Richard Whitcomb

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Contents

[top] Career

Richard Whitcomb (1921 - 2009) spent most of his career here at Langley, starting when we were the NACA and retiring after we became NASA. His research was recognized for revolutionary concepts that enabled aircraft to fly faster, farther, and with less fuel.

1943 Graduated with high honors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering

1954 Collier Trophy for proposed Area Rule and the reduction of drag induced by the aircraft itself, resulting in a change in the shape of aircraft fuselage and the ability to break the speed of sound.

1955 USAF Exceptional Service Medal

1956 NACA Distinguished Service Medal

1956 Honorary Doctorate of Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (youngest recipient at age 35 years)

1956 Top Ten Outstanding Men of the Year by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce

1960s Designed Supercritical Airfoil to delay the onset of wave drag in the transonic speed range.

1970 Sylvanus Albert Reed Award, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

1970s Created Winglets to be placed at tips of airplane wings to reduce vortices and drag. Winglets are now common on both commercial and civil aircraft.

1974 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy

1978 Meritorious Service to Aviation, National Business Aircraft Association

1979 Howard N. Potts Medal, Franklin Institute

1985 Honorary Doctorate of Science, Old Dominion University

2000 NAS Award in Aeronautical Engineering, National Academy of Science

2003 Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame

2012 Inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio (posthumously).


[top] Wind Tunnel Research

Whitcomb worked primarily in two wind tunnels: the 8-Foot High Speed Tunnel (HST) and the 8-Foot Transonic Pressure Tunnel (TPT).


8-Foot High Speed Tunnel (Bldg 641): Whitcomb developed the idea for his Area Rule. This tunnel was redesignated the Transonic Tunnel (TT) in late 1950.

8-Foot Transonic Pressure Tunnel (Bldg 640): Whitcomb tested Area Rule models, as well as developed and tested the supercritical airfoil and winglets.

As Head of the 8-Foot Tunnels Branch, Whitcomb oversaw another, smaller tunnel, the 2-foot by 2-foot Low-Density Hypersonic Tunnel. This ejector-type tunnel provided continuous flow at high Mach number (3 to 7) and low density. Investigations in this tunnel included air-breathing boosters and lower wing-loaded reentry vehicles.


[top] Obituary

Richard Whitcomb, a mechanical engineer who changed the way we fly today with three design innovations that made airplanes fly farther and faster using less fuel, has died. He was 88.

Whitcomb died of pneumonia Tuesday (October 13, 2009) in Newport News, Va.

His contributions, for which he won the most prestigious prize in aviation, focused on a plane's efficiency cutting through air at speeds approaching the sound barrier, or the "transonic region." As airplanes approach the speed of sound, they encounter a significant increase in drag, or force that resists the plane's movement through the air.

Whitcomb made improvements to wings and how they attach to the fuselage to lessen the amount of drag on an airplane.

"His intellectual fingerprints are evident on virtually every commercial aircraft flying today," said Tom Crouch, senior curator of aeronautics at the National Air and Space Museum. He called Whitcomb one of the most important aeronautical engineers since the end of World War II.

As a young, obscure engineer in 1951 with a NASA predecessor, the Hampton, Va.-based National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, Whitcomb made a discovery so simple yet so radical that it forever changed jet design.

Until Whitcomb's improvement, the bodies of most jet airplanes were cigar shaped to be sleek, as with Chuck Yeager's squat, orange Bell X-1 experimental craft. The X-1 easily broke the sound barrier, but it was impractical for tactical use -- it was a hot rod built for one purpose. The Air Force wanted fighter planes that could maneuver supersonically with ease and greater capability.

Whitcomb developed a body design that allowed jet planes to travel faster than ever using the same engine and same amount of fuel: the "Coke-bottle" shape, otherwise known as a "wasp waist."

To make up for the drag that the surface area of the wings created, the answer was simple: Cut it out. By pinching the fuselage at the section where the wings connected, the drag they had created was neutralized.

His innovation became known as the area rule, and, at 34, Whitcomb was awarded the National Aeronautic Assn.'s Collier Trophy for the greatest achievement in aviation in 1954. Previous recipients included aviation pioneers including Glenn H. Curtiss, Howard Hughes, Glenn L. Martin, Elmer A. Sperry and Chuck Yeager.

In addition to the Collier Trophy, Whitcomb received the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for science and engineering, in 1973. He also was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and National Academy of Engineering.

Whitcomb, who admitted that he was not math-minded, used his imagination as a wind tunnel. Colleagues said he could "see air."

