in a number of important organizations. From 1971 to 1980, he was a U.S. representative to the NATO Advisory Group on Aeronautical Research and Development's Fluid Dynamics Panel and later served as chairman for the organization's wind tunnel working group. 

He also served as the U.S. project officer for the DoD data exchange agreements with West Germany and France. Mr. Dietz has authored more than 34 technical reports on a wide variety of topics, including one on the performance requirements for the basic design of the Mark I Space Chamber. 

He played a key role in developing and advocating the country's needs for an advanced transonic aerodynamics testing capability. This effort culminated in construction of the National Transonic Facility at NASA's Langley Research Center. 

Mr. Dietz was among the first of those inducted as AEDC Fellows in June 1989.


Bill Earheart passed away on July 27 after a battle with cancer. I only really got to know him after he retired from the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC). 

He was the saxophone player in a music group at Trinity Lutheran Church in Tullahoma with my wife, who was the keyboardist for the group. I soon found out that he made wonderful music with his sax. I also knew that he had wired much of the church's sound system and was an avid ham radio operator. 

It wasn't until I talked to his lifelong friend, AEDC Fellow Robert "Bob" E. Smith Jr., at his funeral visitation that the full scope of the important role he quietly played at AEDC came into view. 

Bill Earheart and Bob Smith grew up in Pulaski, Tenn. They attended public school together, attended Vanderbilt University together, were both married the same week (served as each other's Best Man) and started work for ARO (Arnold Research Organization) at AEDC the same day. They were the second and third AEDC employees to celebrate 40 years of employment at the center in 1991. 

During their professional careers both became recognized experts at what they did but in different fields. Smith's was testing jet engines, Bill's was electronics. 

Bob even told me a story about how, as kids, Bill had built an instrument to measure how much electric voltage they could hold on to. The instrument was the size of a cigar box with two electrodes and a variable power supply. One boy held on to the electrodes with pliers while the other slowly increased the voltage until the shockee had to turn loose. After lots of highly competitive practice, either could hold up to 90 volts. Something our safety folks would have a coronary about today. 

Early on at AEDC, Bill was tasked to redesign the control system for the variable geometry flex plate nozzle for the von K‡rm‡n Gas Dynamics Facility's supersonic tunnel A. The original control system did not provide the required positioning accuracy and caused failure of one of the critical flex plates. 

He completely redesigned the original system and incorporated the most advanced, state-of-the-art, electronic components to achieve the required control accuracy. The dozens of modules required for the Tunnel A nozzle were constructed by AEDC technicians under Bill's direction. The accuracy of this control system was better than that of then available commercial systems. Bill's design stood the test of time for four decades according to AEDC Fellow Jerry Jones who worked with Bill in Tunnel A in the early years. 

AEDC had the first of the second-generation computers installed anywhere in the country -- the ERA 1102s. Each major test facility had one. The memory module in VKF failed, and the manufacturer determined that it was not repairable. Bill rose to the challenge once again and conceived a new memory module that restored this critical computer to operational service. 

Chuck Schuler, a retired AEDC engineer, recalls that the big Schlieren system in Tunnel A, that allowed engineers to look at the shock waves coming off the model being tested, vibrated causing a fuzzy image. The mirrors were so big and heavy that it proved impossible, despite several efforts, to reduce the vibration to an acceptable level. 

Bill once again accepted the challenge. His solution was to let them vibrate and to add an electronic shaker to the beam splitter (knife edge) in the optics so that the splitter moved exactly in phase with the mirrors. This synchronized movement produced a sharp image critical to understanding the flight characteristics of the model in the wind tunnel. 

Bill's solution predated image stabilization in today's digital cameras and camcorders that operate on a similar principle by almost 50 years. 

According to retired AEDC engineer Jim Thompson, after Bill moved to ETF as a manager he continued to play a significant role and was the key player in getting the first PC workstations installed throughout ETF. "He was a systems guy all the way," Mr. Thompson said. 

Throughout his life Bill had a love of music. He was a very good musician and could have had a career in music had he chosen to. Bill was a perfectionist in all he did, including his music. He told my wife that all he expected from anyone was their very best, and if it wasn't good enough, don't bother. He had the praise team band striving for the same perfection.

He would often give other musicians a distinctive Bill Earheart look if they played a wrong note or were out of sync. He was famous for that look. 

His daughter Janice of Memphis, Tenn. told me that her dad never spanked her, but with that look he made her feel bad that she had not behaved. She said that he would never ask anyone to do something that he could not do himself. 

His son, William Thaxton Earheart III, who plays keyboard for Hank Williams Jr., said his real regret is that he never got his dad into a recording studio to record any of his music. 

Bill played his sax from elementary school on. He and Bob Smith wound up playing in the same band all the way through college and beyond. Smith played the trumpet. Even at AEDC Earheart played with Opal Wieners Band and the South Jackson Street Band. And he often played at the then AEDC Officers' Club. For the last 10 years he played with Tullahoma's Trinity Lutheran Church Praise Team Band. 

I remarked to Bob Smith that I had really enjoyed hearing Bill play sax even when the Trinity Praise Band was just practicing. Bob said, "That was nothing new; students used to bring their books and just listen to the small band that he and Bill were in at Vanderbilt University when they practiced, just to hear Bill play the sax." 

For 40 years he quietly, with little fanfare, played a key role behind the scenes at AEDC, insisting on perfection from himself and those around him. 

The work he did at AEDC played a key role in establishing AEDC's role and worldwide reputation. He was an AEDC hero who would have made General of the Air Force Hap Arnold proud.


AEDC Fellow Donald Eastman's AEDC career started in 1951 as the assistant chief of the project office when he began working on design and construction of wind tunnand engine altitude test facilities. 

By the time he retired in 1975 as AEDC's chief scientist, his technical involvement successfully contributed to the establishment of the Propulsion Wind Tunnel (PWT) complex, the Engine Test Facility (ETF) and the von Kármán Gas Dynamics facility. During his career, he was involved in technical management, research and development programs and development testing activities in wind tunnels, altitude engine testing facilitiesand space environment facilities for aircraft missiles, spacecraft and their propulsion systems. Specifically, he was responsible for the Air Force decision to build the PWT transonic and supersonic wind tunnels with16-foot rather than eight-foot sections. 

Mr. Eastman, who earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering at Georgia Tech, contributed firsthand to the conceptual planning of AEDC while assigned to the Office of Secretary of Defense, serving from 1947 to 1951, as the director of committee on Aeronautics, Research and Development Board. 

He also participated in the design, construction, operations, and future planning of the center while in several key positions. From 1951-53, he was the assistant chief of the Projects Office. In 1954, he was promoted to the director of test operations and held that position until 1957 when we was assigned as AEDC's technical director. In 1961, he became AEDC's director of research and in 1964, he was named the center's chief scientist. 

He was at the forefront of critical decisions during the construction phase and initial operations of AEDC. For example, just after the ETF basic plant became operational in 1954, the DoD reviewed the process and was not complimentary in their evaluation. Mr.Eastman spearheaded a successful effort for funds and approval by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Develop for the Air Force to construct an ETF addition  -  test cells J-1 and J-2. 

While many people contributed to the building of the Aeropropulsion Systems Test Facility (ASTF), Mr. Eastman played a major role. As the AEDC chief scientist. He presented, advocated and defended ASTF at more than 30 high level meetings. At one particular Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting attended by the Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Staff, SAF members and others, the conclusion was reached that ASTF should not be built and the NASA Lewis Research Center should be augmented for additional test capability. 

Mr. Eastman strongly objected to this conclusion pointing out the fallacies of such a decision. As a result, the "Kerrebrock" committee was formed and after a thorough review of the requirements, the committee concluded that the ASTF should indeed be built and should be built at AEDC. 

Mr. Eastman was exceptionally well-known for his management capability.  He was well-respected by his superiors, peers and subordinates alike and was responsible for making many top-level management decisions. While he was deputy chief of staff for operations,Mr. Eastman was responsible for the concept of the Air Force representatives being assigned to the major test complexes at the center, a system which continues today. 

Mr. Eastman was instrumental in the establishment of data exchange agreements with European allies - leading the effort to establish five agreements - one with England, two with France, one with Germany, and one joint agreement with France and Germany. 

He was a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the University of Tennessee Space Institute Advisory Council. In addition, he was a member of the Technical Advisory Group to former Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper. 

He was inducted as an AEDC Fellow in June 1989.


When Robert "Bob" Haynes graduated from the University of Maine in 1952, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his future. One thing he knew for sure was that he was going to be drafted into the United States Army because of the Korean War, so everything else was put on hold. 

Instead of going to Korea, in January 1953, he found himself at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., training at the U.S. Army Ordinance Guidance Missile School as an instructor. From this point on he was intrigued by missiles and rockets. 

"At this point I knew I was hooked," he commented as he explains his excitement about his future career. "I had become a rocket engine guy." 

After a couple years of instructing students, Mr. Haynes left Redstone Arsenal and moved to Los Angeles in 1956 where he worked with the Corporal missile system at the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, guided missile division. From there he was assigned, as field engineer, to White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss where he performed launch operations for the Corporal missile and static testing of the Corporal motor. 

"At the time, the Corporal was the nation's longest range ballistic missile with a maximum range of 90 miles," he explained. "I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and still do to this day." 

When the Corporal missile system began to phase out he began to seek other employment. His mother-in-law sent him a picture from AEDC of a man in an asbestos uniform working in the propulsion wind tunnel and as the word "rocket" was used, Mr. Haynes quickly sent in an application and was hired. 

"ARO (Arnold Research Organization), the prime contractor for AEDC at the time, had just started working with rocket motors," he said," and there were very few people in the industry who were experienced in rocket engines so I took the job." Mr. Haynes only expected to be at AEDC for a few years, but when he retired from AEDC in 1985 and finally, last month from work in his field, he could not have imagined all the wonderful years he would spend working with rocket engines and living in Tennessee. 

"I only expected to be at AEDC for five or six years and then I would move on to something else and that was in 1959," he explained. "Here it is 2006 and I haven't left the field yet and don't plan on it." 

When he was hired in August 1959, AEDC was just beginning to conduct, in T-1 cell, base recirculation studies on scale models of the Atlas and Titan missiles, with test conditions from subsonic to Mach 3, at altitudes from near sea level to 45,000 feet. He moved from there to J-3, which was just shaking down. 

Work in J-3 involved testing of the Titan I and Titan II second stage engines and development and acceptance testing of the Service Propulsion Engine for the Apollo Service Module (see pages 8-9). Work on J-2 test cell, which was a rocket cell at this time, included test of the second and third stages of the Minuteman ICBM and various other research solids. 