"Most people have to see through testing how air moves on a model," said Roy Harris, former aeronautics director at the Hampton facility, who worked with Whitcomb for decades. "But he had this uncanny ability to accurately sense how air molecules reacted over a surface before he even built the models."

With Whitcomb's aeronautic improvements, new Air Force fighter jets sailed through the sound barrier and kept going, sometimes adding as much as 100 mph to their top speeds.

Whitcomb also broke through a barrier as a researcher.

His innovation earned him unprecedented carte blanche and the freedom to design as he pleased.

Richard Travis Whitcomb was born Feb. 21, 1921, in Evanston, Ill., and grew up in Worcester, Mass. His father, who had flown balloons in World War I, was an engineer. As a young man, Richard Whitcomb used his parents' basement to improve model planes he bought.

In 1943, he graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

He had read about the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics laboratory in Langley, Va., in an article in Fortune magazine and, suitably impressed, applied and got a job there as a researcher helping to design the B-29 bomber.

After inventing the "area rule" slim-waist design, Whitcomb made two improvements to wing design that furthered the efficiency of airplanes traveling in the transonic region.

Planes encounter fierce resistance as they near the sound barrier, like speed boats over choppy water. In 1969, Whitcomb designed a wing that eliminated that resistance with a thick, blunt leading edge, a flat top, a bulging underside and a tail edge that hooked downward with a lip that looked like an extended flap.

The resulting design, called the "supercritical wing," is incorporated in almost every commercial airliner flying today, and has saved the industry billions in dollars in fuel costs and flying time, Crouch and Harris said.

Whitcomb also designed small wings attached to the tips of wings at inclined angles. These winglets, as he called them, diffuse small vortexes on the wingtips that create significant drag on a plane. Despite the winglets' diminutive design, they increase fuel efficiency as much as 6% to 7%.

Whitcomb, a longtime resident of Hampton, never married and is survived by a sister. His fellow researchers called him a workaholic. He often would work a double shift, take a short nap on a cot he had next to the wind tunnel where he tested, and then go right back.

Whitcomb officially retired in 1980 but continued to work as a consultant for NASA and other aerospace companies. But Whitcomb did not work for money and had little use for it. He used expired checks, sometimes almost a year old, as bookmarks.

"There's been a continual drive in me ever since I was a teenager to find a better way to do everything," Whitcomb told the Washington Post in 1969. "A lot of very intelligent people are willing to adapt, but only to a certain extent. If a human mind can figure out a better way to do something, let's do it. I can't just sit around. I have to think."


Aviation Week & Space Technology/October 19, 2009

NASA Obituary


[top] Photos

Portraits and Awards

19551959LAL 91805.jpg19641969 Portrait1973-10-12 Whitcomb Receives AwardAccepting National Medal of ScienceWith President Nixon1980 with Don Hearth1998 Portrait2002 with Doug DwoyerAt European conferenceA Breguet Taon in FranceNASA #810 F-8 with Supercritical Wing


Research Photos

1959 Supersonic Transport (SST)1959 SST using shock bodies on wingWhitcombLecture.jpg1969 at North American PlantWinglet tested in building 641Supercritical Wing 8' TPT


Whitcomb and the T2

NASA's thick supercritical wing was mounted on a Navy T2-C Buckeye (North American-Rockwell) and flight tested for the first time from Columbus, Ohio. A thin version of the airfoil was fitted to a modified F-8 for spring 1971 tests.

T-2Buckeye.jpgT-2Buckeye2.jpgT-2Flight.jpgL-70-9085.jpg


Whitcomb and the F-8

Thomas McMurtry joined NASA as a research test pilot in 1967. The first project he was assigned to was the F-8 Supercritical Wing project. He flew its first flight on 9 March 1971 (NASA 810). He was the t pilot on the TF-8A Supercritical Wing and on the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire Airplane

1970 F-8 Crusader1971 F-8 Crusader1971F-8 flown to assess supercritical wingEdwards Flight Research CenterEdwards Flight Research CenterMeasuring wing on #810 for supercritical testL-71-2482.jpgWhitcomb, John McTigue and Test Pilot Thomas McMurtryMcMurtry signed photoWhitcomb and John McTigueL-71-2486.jpgL-71-2487.jpgL-71-2488.jpgL-72-9011.jpg


2007 AIAA Luncheon

This collection of photos was taken by retired researcher Joe Chambers at the luncheon for Dick Whitcomb sponsored by the AIAA Hampton Roads Chapter on May 17, 2007. Dick died two years later in 2009.