"Boy, were we learning," he reminisced. "None of us really knew the intricacies of liquid propellant rocket engines, but we learned. We had many engines malfunction, sometimes caused by engine operating error sometimes by plant operational problems, and sometimes by personnel errors. It was a totally different environment. Everyone was trying to figure out how both the engines worked and how to operate a plant designed for turbine type engine testing. Now, Arnold is leaning more toward a totally success-oriented operation with an available wealth of knowledge accumulated over the years and success is both expected and achieved." 

He agrees it is a good approach to have now, but during the 1960s and 70s this knowledge was not available resulting in the necessity to learn from their mistakes and the advice of the engine manufacturers. 

"It was wonderful at the time because few had ever done this type of testing before so no one could seriously find fault if we did something wrong," He further commented. "It was a totally different world and probably the most fun I have ever had." 

Mr. Haynes made it clear he is not criticizing how AEDC functions today, but he wants people to understand that there is a tremendous amount of history and knowledge related to altitude testing now leading to a higher test success rate. 

Moving onto J-4, Mr. Haynes worked on upgrading tests for the Pratt & Whitney RL10, LH2/LO2 rocket engine and initial testing of the solid propellant second stage Peacekeeper ICBM motor and others. 

"Those were great years," he remembered. "We were young and anxious. We were anxious to win the national effort to beat the Russians to space and we were really all gung-ho about it." 

He expresses his opinion saying "Although it was a good thing when we went to the moon and beat the Russians, but when Neil Armstrong stepped his foot on the moon he pretty well ended the space program at that time because after that, Congress said 'okay we did it,' and cut funding and further rocket testing in the 70s was very meager." 

"Even though work had died down significantly, a few of us were able to stay in the rocket business by switching to solid propellant work," he said. "AEDC was still going strong because turbine engine testing was starting up and there was some rocket testing, but not with the emphasis like there was in the 60s." 

During the 80s, the pace had picked up some, but a tragic accident involving four deaths in the J-4 test cell convinced Mr. Haynes to re-evaluate his hands-on involvement with rocket engines. 

"I was the lead mechanical engineer on that project," he reflected. "Those were bad days. Those were hard days." 

In 1985, he went to work for Sverdrup downtown Tullahoma designing test facilities for Pratt & Whitney, NASA and other rocket test organizations until his first retirement in 1991. He continued working for Sverdrup at Stennis Space Center in Southern Mississippi until his second retirement in 1993. He has continued part-time work for Sverdrup and Ares Corp. until last year. 

In his retirement, Mr. Haynes still enjoys hearing the latest news about rocket engines and space exploration, and often remembers the great times he had helping defend the nation and making the U.S. the best in the world by working at AEDC.


Today, at 86, AEDC Fellow Rudolph "Rudy" W. Hensel is an investments adviser. The business owner, whose office walls are filled with memorabilia of his previous career, is eager to tell his story of AEDC beginnings. 

Mr. Hensel was the facility chief for the center's Propulsion Wind Tunnel (PWT) before retiring in 1980 with 27 years at AEDC working for only one contractor, Arnold Research Organization (ARO). 

He has an aeronautical engineering degree (first study program offered in the United States in fields of compressible fluids and jet propulsion) from the California Institute of Technology, as well as a Bachelor and Master of Science in aeronautical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Before coming to AEDC, Mr. Hensel was stationed, during World War II, at Wright Field Aircraft Lab, Wind Tunnel Branch, Ohio. His two bosses, Dr. Frank Wattendorf and Col. Frank Warburton, were instrumental in the beginnings of AEDC. As history would have it, Dr. Wattendorf wrote the visionary statement for what was to become an engineering and development center. 

"With these two guys as my bosses, naturally I got involved in the process," he explained. "I had a little to do in the early planning days." 

In 1945-47, Mr. Hensel participated in the initial design concepts of AEDC's PWT and served as the liaison officer in transfer of German engine test facility components to AEDC. 

"The Germans were actually building and had well under construction, a large wind tunnel eight meters in diameter, when we captured it. It was a rather unique piece of equipment; what we built at PWT was in some sense a version of that, but not exactly." 

His job during active duty was being in charge of a 10-foot wind tunnel, a smaller version of 16T, but was a little behind the times comparable to a few wind tunnels in Germany and one that was being built at CALTECH, known as the cooperative wind tunnel. 

"When the war was over, we gathered a lot of the German scientists who were working in the aeronautics part of the Nazi operation and brought them to Wright Field," he explained. "One of them included Dr. Bernhard Goethert, who hand a significant hand in designing the PWT tunnels when he came to AEDC in 1952." 

From the mid-1950-60s at AEDC, he provided the technical and management leadership to bring the transonic and large supersonic wind tunnels from construction into routine operation. At that time, these were the largest most technically advanced units in the world. 

He provided leadership for all phases of the activation of PWT's transonic and supersonic 16-foot wind tunnels (16T and 16S), ranging from the training of engineering and operational personnel to the identification and implementation of a number of design and hardware changes to improve performance. He developed a solution to problems related to tunnel starting and stopping loads, exhaust gas scavenging scoop performance, scavenging scoop aerodynamic interference, tunnel flow quality and on-line data system operation. 

After PWT became operational, he focused most of his attention on optimizing productivity and data quality from this large, high-powered facility. From 1959 to 1969, he led the evolution of 16T into a high-output workhorse tunnel, which attracted a large and continuous backlog of work. At the same time he was boosting productivity in the tunnel, Mr. Hensel was placing an emphasis on improving the quality of test results. His quality initiatives included improved understanding of wall interference, calibration of tunnel flow, definition of measurement uncertainty and enhancements to on-line data processing systems. 

He also directed the restoration of the 16T compressor following catastrophic failure of original steel compressor blades in the early 1960s. It was quickly restored to service with new high technology fiberglass composite blades. In the late 1960s, he spearheaded an advocacy campaign that resulted in $1.25 million funding for the design and construction of the PWT 4-foot transonic tunnel. 

Earlier in his career, Mr. Hensel organized and led the contractor's support to the research and development program for AEDC's advanced low density and true temperature wind tunnels. Although never built, these efforts directly supported the acquisition of two AEDC arc heater test units. 

In recognition of his contributions to AEDC, Mr. Hensel was inducted as an AEDC Fellow in June 1990.


After earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois, Dennis Horn began a remarkable engineering career. 

He began his work at the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center's (AEDC) in 1958, after working for a short time as a mechanical engineer for General Electric. He started his career at AEDC by testing ramjets in the Engine Test Facility (ETF), but he quickly became associated with arc heaters.

Arc heaters provide unique aerothermal test capabilities for evaluation of thermal protection materials, airframe components, and integrated systems designed for reentry and hypersonic flight. 

The AEDC arc-heated test facilities utilize ahigh voltage, electric arc discharge to heat air to total temperatures up to 13,000 degrees High pressure test flows are achieved by confining the electrical arc discharge in a water-cooled channel capable of withstanding high chamber pressures. The combination of high-enthalpy test gas and high plenum pressure makes possible heat flux simulation representative of flight at speeds in excess of Mach 20 at high dynamic pressures. 

Horn started his work on arc heaters when he became part of a special projects group that first looked at using electric arc heaters to provide higher temperatures for turbine engine testing in ETF. Then another group was formed to study the feasibility of developing a high velocity low density wind tunnel. 

"The part that I was involved with was looking at electric arcs as the driver to investigate throat cooling for this low density tunnel," Horn said. 

Soon AEDC was approached with the idea that the arc heaters could be used for material testing on both nose tips and heat shields. With Horn's help, the AEDC 5 Megawatt (MW) Arc Heater Test Unit became one of the primary arc testing units in the U.S. and achieved a standardized design, which functioned successfully for 20 years. 

During the early 1970s, he played a similar role in the operational testing of the AEDC Dust Erosion Tunnel, beginning with the initial feasibility study using arc drivers and continuing through the design, construction, shake-down, and a long period of intensive user testing. He developed special test techniques, concentrating on methods of improving dust cloud characterization. 

Horn then began the development of a high pressure segmented arc heater, a new type of arc heater introduced at AEDC in the early 1970s. The initial design for the heater was provided through an outside contractor and was sent to AEDC for evaluation. Horn and his team started development of the segmented arc heater by redesigning critical components of the heater, and in its reformation it became known as the AEDC 5 MW segmented arc heater. 

After 15 years of technical involvement with arc heated test units, he became widely known for his development and troubleshooting of arc heater facilities and improving testing techniques. He became the primary cultivator and technical expert for developing and advancing the segmented arc heater from a two MW laboratory research device to the premier high-performance test facilities used today. 

Reentry and erosion testing continued in the 5 MW arc heater test units until the mid 1970s, when Horn designed a new high pressure segmented arc heater called H1, were the power levels were increased to 25 MW. 

"It was the first large high pressure segmented arc heater in the country and possibly in the world," Horn said. 

During the early shakedown of the new H1 arc heater, the improved performance and flow cleanliness attracted users to the facility well before development was completed. Horn provided continuous and intensive surveillance of the heater operation, fine-tuning and modifying heater components and operating techniques. 

"We continued to develop that arc heater over the next 10 to 15 years and we were able to test reentry materials, both nose tips and heat shields, using much larger test samples," he said. "We had gone from five megawatts to 25 megawatts, and we continue to operate H1 today. It is still our [AEDC's] primary bread and butter facility for high temperature materials testing." 

After the development of H1, Horn began directing his energies and capabilities to further advance the state of the art in arc technology.
"My focus has always been on technology and heater development, as opposed to testing," he said. "During the period from 1981 to 1988, I was a supervisor of both testing and technology for the arc heaters. After that I focused primarily on arc heater development and technology." 

"In 1990 we got the go ahead to design and develop the H3 segmented arc heater. We were able to operate that heater [H3] to 120 atmospheres pressure and power levels up to 68 MW after only two years of development." 

Horn also said that AEDC has now installed a new model positioning system in the H3 arc heater facility. 

"H3 will provide still larger flow fields," he said. "Hopefully during this fiscal year we'll be able to begin customer testing there." 

Horn said the arc heater research and testing that is done here at AEDC is unique. 

"It is basically the only place where this type of high pressure research and development is going on," he said. "NASA has some lower pressure arc facilities and there are one or two private companies that still operate electric arc heaters, but within the Air Force this is the only location." 

Nearly all the design and large arc heater development at AEDC has been centered around Horn's initiative and although he officially retired in 1997, he still works on the base as a part-time employee. 

"I've been out here in some small way every year since 1997," he said. "Now I work just a couple days a month, mostly consulting and also doing some component design." 

Horn attributed much of his success in arc heater technology to the tremendous support from the Air Force and fellow employee's at AEDC. He has made substantial contributions to the nation's aerospace ground testing capability and was one of the first six scientists honored as an AEDC Fellow in June 1989. 