Photos show the Wright Brothers Trophy and the Collier Trophy as well as several individuals-Gary Price, Hewitt Phillips, Pat West, and Debbie Douglas.

With Hewitt PhillipsWith Pat WestWhitcomb003.jpgWhitcomb004.jpgWhitcomb007.jpgWhitcomb008.jpg

[top] Films

2004 Lecture at NASA Langley Research Center

Richard Whitcomb--The Story Behind a Great Discovery

Whitcomb Tuft Test


[top] Archival Collection

Original hard copy of documents below are stored in the Langley Archives Room Box #10


[top] 8-Foot Tunnel Progress Report

original in Archives Room, Wind Tunnel Progress Folder #1

photo originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

V-11-1_01V-11-1_02V-11-1_03V-11-1_04More Photos

[top] Area Rule, History

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Whitcomb with model
Model Test in 8-Ft Transonic Wind Tunnel (reverse)

05-12-1971: Recommendation for classification and limited dissemination of information on Area Rule Lift

5-5-71 Times Herald article

1-9-70 Langley Researcher

Potomac Article 8-31-69

The Washington Post cover 8-31-69

Article 1-17-65

1-18-63 The Times Herald

1956 Article about Award

12-23-55 Air Scoop

11-25-55 Air Scoop

9-12-55 New York Times

List of awards recognitions

The Supersonic Decision Editorial

[top] Area Rule, Supersonic/Transonic

Folder #2

Whitcomb's Explanation of Area Rule

STOL VTOL Research in the Transonic Speed Range

Subsonic and Transonic Problems in Supersonic Cruise Aircraft

Supersonic Flight Writeup

Transonic Flight Writeup

Transonic Transports Writeup

Proposed Publication "The Langley Program"

Research Highlights/8-Foot Tunnels Branch

Feasibility Study for Supersonic Transport Configuration

Proposed Mach 3 Transport Configuration

Comments on Proposed Design

Progress Report No.18 8-Foot Tunnels Branch

Douglas Aircraft Company Correspondence

Performance of Subsonic Transports and Cargo Aircraft

Area Distribution Analysis Data

Data

all pages except last

last page

[top] Arrow Wing Data

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Data 1

Arrow Wing DataArrow Wing Data2Wing Lower Surface DataWing Upper Surface Data

[top] ASYM Body - Delta Wing - Results

Folder #3

Cm and Cd v Cl graph

Combination (M=1.4)

Corrections

Delta Wing m=2.01 Graph 2

Delta Wing m=2.01 Graph

Ex Camber Body 45deg Swept Wing

Run 2 Mod. Camber Body 45deg Swept Wing

Run 3 Asym. Body 45deg Swept Wing

Run 4 Sym. Indented Body 45deg Swept Wing

Run 5 Basic Body 45deg Swept Wing

Run 6 Basic Body 60deg Delta Wing

Run 7 Cambered Body 60deg Delta Wing

Run 8 Sym. Indented Body Delta Wing

Run 10 Cambered Body Delta Wing

Runs 11, 16, 17 graph

Run 12 Indented Body Delta Wing

Run 13 Basic Body Delta Wing

Run 14 Basic Body Delta Wing

Asym. Body Swept Wing

Run 16 Sym. Ind. Body Swept Wing

Run 17 Extended Camber Body Swept Wing

Run 18 Moderate Camber Body Swept Wing

Run 19 Moderate Camber Bosy Swept Wing

Runs Graph

Swept Wing m=2.01 Graph 2

Swept Wing m=2.01 Graph

Test 40 Coefficients 3-28-56

Test 40 Runs 5-8 Configurations

Test 73

Test 195 Run 6

Cambered Fuselage Test 201

ASYM Body Swept Wing Design Data

ASYM Body-Swept Wing handwritten correspondence

[top] Correspondence

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Personal Correspondence

Miscellaneous Correspondence

02-22-1978 Whitcomb to Folk: design advice

06-26-1970: Letter to General Dynamics to find misplaced copies of Langley Working Paper 505 which was considered confidential

05-22-1962 Thompson memo with bio information on Whitcomb and O'Sullivan for journal

Possible methods for improving the lift-drag of the B-70

02-07-1961 IAS Meeting Proceedings

02-06-1961 IAS Meeting summary

07-29-1960 Travel orders for IAS Meeting and North American Aviation B-70 discussion


707 Sidewall EnvelopeSeated Anthropometric Man

[top] European Trip

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Aquivalenzsatz

Area Distribution

Avion Breguet 1001

card

Figures

Flow Around Bodies of Rev.