In his spare time he enjoys studying and photographing wildflowers. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Rare Plants in Tennessee and the vice president of the Tennessee Native Plant Society. He was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the State of Tennessee in 2003 for his conservation efforts. 


Dr. James Jacocks' contributions to enhance AEDC's flight simulation capabilities brought national recognition to the center in the field of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and earned him recognition as an AEDC Fellow in 1996. 

Dr. Jacocks, a Sverdrup engineering specialist and 37-year AEDC veteran, made a name for himself early in his AEDC career as an engineering analyst in the transonic wind tunnel arena. He helped develop innovative wind tunnel designs, particularly with the 16-foot transonic tunnel and 4-foot aerodynamic tunnel, which brought him two United States patents. 

The first was for his Swing Link Flexible Wind Tunnel Nozzle. Partnered with Karl Kneile, Dr. Jacocks developed a novel analysis tool for understanding jet engine inlet distortion data. 

They analyzed time-varying inlet pressure data from several aircraft designs and, using statistical methods, proposed a model of distortion with three parameters that were evaluated by fitting inlet data using the method of maximum likelihood. This approach was widely adopted by the engine/airframe integration community. 

The second patent was for his Adaptive Automatic Wall Wind Tunnel. He launched a comprehensive program of wind tunnel experiments and theoretical development, succeeding in proving the validity of local pressure and flow angle as a boundary condition for wall-interference estimates. He also showed that boundary-layer thickness was a dominant parameter for predicting perforated-wall characteristics. From this, he developed a semi-empirical mathematical relation that has been adopted world-wide as the boundary condition for perforated-wall test sections. 

Working with Mr. Kneile again, Dr. Jacocks produced from scratch the world's first production-ready, boundary conforming, finite-volume, three-dimensional, inviscid, non-isentropic flow solver. With this tool, he began routine computational predictions of perforated-wall interference effects. 

The tunnel user could now have a numerical prediction of the interaction of his model and the wind tunnel walls. If he chose, the tunnel user could correct his data and make it more interference-free. 

Not only was Dr. Jacocks recognized for extraordinary, fundamental contributions to AEDC's ground simulation capabilities, including outstanding contributions to perforated-wall wind tunnel design and operation, but for leadership in bringing national recognition in the field of CFD. 

His work with computational fluid dynamics earned him the nickname of "the Father of CFD at AEDC." When he started using computers to help predict the interference effects of perforated wind tunnel walls on models, the computer codes of the time were inadequate and he became convinced AEDC had to move more aggressively into the area of computational fluid dynamics. 

Because of his motivation, Dr. Jacocks quickly became the section supervisor of the CFD section located in the center's PWT office. There he established the leading edge of world-class CFD installations. Engineers in his group abandoned the common practice of CFD engineers in the early 1980s of using a proliferation of codes, and, instead, focused on one solver. This gave his group tremendous power in solving routine wind tunnel problems. 

Dr. Jacocks earned his bachelor's degree at Georgia Tech in 1959. He earned his master's and doctorate degrees at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 1965 and 1976. 

Dr. Jacocks passed away in 2001.


As the recording secretary and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board, Robert W. "Bob" Kamm was involved in coordinating specifications and early plans for AEDC. 

Following a lengthy coordination process in 1946, the Army Air Forces hoped for the Joint Research and Development Board's early endorsement that would lead to passage of legislation for both the Unitary Wind Tunnel Plan and theAir Engineering Development Center. 

During 1947, the review of the proposed center became cumbersome, in part because the wind tunnel facilities of the proposed Air Engineering Development Center were treated under the Unitary Wind Tunnel Plan apart from the rest of the Center. The Joint Research and Develpment Boards assigned a screening process for both the Wind Tunnel Plan and the Air Engineering DevelopmenCenter to its Committee on Aeronautics. 

With his appointment as Executive Director of that committee's Facilities Panel in 1948, Mr. Kamm began his distinguished associationwith what would become Arnold Engineering Development Center. 

Mr. Kamm graduated from New York University in 1939 with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering and joined the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, where he investigated spin characteristics of various military aircraft in wind tunnels. 

In 1946 he left the NACA to become senior aerodynamicist with the Glenn L. Martin Company. 

In 1948, Mr. Kamm began working in the Pentagon as director of the panel on facilities committee on aeronautics of the Department of Defense's Research and Development Board. In the capacity of Executive Director, Mr. Kamm reviewed, coordinated and recommended action to the panel on all military departments' proposals for new aeronautical research and development facilities, including their relative priorities.  

Owing to his monumental efforts to overcome significant interservice conflicts over the scope and breadth of the initial Air Force proposals for the center, in early 1950, Mr. Kamm was appointed staff assistant to Dr. Theodore von Karman, chairman of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board, in his new capacity of chief, scientific advisor to the AirEngineering Development Division. 

Mr. Kamm, executive secretary of the Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser, worked closely with Dr. von Karman, Dr. Frank Wattendorf and Col. H. F. Gregory to handle day-to-day coordination in the Pentagon and to develop plans and requirements for the technical facilities to be provided by AEDC. He also maintained action liaison not only with the Research and Development Board but also with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the aeronautical industry. 

In October 1951, Mr. Kamm organized the Industry and Educational Advisory Board.  This board, chaired by Professor John Markham of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, consisted of representatives of universities and the aeronautical industry. It met frequently to give advice to the USAF Chief of Staff of the adequacy of planning forAEDC and simultaneously created a spirit of cooperation with educational institutions
and with the aeronautical industry. The later close working relation between the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) and AEDC was in no small measure due to the significant role that Mr. Kamm played in both the Industry and Educational Advisory Boards and during the 1960s through the 1980s at UTSI. 

Following the dissolution of the Industry and Educational AdvisoryBoards, Mr. Kamm was appointed Chief of AEDC's Operations Analysis Office, a position in which he remained until 1955, when he was assigned Assistant Chief, Research and Development Division. 

In December 1956, he was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, and in May 1957, he became the Center's first Chief, Plans and Policy Office. 

In 1959 he left AEDC after he accepted an appointment as director of NASA's western operations office in Santa Monica, Calif., responsible for contract negotiations and administration, public information, technical representation, financial management, security, legal and patent administration. 

In 1968 he retired from that position and NASA to become assistant to the director of UTSI. He was assistant dean and director of administrative serves until his retirement in 1988. The following year, he was backUTSI to direct the year-long Silver Anniversary Celebration. 

In May 1995, during the kick off of the AEDC Heritage Foundation, Carey Waldrip, then Heritage Foundation chairman, presented Mr. Kamm with a proclamation signed of the AEDC community for this dedication to the improvement of the aerospace industry. 

"Mr. Kamm was instrumental in both the early legislative and planning phase of AEDC," said Mr. Waldrip. "In Dr. Theodore von Karman's 1959 dedication speech, he named Bob Kamm as an instrumental force in the founding of AEDC." 

Later that same year, a portion of the UTSI Road from Estill Springs to the B.H. Goethert Parkway as renamed in honor of Kamm, who was largely responsible for the road's construction. 

"Mr. Kamm played a major role in negotiating with the University of Tennessee to establish a master's level program at AEDC which led to the establishment of the Space Institute," said then UTSI vice president Dr. T. Dwayne McCay. "Years later he came to UTSI as assistant to the director, Dr. B.H. Goethert. He has been incredibly important to the institute, but he always avoids the spotlight. We are pleased to have this opportunity to honor him as he so richly deserves." 

Mr. Kamm passed away June 13, 2001. 


During his 32-year AEDC career, AEDC Fellow Richard "Dick" Matthews was instrumental in developing concepts and implementing new wind tunnel test capabilities. Gaining a reputation as a world-wide leader in wind tunnel and experimental aerothermodynamics, Mr. Matthews' contributions to AEDC included the true temperature Mach 4 wind tunnel; rain/ice test capability; Tunnel C radiant heater; and 25-inch-diameter Mach 8 tunnel. 

As a lead contractor engineer, Mr. Matthews developed innovative test techniques, such as thermo mapping, materials testing, magnetic suspension testing and environmental testing. He provided leadership and supervision of the engineering staff responsible for conducting tests, analyzing data and developing new technology. He was also responsible for recruiting and training young engineers and assisting government and industry representatives in planning, conducting, analyzing and reporting test results. 

He worked on special projects including the independent review team for the National Aerospace Plane (NASP) and marketed AEDC capabilities nationally and internationally. 

He helped organize and host "Hypersonic Test and Evaluation Workshop," which provided the opportunity for the nation's most experienced hypersonic experts to pass some of their knowledge on to the next generation of engineers. 

His contributions to experimental aerothermodynamics led to his selection as an AEDC Fellow in 1995. 

Mr. Matthews was an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a member of the AIAA Flight Test Technical Committee, AIAA Thermophysics Technical Committee and was the Chairman/Co-Originator of the Aerothermal Workshop. He served as an AIAA section chairman He received a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of St. Louis in 1959 and, in 1967, earned a master of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee. 

Mr. Matthews served as an Air Force aircraft maintenance officer until 1962, when he came to work for AEDC. He started his career at AEDC as a project engineer and worked his way to lead engineer.  Mr. Matthews served as a member of the Heat Transfer Panel for the Navy Aeroballistic Committee. In 1993, he was co-originator and a principal speaker at the Von Karman Institute, Brussels, for short course titled, "Methodology of Hypersonic Testing." 

Mr. Matthews presented technical papers at many aerospace conferences. 

While working at AEDC, he served as a representative for the Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD) Working Group 18, and served as one of five technical panel members for the Department of Defense Windows Symposium and for NASA Orbiter Experiments Symposium. 

During Mr. Matthews' career at AEDC, he also worked part-time at the University of Texas, Air Force Academy, University of Tennessee, Naval Surface Warfare Center, General Dynamics Corp., and Motlow State Community College developing and teaching short courses. He was also a founding member of the AEDC Heritage Foundation, Inc. 

He passed away in 1997.


Growing up in Luverne, Ala., James Mitchell could not have imagined the opportunities he would later have working in the world's most dynamic test and evaluation complex. 

In 1953, before graduating from Auburn University and before becoming married to his childhood sweetheart, Dr. Mitchell came to AEDC as an engineering aide who worked in the Engine Test Facility. Dr. Mitchell came back to AEDC as an Air Force lieutenant after graduating from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. He quickly realized the Air Force was not a career path he wanted to pursue but knew he wanted to stay at AEDC. 

In 1957 he took off his uniform and joined the center's contractor, ARO, as a project engineer working in von Kármán Gas Dynamics Facility (VKF) Tunnel B. He later moved from the contractor work force to the Air Force civil service where he worked until 1988. During this time, he continued his education with degrees from the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) and Vanderbilt. 

Advocacy for ASTF
Dr. Mitchell said he describes himself as a risk taker and taking risks is exactly what he did. If it wasn't for his boldness and belief in aerospace technology, some of the facilities in which we work may not have come into existence. 