Flugwiss3 Heft2

Flugwiss4 Heft5

Flugwiss5 Heft8

forschungsberichte partial

kth aero tn 42

3 Mar 1958 Proposal Subject: Research on Diffuser of Supersonic Wind Tunnels for High Mach Numbers.

Table II Ordinates

Training Center

[top] Funding

Folder #4

FY 79 Zero Base Research Assessment

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Research Proposal

Funding for F8 SCW Research FY1975

Request for Ice Cream Machine

Miscellaneous Research Correspondence

NYU Research Grant Funding

SCW Research Airplane Funding

SCW Airplane Development Schedule

[top] F-105 Near Sonic Boom Incident

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

F-105 Near Sonic Boom Incident

FX Model Correspondence

[top] General Aerodynamics

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

AIAA paper

DC-10 Series10

Finite Wing

Fuel-Saving Measures

Inviscid Solution

No324

Turbulent Skin Friction

Wingtip-Mounted Propeller

[top] Grain Size Determination

Folder #5

Grain Size Determination

[top] Grumman and NAA Exec Trans

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Gulfstream II
Gulfstream II

GAC CAD

banquet-ticket

GII-62500 Data

Gulfstream 2-Data

max-range-comp data

Whitcomb-Gulfstream_2_study documentation

[top] Invitations-Replies

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Lecture at Univ. of Illinois 10-31-83

12th Congress of Intl. Council of Aero Sci. 5-30-80

12th Congress of Intl. Council of Aero Sci. 5-23-80

AGARD Symposium 3-14-80

[top] Models, Airplanes

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Coca-Cola AdE-22928IV-2.1L-72-9011.jpgL-72-9012.jpgL-72-9013.jpgL-76-6035.jpgL-78-6675.jpgL-79-2118.jpgL-79-2119.jpgAirliner model fitted with SCWs

[top] NACA 65A003 Delta Wing

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Delta Wing Data

Graph1Graph2Graph3Graph4M1.6 Delta Wing Data

[top] NASA Objectives and Justifications

Originals not found in Archives Room (digital only)

1977 Accomplishments

01-31-1977 Justification for Medium Speed Batch Terminal

09-09-1971 Memo on Advanced Transport Technology study

08-24-1971 Response to Question on ATT study in aerodynamics

05-25-1971 Trip to Boeing, Seattle, Washington

NASA Objectives Correspondence

Maximum Reynolds Number

Overview

Research Objectives

[top] Non-Slender Body

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Data Table

Effect_BR

graph_2_A

graph_R_vs_BR

graph2

Procedure

This check justifies

x BR

x BR 2

x y data

[top] Numerical Design of Transonic Airfoils

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Analysis of Transonic Airfoils

Correspondence

hereby-awards-research-grant

NGR supplement number2

Notice-for-handling-proposals

tech monitors

[top] NYU Contract

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Correspondence from NYU re Progress of Research Grant

Correspondence re Grant Extension

Correspondence re Proposed Publication of Technical Report

Extension Grant of Performance Period

Garabedian and Korn Technical Paper

Garabedian Talk Materials

Job Order and Proposal Package

Job Order for Research Grant

LaRC Memorandum to Whitcomb re NASA Grant with NYU

Letter from NYU to Jerry South

Misc Grant Correspondence

Misc Grant Related Correspondence

NASA Guidelines for Technical Research

NASA Notice for Handling Proposals

Renewal of Research Grant and Progress Report

Research Grant Award

Revised Budget Submittal

Revised Research Proposal

Supercritical Wing Analysis Graph

[top] Oil Flow Photos

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Oil Flow SCWOil Flow SCW2Oil Flow SCW3Oil Flow SCW4More Photos

[top] Papers and Lectures, Whitcomb

Folder #6

Measurement of Internal Drag

Unpublished Book/Author Unknown

Whitcomb Talks

[top] Papers and Technical Reports, Whitcomb

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

A Fuselage Addition to Delay Drag-rise Mach Number of Subsonic Airplanes at Lifting Conditions. Richard T. Whitcomb. NACA TR #20090026510. 1957.

Recent Results Pertaining to the Application of the "Area Rule" Richard T. Whitcomb. NACA TR #20050019402. 1953.

Airfoil Shape for Flight at Subsonic Speeds US Patent #3,952,971. 1976.