"The most productive part of my life was when I was heading up facility planning," he explained specifically talking about his involvement with the Aeropropulsion Systems Test Facility (ASTF). "Some very good engineers with both the Air Force and contractor joined to plan a number of the facilities seen out there today: ASTF, APTU, Mark 1 and J-6; basically anything that was not part of the original plan." 

According to Dr. Mitchell, from the beginning ASTF was not supported by many in Washington because it was considered too big and too expensive. 

"I ended up being the guy who was given the job to go to Washington and convince the Air Force, DoD and Congress to find the funding for this facility," he said. "No one thought we would succeed, and I wasn't sure myself, but with the support of some key individuals, it all came together. At that time ASTF was the most expensive military construction program (MCP) project ever attempted. It took all of the Air Force MCP for the year and a large part of MCP from both Army and Navy." 

As most engineers can attest, it takes longer to design and build a major test facility than it does to design and build the weapon system that will be tested in it. Dr. Mitchell demonstrated exceptional foresight in planning and acquiring advanced test facilities needed to keep pace with rapidly advancing aircraft, missile and space programs of the late 20th century. 

Era as Chief Scientist 
"I finally got the job I wanted," Dr. Mitchell said about his promotion to chief scientist in 1984. "Back then, the chief scientist was the technical job at the center and provided opportunity to get involved in all aspects of AEDC operations." 

His primary function as chief scientist was to advise and assist the commander on scientific and technical matters relating to AEDC, ranging from testing to research programs. He also served as a liaison in technical matters with officials at all levels of government, industry, scientific and educational organizations, as well as with other countries. 

In a quote from a 1984 article, Dr. Mitchell said, "I consider the chief scientist as having a kind of leavening effect. I look at the job from the view point of both the short-term and long-term technical interests of the center. A lot of technology and facility programs take a long time to mature and pay off, and it takes top level support during these programs to make sure things keep moving." 

Dr. Mitchell is an internationally recognized expert in aerospace ground testing, and his advice is sought through many channels. He was a U.S. member on the propulsion and energetics panel of the NATO Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD). He has chaired a NATO group through technical and political turmoil to calibrate engine test facilities in five countries. He is routinely invited to serve on and chair joint service, DoD and NASA committees to determine national test facility needs. 

Years after AEDC 
After leaving AEDC, Dr. Mitchell went to work for Micro Craft Inc. from 1988 to 1998 where he served as executive vice president-chief operating officer, and came back to AEDC as president of Micro Craft Technology to operate aeronautical and space test facilities. 

In 1998, he started a small business, Surface Treatment Technologies Inc., which was located in the UTSI research park. The business is now located in Baltimore, Md. During the early 1990s, he served for four years on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, chairing a major study of the Air Force Test & Evaluation infrastructure. 

During his 33-year career as an Air Force officer and a civilian employee, Dr. Mitchell received several awards, including two exceptional civilian service decorations and the French government's Medaille de Aeronautique. 

He is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and in 1983 received its ground testing award for the year's most significant contribution to aeronautical testing. He had earlier received two special awards from the Tennessee Section for outstanding accomplishments in 1969 and 1977. 

In 1989, he was included in the first group to be selected as AEDC Fellows for his long-term contributions to the center and aerospace testing. 

Dr. Mitchell currently works as a consultant to the Department of Defense through the Institute for Defense Analysis in Washington. 

In this capacity, he is presently assisting AEDC in their hypersonic research and facility programs.


When his teacher asked Tom Perkins what he wanted to be when he grew up, the seventh grader shot up his hand and confidently replied, "Either an aeronautical engineer or an Army Air Corps officer." 

The 79-year-old retired Arnold Engineering Development Center engineer said one of his young classmates' questioned the likelihood of such ambitious aspirations. 

"My friend called out to me and said, 'Hey Tom, you don't have the "smarts" for that,' " Perkins recalled with a laugh. "But I really knew what I wanted, even then." 

Perkins was born in 1929; two years after American pilot Charles Lindbergh made his historic solo trans-Atlantic crossing - an event that brought aviation fever to millions the world over. Growing up in the shadow of such a landmark event had a powerful influence on the young boy from Bowling Green, Ky. 

Upon graduating from high school, Perkins originally set his sights on attending the Georgia Institute of Technology, better known as Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. Due to the flood of ex-servicemen applying to the school's engineering program following the end of World War II, his older friends advised him to start college somewhere more accessible. 

Taking their advice, he enrolled at Western Kentucky University in his hometown. Two years later, Perkins transferred to Georgia Tech and during a break got his first introduction to AEDC. 

"I was a junior at Georgia Tech and I had a friend who needed a ride up to Arnold because he had taken a job here," Perkins recalled. "This was in 1951 and I didn't even know this place existed. My friend said, 'Not many people know about it, we're just getting started.'" 

Perkins dropped his friend off at the center's main gate and drove on. 

Upon graduating with a degree in aeronautical engineering from Georgia Tech, Perkins worked at the 20-foot wind tunnel at Wright Field, Ohio. 

"I was working for Dr. Bernard Goethert, who was the head of the whole wind tunnel facility up there," he recalled. "I could hardly understand him - with his broken German. He probably couldn't understand me, but anyhow we worked it out. Doc was a great guy. He later did a lot for both AEDC and UTSI." 

Two months later, Perkins was ordered to active duty in the Air Force, having obtained his commission through the Reserve Officers Training Corps program at Georgia Tech. After going to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas for indoctrination training, he reported to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss. for airborne radar training. 

"I took airborne electronics and after graduating from that school I went to Korea in 1953 for a year with a fighter interceptor squadron," Perkins said. "They didn't have much in the way of electronics on a fighter plane so they made me an armament and communication officer." 

In that position, one of his responsibilities included bore sighting and ensuring the accuracy of the F-86's six machine guns. He vividly remembers when he and his crew went out to shoot the plane's machine guns and watched as tracer rounds illuminated the cold night sky. This allowed them to adjust the line of fire so that 90 percent of the bullets hit inside a three-foot diameter bull's-eye at 1,000 feet. 

"Our fighter interceptor squadron had the best record in June 1953- they shot down more MIGs that month than anybody else," he said. 

In March 1954, he was honorably discharged and returned to his family's home in Bowling Green to help his father put in a gas pipeline. He then went to work at Redstone Arsenal in the Army's Ballistic Missile Command at Huntsville, Ala. 

"They put me to work on a drawing board - I wasn't too happy about that," he recalled. "I worked nine months there and then I decided to use my GI Bill to go to graduate school at the University of Michigan. I didn't realize how cold it got there. I think it was as cold as Korea. I arrived there in January, and I didn't see green grass until May." 

Despite the inhospitable weather, Perkins enjoyed his time at the school.
"The University of Michigan is a very good school for aerospace (engineering)," he said. However, after a year and a half, he was running out of money and realized he would have to go back to work. He went to work for Glenn L. Martin in Baltimore. 

"That is where I got into flutter work," he recalled. 

To put things into perspective, Perkins said aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin had founded the U.S. aircraft company, the predecessor to Lockheed Martin, in 1912. 

Perkins explained that flutter is a self-starting vibration that occurs when a lifting surface, like a wing or a tail surface, bends under aerodynamic loads because the aerodynamic loads overcome the structural damping of the surface. 

"In extreme cases the elasticity of the structure, when the load on it is reduced, causes it to spring back so far that it overshoots and causes a new aerodynamic load in the opposite direction to the original," he continued. "If this continues with enough force and long enough the structure can be seriously damaged or destroyed." 

The company put Perkins to work in the dynamics section and assigned him to evaluate the P-6M SeaMaster. The experience would help to lay the groundwork for his future at AEDC. The SeaMaster was a swept-wing seaplane powered by four jet engines with the body incorporating a new hull design. Some aviation experts claimed the aircraft was the most sophisticated flying boat constructed at the time. 

However, Perkins said design flaws with the aircraft's tail proved disastrous, resulting in two crashes, one of which was fatal for the crew. 

"The second time it crashed was when I was there," he recalled. "We built a flutter model and tested it in the wind tunnel at the University of Maryland. We kept telling the Design Team that they needed to change the design, take the dihedral out of the horizontal tail, and make it straight, which they finally did. They finally went to a symmetrical fairing atop the vertical tail and a straight horizontal tail, and it got rid of all the flutter problems and air load problems because it didn't have that high down load on it which was caused in the original design." 

From Baltimore, Perkins took an engineering job with North American Aviation in Columbus, Ohio. 

"I worked in the dynamics section at Columbus, Ohio, which is North American's division up there. At the time, they were building F-100s, T-2Js, which was the Buckeye Trainer, and the A-3J Vigilanti. 

Perkins worked on testing the aircraft's ejection seat prototypes while at Columbus. However, as time went by his family needed his help more frequently with the family business in Kentucky. 

"My dad had been sick, and I would have to go home once a month and read the gas meters," he explained. "He had a gas line, and he wasn't able go out and do it. So, I figured I better get closer to home." 

Also, by now, Perkins had fulfilled another childhood dream; he had earned his private pilot's license and owned a plane. He would fly from Columbus to Bowling Green to help his father on weekends. 

"In May 1958, I came down to AEDC when I found there was an opening, and I went to work in the dynamics section at the Propulsion Wind Tunnel (PWT) facility," he said. "I was impressed with the size and ability of PWT - the fact that it had a 16-foot test section capable of going up to Mach 1.6 and the 16-foot supersonic test section that could go from Mach 1.6 to 4.0." 

For more than 30 years, Perkins worked on a diverse assortment of test projects at PWT. He arrived at AEDC when the science of flight simulation testing was still the realm of pioneers in the fields of aerospace and aeronautical engineering. 

Much of the process, from the design of the tunnels, arc heaters, space chambers, and the elaborate supporting structures, had little or no precedent beyond the ingenious facilities and materials brought back from Germany after World War II. 

Data collection was still a primitive, time consuming and cumbersome process that could easily interfere with a test. Early computers were physically huge, extremely expensive and limited in capability. 

Perkins said people often see problems of a failure during a test as an indication of an unworkable situation, an unrecoverable failure and an irretrievable loss of money and assets. 

"I don't see things that way," he said. "Every attempt is made to avoid damaging a test article and the facilities, but it can be hard or next to impossible to avoid sometimes. Besides, you can learn a lot when a test fails, or even when the model is damaged or even destroyed. That is precisely why we test. It is imperative to know what can and will go wrong to avoid losing lives or a multi-million dollar aircraft or weapons system." 

He described the rigorous process engineers and technicians had used to avoid the damage and loss of test articles, test facilities and supporting infrastructure, saying, "We had strain gauges on the surfaces of the models for measuring both bending and torsion. And also we could take an oscilloscope and put a lead on the bending axis and another on the torsional axis, and when it came close to fluttering you would get a circle on the oscilloscope." 

Perkins said the oscilloscope shows cycles of bursts of activity followed by a dampening of energy before another burst of activity. The goal was to avoid what is called full divergence, indicating imminent destruction of the test article. 

Perkins vividly recalls a test conducted on the X-20 Dyna-Soar, an innovative U.S. Air Force program that ran until about 1960. The objective was to develop a space plane to fulfill a variety of military missions, including bombing, reconnaissance, satellite maintenance and space rescue. 

"Boeing had built a $100,000 model of this space plane," he said. "That was a lot of money back then. It was a beautiful model - they had scaled every little member of the plane's structure as to what the real one would be like with a fiberglass covering." 

Perkins described the structure as appearing "like welded little pieces of steel." 

He saw that the model was starting to flutter and warned the customer. 

Perkins said, "The Boeing engineer said 'let's go a little longer, and take it a bit farther (under the test conditions).' We went a little farther and boom - that was it. It diverged. The whole model came apart, it was fiberglass and steel. We had cameras mounted on the sting support and a camera on each side and one at the top of the test section, so we obtained good movies of the failure. That was in 16T and since the tunnel's compressor blades were made of stainless steel, there wasn't much damage to the compressor." 

In July 1961 he was running a full-scale portion of the Saturn S-IVB panel flutter test in 16T when the C-1 compressor failed. 

"The model had nothing to do with the failure of the compressor," he explained. "All testing in 16T was suspended until the C-1 compressor was fitted with composite blades. These new blades had to be designed and built which took about three years. Therefore, several project engineers were sent to NASA-Ames to conduct testing in the wind tunnels there." 

Perkins said there were many highlights during his 30-year career with AEDC. 

"The most interesting series of tests that I was assigned to was the F-111 aeroelastic model tests at Ames 11-foot tunnel in California. I was working for ARO, Inc., at PWT in 1963 when I was sent out for that assignment," he said. 

The model was constructed by General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas, proof-loaded with weights to simulate the static load that it would encounter during the wind tunnel test, packed up, and flown out to NASA-Ames at Moffett Field. 

"When I flew out later, I was permitted to land my 1960 Bellanca 260 there and kept my plane in the hangar with test airplanes such as the X-14 and Chance Vought Skyray," he recalled. "The test went very well, but we did get into flutter on the vertical tail and rudder. My return trip to Tennessee was the weekend that President Kennedy was assassinated." 

Someone who remembers Perkins from those early years at Arnold is AEDC Fellow Dr. Bill Baker. 

"When I first came to work here, I was in the same section as Tom and as we began talking, he mentioned his recent marriage and it turned out that we had both married girls from Starkville, Miss.," Dr. Baker recalled. "His wife, Margaret and my wife went to school together and I played in the Mississippi State University Band with Margaret. Tom and I have been close friends ever since." 

Dr. Baker, who has known Perkins for 44 years, said the two of them worked together on a wide range of tests at Arnold over the years. 

"One of my first assignments in 1964, as a fresh new engineer, was to assist Tom with a wind tunnel test in the 16-foot supersonic tunnel," he said. "We worked together on other tests for a number of years and I learned a lot about wind tunnel testing from him. 

"Tom also became an expert in store separation and provided analysis of several store separation tests," Dr. Baker continued. "He also led an effort to extract aerodynamic coefficients from store model trajectories obtained from free-drop data. Tom provided key support to the testing of store separation from a generic weapons bay that has become a standard for the development of prediction techniques for weapons bays." 

Perkins said his last few years at AEDC were spent doing research on different types of tests and data basing the test data from the C-17, B-1B and F-15 tests. Besides honing his piloting skills over the years, he also devoted much of his off-duty time to supporting the local chapter of the Civil Air Patrol, introducing young people to the world of aviation.


AEDC Fellow Dr. J. Leith Potter made various contributions to the analysis of test results, techniques of testing and facility design during his 27 years at AEDC. 

The foremost of these is his internationally recognized role in designing and using the unique Tunnel L facility in the 1960s. Beginning in 1960, Dr. Potter was a pioneering investigator in the aerodynamics of hypersonic vehicles in rarefied flows. 

Tunnel L was the best known and most productive wind tunnel of its type. When the Air Force's interest in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and aerospace planes terminated, support from the tunnel was curtailed. 

However, fundamental research and development testing on early satellites and re-entry bodies that could not be done anywhere else were accomplished at AEDC before support was curtailed. 

Dr. Potter was also a pioneer in the field of boundary layer transition. In the early 1950s, he was the first to appreciate the significance of the unit Reynolds number in the boundary layer transition process. 

Recognition of the problem created by this phenomenon has enabled wind tunnel and flight test engineers to better understand their data. 

Among his other contributions in this field are his work on thermo-molecular flow effects on pressures measured by means of surface orifices, the accurate measurements of aerodynamic forces and heating rates on lifting bodies at very high simulated altitudes, the design of a series of contoured wind tunnel nozzles giving highly uniform hypersonic, low density flows and methods for predicting aerodynamics of bodies in rarefied flows. 

Dr. Potter directed the AEDC group that pioneered the successful use of aeroballistics ranges for nose cone ablation and erosion testing and the later use of gun-launched, track guided models for these purposes. This made a large contribution to development of U.S. strategic missiles and established AEDC's G-Range as the premier aeroballistics range in the world. 

He also contributed his major personal effort to the establishment of the University of Tennessee/AEDC graduate studies program as the first instructor of the aerodynamics courses when the program started in 1956 and continued as the sole instructor in these courses until the University of Tennessee Space Institute was established. 

He authored more than 30 published papers and journal articles. He received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Alabama in 1944 and a master's degree in engineering in 1949. He received a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1974 and another master's in engineering management from Vanderbilt.


Starting out as a summer intern in 1956, Eugene J. Sanders began his 38-year career in 1958 at AEDC as a mechanical design engineer for Arnold Research Organization, Inc. 

His contributions to the center's mission in test facility design and operation, project management, national and international cooperation and strategic planning earned him the recognition of AEDC Fellow in 1998. 

Among a long list of design accomplishments early in his career were a cooling water system for the center's first arc heater and Range S-3, better known as the "chicken gun." He served as the operations engineer and wrote the first operating manual for Range G. 

For decades the "chicken gun" has been the target of many jokes on base but has also made national news. 

"We've had a lot of fun over the response we've got from our operation of Range S-3 [chicken gun]," he said, referring to remarks made by comedian Jeff Foxworthy and others. "But the truth is the Air Force has a serious problem with bird impacts on aircraft that fly at high speeds and low altitudes, and this facility has made a big contribution to solving this problem." 

Dr. Sanders then became the supervisor of a group responsible for conducting tests in the small wind tunnels (tunnels A/B/C) and laboratory calibration of wind tunnel force measurement devices in the von Karman Gas Dynamics Facility. 

"In addition to the design, fabrication and installation of test articles, my group completed two important projects--the aerotherm addition to Tunnel C and the computer monitoring of the status of all test unit mechanical systems during operation." 

It was after this assignment that Dr. Sanders left AEDC and joined a special group that then Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander formed to study better uses of the state's energy resources and to oversee the expenditure of the federal government's Department of Energy grants in Tennessee. 

"I was responsible for statewide development programs involving low-head hydro, solar and biomass, in addition to conducting the State's first coal conference." 

Dr. Sanders returned to AEDC in 1982 as an Air Force civilian. Responsible for resource requirements, he built unified programs in improvement and modernization, maintenance and repair and military construction. 

"Also during this period, up until I was promoted to chief of the Aeronautical Systems Test Division, I was assigned to the aeroballistic ranges and involved in the development of nose-tip materials for re-entry vehicles, materials to protect spacecraft and the development of the lethality of kinetic-energy projectiles." 

During his tenure with the Air Force, Dr. Sanders served as project manager for three Air Force Data Exchange Agreements--with the Japanese, South Koreans and French. He was appointed to the Fluid Dynamics Panel of the technical arm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He was also elected chairman of the Tennessee section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 

During the 1990s, as technical director, Dr. Sanders oversaw high priority aerodynamics test programs like the F-22A Raptor, F/A-18/EF Super Hornet and the Joint Strike Fighter. He was also a key player in the AEDC commercial alliance with Boeing. 

He was cited by Boeing as being largely responsible for the success of its commercial test programs at AEDC. 

Dr. Sanders led three key efforts in the large wind tunnel area--cycle time reduction (from one test to another), benchmarking the facilities against like national and international facilities, and sustainment efforts to ensure peak performance of the facilities. These three areas were critical to AEDC's future. 

He retired from AEDC in 1998. 

"The main reason I retired was to spend more time with my children and grandchildren," he said. "And I've been able to do just that. They never cease to amaze me." 

Reflecting on his years, Dr. Sanders appreciates the opportunities he has experienced while at AEDC. 

"I was fortunate to have worked in many different areas of testing during my career at AEDC," he says, "Large wind tunnels, small wind tunnels, aeroballistic gun ranges, the 'chicken gun'--these experiences were a great asset to me when I began to interact with international organizations and some outstanding, talented people, many of which are still friends. I consider myself very lucky to have had a career like mine." 

Dr. Sanders earned both his bachelor and master degrees from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Taking advantage of an Air Force sponsorship, he received a Ph. D in engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1993. His association with Vanderbilt continued with his acceptance of the position of adjunct professor. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 technical reports. 

Since his retirement Dr. Sanders has served as President of Scenic Tennessee, a statewide organization whose mission is to preserve and enhance the scenic beauty of Tennessee. He is on the board of directors of the Tims Ford Council; is the president of the Franklin County Country Club and is presently on the Winchester board of public utilities.


AEDC Fellow James C. (Jim) Sivells, who was the manager of the hypersonics branch of the von Kármán Facility (VKF) for the center's first contract operator, Arnold Research Organization from 1958 until 1977, left a lasting mark on AEDC and across the United States with his pioneering technical contributions to the science, concept and development of the center's hypersonic ground test facilities. 

His work, particularly in the area of supersonic/hypersonic nozzle design, set a standard which was put into use in other areas of AEDC and in a variety of applications by a range of test facilities across the country. 

Prior to joining the work force at Sverdrup & Parcel and subsequently AEDC, Mr. Sivells worked as an aeronautical engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (predecessor to NASA) at Langley, Va. Already putting his innovative skills to use, he had developed a method to characterize three dimensional un-swept wings using twodimensional nonlinear airfoil section data. 

While at the facility, he also developed a 9 by 12-inch supersonic blow down tunnel. 

Between 1950 and 1953, while employed at Sverdrup & Parcel in St. Louis, Mo., he took a leading role in the fundamental design of the entire VKF plant, including all of the facility's compressor system, ducting and valves, all of which is in use today. 

While at AEDC, Mr. Sivells continued to make revolutionary improvements in the center's hypersonic testing capabilities. He took the lead in developing the model injection and captive trajectory systems now used in VKF's continuous supersonic/hypersonic tunnels A, B and C. This system is credited as one of the main reasons why AEDC continues to be at the forefront of hypersonic wind tunnel productivity today. 

He was also instrumental in the development of the magnetic suspension tunnel, Tunnel E. He accomplished early studies on testing related to store separation and store-aircraft compatibility. 

One of his most lasting contributions was his development of a FORTRAN (formula translation) computer code, for aerodynamic design of supersonic/hypersonic wind tunnel nozzle contours. 

He applied this code to design axisymmetric nozzles to VKF Tunnels B and C and the aerothermal tunnel modification to Tunnel C. The Tunnel B Mach 8 axisymmetric nozzle he designed in the early 1960s is considered to be one of the world's finest nozzles in terms of flow quality. 

His successors at AEDC used his code to design axisymmetric nozzles for the VKF Air Flow Calibration Laboratory, the APTU gas generator and most of the center's Arc heater nozzles. 

AEDC Fellow Dr. John Adams provided some insight into the value of Jim Sivells' contributions to nozzle design, saying, "The Sivells nozzle design methodology has stood the test of time over four decades and still ranks today as one of the most applicable design tools for high flow quality supersonic/hypersonic contoured nozzles in ground test facilities. It was absolutely crucial to preserve and document (as an AEDC Technical Report) this unique capability for future use." 

Over the past 27 years, his code has been distributed to close to 24 locations around the United States and world for a variety of applications in industry, academia and other aerodynamic ground testing facilities 

His nozzle contour design code has also been incorporated into more contemporary nozzle design procedures, including NASA engineer John Korte's adoption of Mr. Sivells' centerline distribution procedures. 

Mr. Sivells passed away in 1997.


The Beginning
Growing up in Pulaski, Tenn., as a young boy during the depression era, Robert E. Smith Jr., current Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) aerospace engineering consultant, never dreamed a country boy like himself would end up at a world-renowned place like AEDC. Based on his love of gas-engine-powered model airplanes, Smith chose a path that would forever change the course of aerospace engine testing technology. 

After graduating from high school in 1947, he attended Vanderbilt University as a mechanical engineering major. He graduated magna cum laude in June 1951. 

June 1951 was an incredibly eventful month for Smith. Five days after graduation, he married his college sweetheart, and now wife of 54 years, Beverly Patterson. Ten days after the wedding, he started to work for the Arnold Research Organization (ARO, Inc.), operating contractor at AEDC. His first workday was the day President Harry S. Truman dedicated the center, June 25, 1951. 

With no buildings in existence at AEDC except for the warehouse, Smith reported to St. Louis to begin his work so he did not attend the dedication, but was aware of the unique mission the center was about to embark upon. He had no idea what role he would play in the success of the center until years later. 

"I thought it would probably be a few years' tenure," he said. "It turned out to be an incredible 40-year career. It's been a great place to be!" 

Looking Back
After serving 40 years in various engineering and management positions for various Sverdrup companies at AEDC, Smith humbly looks back on his career, and the contributions he made to AEDC's mission. 

While the construction of the AEDC test facilities was in progress, the operating contractor, ARO, Inc. sent employees to aircraft and engine test facilities all over the country for hands-on training. Smith had the opportunity to go to Cleveland, Ohio, and work with what was known at the time as the Lewis Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, which eventually became National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA. At the time, Lewis Lab was the premier U.S. government laboratory engaged in jet engine testing, development and research. 

After a year in Cleveland, Smith moved to AEDC in the summer of 1952 and began his pioneering work to evolve improved standard test equipment and test techniques that would advance the state-of-the-art for testing jet engines. 

"I was fortunate to be assigned to Lewis Lab because before jet engine altitude testing started at AEDC, Lewis was doing the same types of tests, but only on a smaller scale," Smith recollected. 

His first task was to help design the special test equipment and service systems required to install jet engines in the test cells that were under construction by the Corps of Engineers for the U.S. Air Force. Those first test chambers were essentially copies of the test chambers that were liberated by the Allied Armies in Germany during 1944. 

Early in his career, Smith conceived, designed and developed the basic engine thrust stand measuring system for Engine Test Facility (ETF) test cells. After less than one year of design, construction, and development, the thrust stand was operationally ready on schedule and supported the first sea level test in the ETF Run-up Stand in August 1953. 

This same thrust measuring system also supported the first altitude jet engine test at AEDC. This inaugural altitude engine test was conducted in ETF Test Cell T-1 during April 1954. These systems and their successors have been the standard for determination of air-breathing engine performance in the altitude test cells at AEDC for many years. The basic elements of his design are now in widespread use throughout the engine test community. 

"Project responsibility for the engineering design and development of these high accuracy measuring systems was a challenge for a young guy like me, but it was very successful," he said. "I am pleased to have been a part of the project team." 

His original design represented a major advance in the U.S. state-of-the-art for jet engine thrust measurements at altitude. These new AEDC systems provided thrust measurements with two to four times better accuracy and precision than other contemporary systems. 

A short time later, he and Roy Matz, an ARO co-worker, conceived, designed, and developed a new measurement system for engine airflow that continues to provide the standard baseline for airflow measurements in the ETF test cells. This Smith-Matz critical flow venturi system is included as a national standard in the fluid meters code of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and is also an international standard. 

"Both of these standard ETF measuring systems were designed to meet the contemporary (late 50s - early 60s) need and included growth provisions to meet needs of the future as best as we could project it," he explained. "We anticipated that engines would be larger as time passed and they were. We were able to include enough provisions for growth that the useful lifetime of these test equipment items turned out to be not days or months, but years." 

His work in the application of these two measurement systems contributed significantly to advancing the state-of-the-art standards in resolving the thrust and drag of high performance jet aircraft beginning with the F-104, F-111, C-5, and B-1, and continuing to succeeding generations of such aircraft. 

For 14 years, Smith managed ETF's Research Branch and then the T-Cell Division in developing the technology base and designing special test equipment and facilities for high-speed air breathing engines and liquid and solid rockets. During this time, he managed the original experimental research efforts in supersonic combustion of hydrogen at AEDC. For this research, he and Dr. R. P. (Bob) Rhodes were jointly awarded the first
General H. H. Arnold Award presented by the Tennessee Section of the American Rocket Society in 1961. 

Again, using experimental and analytical works of many investigators, Mr. Smith developed and refined hardware design methods for the first exhaust gas ejector-diffusers, which were utilized in the jet engine test cells at AEDC. He was a major contributor to the extension of these methods to the design of ejector-diffusers for rocket motors when altitude ground testing of such motors was initiated in the late 1950s. 

In the 1960s, Smith envisioned a direct real-time relationship of the experimental engine-performance measurements from the engine test cells with computational results from the engine mathematical model. This vision was enabled by nearly simultaneous breakthroughs in high-speed cycle balance engine math models at the USAF's Propulsion Lab and high-speed data processing at AEDC. His advocacy for this relationship led to the first-generation AEDC system, which provided on-line comparison of experimental results with math model results. 

During the late 60s and the early 70s, he led the small team of AEDC engineering specialists that developed the design requirements for the Aeropropulsion Systems Test Facility (ASTF). The subsequent AEDC advocacy process for this large facility was led by the AEDC Chief Scientist, initially Dr. Bill Heiser and subsequently Dr. Jim Mitchell. Throughout the advocacy process Smith provided technical support to the Chief Scientists. 

The advocacy process was ultimately successful and led to the construction of ASTF that was completed in 1984 at a cost exceeding $600 million. Smith remembers the ASTF advocacy as "some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my career were supporting the Chief Scientists through special documents, meetings, and conferences with national leaders in Congress, DoD, industry, and academia." 

After retiring in 1991 as Vice President and Chief Scientist of Sverdrup Technology, Smith continued his service as an aerospace engineering consultant specifically in the development, operation and maintenance of jet engines. 

"My current role as a consultant to the USAF's Propulsion Product General Manager (PPGM) affords a unique opportunity to remain engaged and learn what's being done better in the jet engine world," he explained. "My role also provides the opportunity to be disappointed occasionally because the engine community - aka the Engine Mafia-sometimes repeats mistakes of the past largely because of significant and increasing losses in corporate memory at all levels - system project offices, T&E centers, sustainment centers, government labs, and engine manufacturers. I am a very strong believer that to maintain U.S. aerospace superiority a few new failures must be induced as part of the search for the true location of the leading edge of any new capability. However, there is not enough time or money to allow for the luxury of repeating failures from the past." 

His best advice to the newer and younger employees of the center is to, "pay attention to what you know, humbly respect what you do not know, do good work, and look around to learn what others are doing in the engine community so next time you can do your tasks better." 

He has always considered education a major part of his success and encourages young workers of today to make the most of an education and to take it all with them when you go to a job. 

"My education has been a keystone. If I do not learn something new everyday, I figure I am really in trouble. I make sure every day of my life that I learn something, sometimes it is a good thing and sometime it is a bad thing, but in the end, each bit of learning counts." 

Smith also believes in giving back to the community and staying involved. He is a committed servant to his church, First United Methodist in Manchester, and to his community having served many roles in education, civic affairs, and governance for the Coffee County community. 

"In addition, I believe it is necessary to commit a fair portion of my time and energy to organizations that serve my profession such as AIAA and NSPE. It appears to me that, in recent years, the Team AEDC management and engineering staff is participating less in professional development," he said. "By less participation I mean attendance in meetings with fellow professionals, participation in seminars, and giving of presentations is now less than it was a decade or so ago." 

His advice to practicing engineers of today is to give professionalism its fair share commitment along with other key commitments including your God, family, and work. 

Smith hopes AEDC will still play a significant role in the United States' defense program for years to come. 

"I hope the U.S. will maintain its resolve to have a superior defense capability that includes aerospace testing before deployment. If Congress and the country can make that commitment; there will always be a role for AEDC." 

What Smith wants to be remembered most for in this life is that he is a man of integrity and that he strived to perform each new task a little better than the last. 

"I would like to be remembered as a loyal friend, as a competent mentor, as a respecter of persons and most of all as a believer in an omnipotent God." 

In regards to AEDC, Smith said, "The AEDC team working together, has, for over half a century, made major contributions to the security of our country and it's rewarding to have been a part of that." 

Continued Education and Accolades
Smith also earned a Master of Science degree from UTSI in mechanical engineering. He is a graduate of UCLA's Modern Engineering for Engineering Executives and of the Senior Management Program of the American Management Association. He served as an associate professor (adjunct) at UTSI from 1969 until 1996. 

He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1988. 

He was honored as an AEDC Fellow in June 1990 for his technical and managerial leadership in developing and implementing new approaches for ground testing and evaluation of air-breathing and rocket aerospace propulsion systems.

In 1992, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. 

He was awarded the 1995 Wright Brothers Lectureship in Aeronautics on the topic Integration of Airframes and Engines by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 

In 1996 the Rheinisch-Westfalischen Technischen Hochschule and UTSI selected him as the Quick-Goethert Lecturer. 

In February 2005, Smith was named the Engineer of the Year by the Nashville chapter of the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers. He was the first engineer from the aerospace field to receive this award, which is presented annually to a professional who has had a lifetime commitment to engineering in Middle Tennessee.


William T. "Bill" Strike's technical role in the von Karman facility has left a lasting mark on the way AEDC conducts hypersonic testing. A recognized industry leader in understanding hypersonic boundary layer characteristics and the wind tunnel simulation of the various boundary layers, he developed a computer program - which is still used today - for determining the location of boundary layer transition for various models tested in the hypersonic wind tunnels. 

Mr. Strike developed the miniaturized Mach-Flow-Angularity and total temperature probes needed to make flow field measurements in hypersonic boundary layers along with the various on-board and overhead probing mechanisms needed to position the probes in the flow field area of the interest. He wasrecognized as a blockage analysis expert and had many accomplishments in this area, including detecting and correcting deficiencies in the WICS test blockage analysis inTunnel A, conducting profitable testing on a large National Aerospace Program (NASP) blockage model in Tunnels B and C, and developing and documenting the model-tunnel blockage technique and the criteria currently used in the von Karman facility. 

He planned and directed the first hypersonice inlet test programs NASP.  A leader in the development of instrumentation used in hypersonic testing, his instrumentation aided in the interpretation of laser holography, shadowgraph and Schlieren optical measurements of the flow field structure around a body in hypersonic flow. 

Inducted as an AEDC Fellow in 1995, he was praised for his role and contributions to advancing hypersonic testing at the center. "AEDC is known as the premier hypersonicground test facility of the world, due to Mr. Strike's significant contribution and accomplishments," wrote then Deputy Director of Operations Navy Captain Stephen J. Himes. "He is known throughout the nation for his work associated with hypersonic boundary layer transition." 

Additionally, his contributions lead to an understanding of the calibration of the Tunnels A, B and C and the quality of flow produced by these tunnels; calibration of all tunnels using real gas effects and assessing air liquefaction effects; and examined the need and the technical requirements for converting Tunnel B into a "quiet" tunnel to produce laminar flow conditions on a model in the tunnel. 

Mr. Strike began his career at AEDC as project engineer and was responsible for testing in the von Karman Gas Dynamics Facility. His responsibilities included planning, conducting, analyzing and documenting results of wind tunnel tests. He came to work for AEDC after receiving his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954. 

During his AEDC career, he reviewed and conducted all technical analyses work in his section, and wrote and presented technical papers on his findings. Mr. Strike also had overall responsibility for coordinating NASP testing in the von Karman facility. 

Furthermore, he reviewed test design, model blockage analyses, boundary layer simulation requirements and techniques, tunnel flow calibration and flow quality issues, and he also advised von Karman Facility test project engineers. 

Mr. Strike performed work for AEDC that did not pertain to the wind tunnels. He developed a computer code for estimating pressure drops and mass flow distribution in the H-1 arc heater and provided spectral analysis that led to an alternate technique for detecting the rotational motion of the arc in the heater. 

He was also able to devote his knowledge to G-Range. He was involved in changing the data acquisition technique that provided a more up-to-date record of the range test data and assisted in the acoustical and vibrational analysis of the modifications of the APTU burner arms that had failed structurally during the initial inspection of the facility. 

While working for AEDC, Mr. Strike authored and co-authored more than 90 publications, papers and presentations pertaining to his test findings. Some of his topics included effects of liquefaction of air, investigation of suction controlled boundary layer on models, research of stability and transition of laminar boundary layers, and a review of lateral jet augmentation effects. 

Mr. Strike passed away on May 18, 1994. At the time of his death, he had 40 years of service with AEDC and was still employed as a project engineer.


Maj. Gen. Leif Sverdrup, USAR retired, once wrote in his column "Old Man's Corner," in his company's newsletter, SPICE, that "it is not only old soldiers who never die. I believe engineers, more so, are in that category, for their monuments remain long after they are gone." 

Today, some 30 years after his death, the bridges and structures designed and constructed by General Sverdrup and his firm, stand as testaments to his engineering abilities. 

Difficult to pronounce and almost as hard to spell, few names in the engineering world carry as much respect and clout as "Sverdrup." His legacy includes the 17-mile-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, named one of the "Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World" after its completion in 1964, the Bhumiphol Dam in Thailand and St. Louis' Busch Stadium. 

But it was one particular project - designing a complex of wind tunnels and other testing facilities at a new site for the Air Force - first discussed with him in 1946 that would firmly establish his company in this area. 

Leif Johan Sverdrup was born on Ytre Sulen in Norway on Jan. 11, 1898. The son of a minister, first showed an interest in science when he was about 13, conducting experiments on a chemistry set in his parents' basement. 

At 16, he boarded the Kristianiafjord and left Norway for America. Arriving in New York Dec. 7, young Sverdrup took a train to Minneapolis and his Uncle George's home. 

Two years later, he had earned enough money to begin Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He graduated in May 1918 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and later that summer, enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army. 

During this period, the five-year residency requirement was waived for members of the armed forces, so on Sept. 30, 1918, he took an oath of allegiance and became a U.S. citizen. While in basic training, he received his certificate of naturalization. Eventually he gave up trying to teach people to pronounce his first name correctly - "Lafe" instead of "Leaf," and asked his friends to introduce him as Jack Sverdrup. 

In 1919, he obtained a commission as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery, before opting to go into the inactive reserves, where he served two, five-year terms. In 1929, he was honorably discharged. 

Meanwhile, in 1919, he decided to become an engineer and enrolled at the University of Minnesota. It was here that he first met Professor John Ira Parcel, his indeterminate structures professor who would later become his business partner. 

After graduation from the University of Minnesota in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, he took the first job he was offered - bridge inspector with the Minnesota State Highway Department. He spent a year in that job before moving to the Missouri State Highway Department. 

But it would be a bridge in Hermann, Mo., that would prove the catalyst to propel a young Sverdrup into business success when, in 1927, he was selected to design a bridge over the Missouri River. 

Leaving the Missouri State Highway Department, General Sverdrup started out on his own. However, he quickly realized that he needed a partner. 

"I didn't want to be alone," he said. "I wanted a partner who was older than myself. Since I was not known in the technical world, John Parcel came to mind at once. I went to see him, and he agreed to come with me." 

Sverdrup & Parcel was officially founded April 1, 1928, as a civil engineering firm specializing in the field of bridges. 

In October 1941, at the Army's request, General Sverdrup took on a job that his firm had previously declined - developing airfields in the Pacific so American bombers could be flown to Gen. Douglas MacArthur for the defense of the Philippines. He then signed a contract to plan and design all the work in the Fiji Islands, New Caledonia, New Hebrides and the Solomons. 

Two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, MacArthur sent a message that he wanted Sverdrup & Parcel to handle all of his engineering work. 

During this period, he relinquished all connections with his firm - no profits, salary or business communications. Three years later, in 1945, he was a major general, commander of all engineering forces in the southwest Pacific, chief engineer to General MacArthur and a national hero of the engineering fraternity. 

During General Sverdrup's absence, Sverdrup & Parcel entered the age of advanced technology by developing wind tunnels at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. 

In 1946, Sverdrup & Parcel was presented with the possibility of designing a complex of wind tunnels and other testing facilities at a new site for the Air Force. The project was the Air Engineering Development Center, which later changed to Arnold Engineering Development Center, in memory of five-star General of the Air Force Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold. 

Although the details of the job were staggering and Sverdrup & Parcel was a 50-man organization, Sverdrup felt the firm could meet the challenge, but left the decision to his partners. 

On April 22, 1950, the Arnold Research Organization - or ARO - was incorporated solely for the purpose of managing, maintaining and operating the center. Time magazine, in a story in its Aug. 7, 1950, issue titled "A Norseman Named Leif," wrote: 

"Last week the Air Force called Sverdrup to a bigger job. To ARO, Inc., a Sverdrup & Parcel subsidiary, it has the task of operating its $100 million Arnold (for the late "Hap" Arnold) Engineering Development Center now abuilding at Tullahoma, Tenn. That was fitting enough; Sverdrup's firm drew the plant's blueprints five years ago. 

"At the Tullahoma center, which will not be in complete operation until 1952, Sverdrup's men will test life-size mockups of jets, turbojets and rockets under conditions simulating altitudes up to 75,000 ft. They will simulate conditions found at sea-level speeds up to 7,500 m.p.h. To Sverdrup thus went one of the key jobs in keeping the U.S. ahead in the race for technical supremacy." 

General MacArthur called General Sverdrup an "engineer soldier at his best" when he pinned the Distinguished Service Cross on him in 1945. Additionally, General Sverdrup was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart. 

He earned military citations and medals from England, Australia and other nations, including Norway's esteemed Order of St. Olaf. 

After the war, he reactivated the 102nd (Ozark) Division of the U.S. Army Reserve. For his service as commanding general of the division from 1947 to 1958, the Army added an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Distinguished Service Medal. 

Sverdrup died in 1976 and was buried with full military honors in Valhalla Cemetery in Hanley Hills, Mo.


Born in Woonsocket, R. I. in 1945, Robert L.P. Voisinet was the last of four children in a well established family where his father worked in a woolen textile mill and his mother took care of the home and children. 

Due to the development of synthetic fibers and the fall of the natural fiber textile industry in the 1950s, Mr. Voisinet's father took the opportunity to relocate his family to Florida to begin a new career at a new research development complex operated by Pratt & Whitney. His father knew little about jet engines, but got in at the start and retired some 15 years later. 

Life in Florida opened new opportunities for Mr. Voisinet he had not yet experienced in Rhode Island-fishing and boating, things the New England states could only offer in the summer months. He graduated from high school with honors in 1963 and quickly chose the aerospace industry as a career path. He had a special interest in fluid mechanics. 

After graduation from the University of Florida in 1968, Mr. Voisinet was recruited by the wind tunnel group at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL) at White Oak in Silver Spring, Md. Today it is commonly known as Hypervelocity Tunnel 9. He joined the boundary layer group and began working on compressible turbulent boundary layer studies. 

Mr. Voisinet met his future wife, Air Force brat Karen Murray, in 1965 and was married three short years later in 1968. He believes the early ties to and trust of the Air Force helped transition Tunnel 9 from the Navy to Air Force control. 

His career at NOL reached new heights and Mr. Voisinet was getting national and international recognition for his boundary layer research. Special instrumentation had to be conceived for use in the novel boundary layer channel wind tunnel. His design of a special skin friction balance with roughness and blowing capability allowed new data to be obtained and new theories to be developed. This work still stands as landmark in the field. 

Tunnel 9 became operational in 1976. It provides aerodynamic simulation in the critical altitude regimes associated with strategic offensive missile systems, advanced defensive interceptor systems and hypersonic vehicle technologies. 

In 1984, he was asked to take on the leadership of the Aerodynamics Branch, Naval Surface Warfare Center (same organization, new name). His primary responsibility now became the management of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Hypervelocity Wind Tunnel No. 9. Major facility modifications were required or new innovative diagnostic techniques were developed to support these programs. 

Mr. Voisinet convinced program managers in all three military services and industry that Tunnel 9 could be adapted to provide unique ways to support their programs, and he provided personal technical contributions to each of them. Through this effort, he helped develop Tunnel 9 into a critical national core capability that has saved the Department of Defense millions of dollars by providing low-cost ground testing options, minimizing flight testing, reducing risk and avoiding gross over design of new systems. 

Mr. Voisinet's biggest challenge came in 1995 when the Base Realignment and Closure commission threatened to close the Navy's White Oak site and close Tunnel 9. Despite all his efforts, the BRAC commission still wanted to close the site. 

But, Mr. Voisinet didn't give up. He went to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and convinced them the facility had to remain open. He also laid the foundation for a very complex reuse plan for Tunnel 9, one which
called for the transfer of management to the Air Force, long-term institutional funding, coordination with General Services Administration for host services and endorsement by the community, local government, state and congressional members. 

On Oct. 1, 1997, Tunnel 9 officially became an Air Force facility. The value added to AEDC is the facility's renowned capabilities to test hypersonic weapons to speeds as high as 16 times the speed of sound and over a wide range of altitude conditions. 

For this work, Mr. Voisinet was honored as an AEDC Fellow in 1999. He and his wife Karen currently live in Stuart, Fla., where Bob has returned to a life of fishing and boating. They have two daughters, Michelle and Bonnie still residing in the Maryland/Virginia area.


Dr. Dave Whitfield grew up as a farm boy in Paoli, Okla., raising cattle and growing crops with his grandfather and uncles.
Just before his senior year in high school, he moved seven miles down the road to Pauls Valley, Okla., primarily to play basketball. There was, however, another advantage to the move. 

"Pauls Valley High School allowed me to take the math and physics classes I needed for college," he said. "Paoli didn't have high school math or physics at the time." 

After graduation, Dr. Whitfield was offered a full scholarship to play football at Oklahoma State University (OSU), which helped provide the necessary funds for his college education. 

Dr. Whitfield credits his older brother, Dr. Jack Whitfield, as the one who influenced him to go into the field of engineering. 

Jack Whitfield also helped Dr. Whitfield find his way here to the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), providing him the opportunity for a summer internship at Arnold after his junior year in college. By the time Dr. Whitfield graduated from OSU, he knew he wanted to work here full-time. 

"I knew that AEDC was where I wanted to work," he explained. "Coming to Tullahoma, Tenn., also afforded me the opportunity to pursue my graduate degrees at the University of Tennessee Space Institute while working full time at AEDC." 

When he began his career in June 1966, Dr. Whitfield could not have imagined the challenges he would have ahead of him as he focused his research interests in the field of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). 

He defines CFD as the computational simulation of fluid flow resulting from the numerical solution of time-dependent conservation-law-equations. 

At AEDC, CFD was used to supplement wind tunnel testing, but according to Dr. Whitfield, not a lot of people believed in CFD in the early 1970s. 

"In fact," he said, "my efforts to promote CFD within AEDC in the early 1970s probably got me kicked-out, or through, most mahogany doors. However, when CFD was used to explain the source of the flow angularity problem in the test section of 16T, and when AEDC Fellow Dr. John Adams' CFD group in VKF explained how a tunnel there was
actually operating at Mach 12 and not Mach 16 as previously thought, CFD found new life." 

"I was told once that 'AEDC is a test-data place, and there is no place for CFD,'" he explained. "Our objective was to help those running the tunnels to be able to do their jobs better. I don't think AEDC should just be a 'test-data' place. Rather it should be a place for solutions and physical understanding of the problems, and this can be accomplished better by the mutual cooperation between those focusing on experiments and those focusing on numerics." 

Working in VKF, what was then Aerospace Environmental Facility Chamber in Mark 1, ETF, and PWT, Dr. Whitfield spent the next 10 years focusing on the progress of CFD at the center. 

Before leaving AEDC in 1980 to become a professor of aerospace engineering at Mississippi State University (MSU), he was the supervisor of the CFD section in PWT. 

When asked how the technology has either become better, more complicated, or worse since first working with CFD, Dr. Whitfield said, "The field has changed, in part because what used to be considered a supercomputer now has less computing power than a desktop PC. I notice that jobs (computer runs) all run the same amount of time now as they did 25 years ago, but now much more can be accomplished in that time." 

He feels the primary change in the field, however, is the number of people currently working with CFD. 

"When I started, there were no more people working in the area in the world than what I could count on my fingers. I probably knew them all, and in most cases, knew their families." 

Dr. Whitfield said that the use of CFD has now broadened to other areas of application including medicine, nanotechnology, and finance.
"CFD will continue to improve with regard to technology, and this CFD-originated technology base will find its way into other fields. This transition is already taking place." 

In 2002, Dr. Whitfield left Mississippi State University and moved to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). There, he serves as the director of the university's SimCenter, which is the research arm of the Graduate School of Computational Engineering. 

His experience at AEDC has played a significant role in his career because it has kept him "applications" oriented. 

"I use my experience from AEDC to focus on getting the job accomplished (results). At AEDC I learned that quality work is the most important thing."
Whether inside the center's gates or outside in the world of academia, Dr. Whitfield always appreciated the caliber of people who worked at AEDC and the fact that many of the people within the AEDC community had superior skills when compared to their counterparts outside the gate, i.e. located at other institutions and centers. 

"The folks at AEDC were outstanding, did their jobs because they loved them, and saw a need for what they did," he said. "Many of these folks are still at AEDC, and many have been replaced by equally devoted people. The United States still needs a vibrant AEDC." 

During his career, Dr. Whitfield's work has been recognized on several occasions. He has been honored by being selected as an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Fellow, an MSU Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering, an MSU Alumni Association Outstanding Researcher, and an MSU Hearin-Hess Professor for several years.


AEDC Fellow Robert M. (Bob) Williams, was general manager and president of AEDC's first contract operator, Arnold Research Organization (ARO) from 1954-1974 and was truly a pioneer in his own right. 

Many of the current operational test facilities were built and made operational during his term. 

Mr. Williams was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the center and developing company policies that were consistent with the unique relationship established between the government and the contractor. 

He led the effort to organize a staff and train a new workforce that grew from 1,500 in 1954 to 4,100 in 1967. 

He managed the evolution of competitive salary and benefit plans that attracted a high technology workforce. 

He was one of the chief architects of a collective bargaining agreement between many independent unions to operate corporately as the Air Engineering Metal Trades Council. 

Along with his managerial expertise, Mr. Williams also brought his operation and design experience in jet engines and advanced compressors to AEDC. 

He took the lead in investigating the first jet engine failure, which allowed him to confirm an internal engine failure as the cause. 

His foresight enabled him to use this failure in a positive manner and helped the Air Force understand that failures were typical elements of system development and that failure in a ground test facility is preferable to failure in flight. 

He was an advocate of testing rocket motors at altitude conditions even though conventional wisdom said such test were unnecessary. 

His support of both facilities and personnel skills from aircraft and jet engines to spacecraft and rocket engines led to AEDC supporting the development of the first U.S. space and missile systems. 

Mr. Williams was involved in the first meetings of the establishment of a University of Tennessee graduate school at AEDC and later the UT Space Institute. 

Before coming to AEDC, Mr. Williams was chief engineer for Packard Motor Co., Aviation Division in Toledo, Ohio, from 1944-48, where he was responsible for design, construction and operation of its $3.5 million gas turbine laboratory. 

From 1949-54, he was head of the preliminary design section for Sverdrup & Parcel Inc., St. Louis, the parent company of ARO. 

Mr. Williams held four U.S. patents for engineering designs, one for a motor now housed in the Smithsonian Institution. 

In 1993, Mr. Williams was honored as an AEDC Fellow and characterized as "The guiding light during AEDC's infancy." 

The late AEDC Fellow, former AEDC Commander and close friend Maj. Gen. Lee V. Gossick praised Mr. Williams by stating he is a "truly great American." 

Mr. Williams passed away in 1995 and is remembered for his many contributions to AEDC and the Tullahoma community.


William Robert "Bill" Wimbrow, an aeronautical research scientist and wind tunnel expert at AEDC, died Feb. 9. He was 86 years old. 

Upon graduation from Eastville High School in Northampton County, Va., Mr. Wimbrow enrolled in the engineering department at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. While attending, he was a part-time research assistant and student instructor. He was deferred from the military service in World War II until he graduated in 1943. 

After graduation from the university, Mr. Wimbrow served in the Navy as an engineering officer on a Landing Craft Infantry ship until 1946. Then he taught for a year at the University of Virginia before accepting a job at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (now NASA), Moffett Field, Calif., as an aeronautical research scientist in the 1x3 supersonic high-speed research tunnel. 

In 1954, Mr. Wimbrow was hired by the Arnold Research Organization, then AEDC operating contractor, as an aeronautical engineer. He worked in the transonic branch of PWT and then as a supervisor in the aerodynamic test projects section, transonic branch,PWT, becoming manager in 1959.  

In 1962, he became manager of the LoRho branch where he was engaged in analytical and experimental work to develop detailed design criteria for two advanced hypersonic facilities. LoRho was a pilot test facility where the power generator was used to researcha more efficient method of extracting electrical energy from burning fuels. 

Plans for the transonic branch were used as a guide for the planners of the European wind tunnel. Their objective was to construct, operate, maintain and further develop a high Reynolds Number transonic wind tunnel facility located in Cologne, Germany. The construction began in early 1990. Under the auspices of the NATO Advisory Group Aerospace Research & Development (AGARD), Mr. Wimbrow served as a consultant tothe National Luchtvaarlaboratorium of the Netherlands on transonic wind tunnel techniques in July and August of 1960. 

In 1970, he began a three-year term as president of the International Supersonice Tunnel Association, which met during this period in Sweden and various facilities in the UnitedStates. He retired from Sverdrup in 1986. 

Survivors include Mary Anne Boss Wimbrow, his wife of 61 years; two sons, Robert "Bob" (Linda) Wimbrow and Chris (Pamela) Wimbrow; two granddaughters, Debora Rebecca; grandson, Andrew, and three great-grandchildren.