List of Addressees, Part I and Part II

Working Papers LWP-481 and LWP-505

Working Papers LWP-505 and LWP-603

Working Paper No. 505, 518, and 603

Working Paper No. 505

06-26-1970: Letter to General Dynamics to find misplaced copies of Langley Working Paper 505 which was considered confidential

[top] Papers, Whitcomb Sources

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Review of NASA Supercritical Airfoils

8' High Speed Tunnel material from West Area library

Application for Federal Employment

Letter of acknowledgement in the Reserved List

Report List

Research on Effects on Interference on Performance

Research on Supersonic Transports at Transonic Speeds

The Area Rule First Specific Lecture-Introduction

Third Specific Lecture-Body of Revolution Theory

WPI Transcript

NASA Patent Case 2-22-79

Request for Approval for Outside Employment 8-9-78

Winglets Article 6-13-78

National Academy of Engineering Bio Info 4-4-78

Experimental Aerodynamic Modeling 6-22-77

American Institute of Physics Correspondence 11-9-72

Bibliography Oct. 1970

Visit Request for 8-Ft Tunnels Branch 6-18-70

Patent Issue Correspondence 5-7-67

Wrench Request 4-10-67

NASA Form 1270 June 1966

Performance Ratings 1960-1964

Whitcomb Awards Listing 5-21-62

Invite to Ceremony for America's 10 Outstanding Young Men of 1961

Standard Form 9-A Feb.1960

Proposed 1954 Collier Trophy Exhibit

Letter from Kitty Semento 6-10-48

Job Posting 4-1-47

Congressional Record John F Victory Address 3-24-45

Militarization Plan 11-28-44

Army Services Forces Correspondence 5-4-44

Joint Army-Navy NACA Personnel Plan Memo 3-16-44

War Manpower Commission Diploma 3-7-44

Letter from War Manpower Commission(2) 3-7-44

Efficiency Rating 2-28-44

Letter from War Manpower Commission 2-23-44

[top] Papers, Others

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Aero Symbology

ATAA Estimating Comparative Direct Standard Paper

Boundary Layer in Incompressible Flow Report by Douglas Aircraft Company

Graph-Partial

High Lift-Drag Research Paper by Brown and McLean

One-Time Investment Progress-Chart

Summary-of-Atm-Models

Turbulent-Boundary-Layer Article by JAS

Warped Wing Design Information Request 07-31-1958

[top] Papers, Personal

Folder #7

Whitcomb's Retirement Party Invite 07-26-1980 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Form 278 Filing Letter 04-17-1980 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

AM Power Corp Letter 04-15-1980 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Boeing Letter 03-02-1980 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Franklin Institute Letter 07-05-1979 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Whitcomb Winglets 12-15-1978 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Parsons Letter 06-27-1978 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

20 years of service Recog Letter 04-01-1963 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Civil Service Journal Pub Letter 05-22-1962 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

General Dynamics Letter 03-02-1962 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

X-15 Progress 12-07-1961 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Annual Leave 11-16-1961 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Wright Memorial Dinner 10-24-1960 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

WPI Transcript Letter 01-28-1960 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Citing References in Technical Pubs 10-08-1948 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

NACA Ames Conference 10-22-1947 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Whitcomb Personal Statement 10-16-1945 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Job Regulations 04-01-1944 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

anniversary banquet (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Apfel Letter (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Bibliography (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Daily Log (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Envelope (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Invitation (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Jefferson Letter (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Leave Cards (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Loan of NASA Equipment (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Memorandum-Voucher (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Military Service (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Official Travelers (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Pay Adjustment (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Prep-of-form57 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Program (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Reassignment 4-2-61 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Reassignment Aero Eng (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Recommendation (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Retirement System (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

SCW Correspondence (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Sonic and Supersonic Transport Notes (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Sredl Letter (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Tax Schedule (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Transonic Aerodynamic Branch (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Travel Voucher (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Travel Voucher Supplemental (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Two- and Three-Dimensional Wing Tests in LaRC 8-Ft HST (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Bomb Trajectory (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Brake (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Center Line (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

HP Calculation (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

No693 Theoretical Study (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Research Outline (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Principal Figures for Research (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Automatic Stabilization TM 802 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Comments on TR No681 Unsteady Lift of Wing of Finite Aspect Ratio - RT Jones, 1940 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Photo originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Downwash and Lift PlotCylinder Drag ProfileLift Shroud ReplotWhitcomb TAB HeadBell HelicopterFairchild Packet Partial


1967-1949 Pay Statements (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Body of Revolution Theory (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Congressional Report (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Expanded RTW Biography (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Experimental Aerodynamic Modeling (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Job Announcement (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Listing of Technical Documents (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Listing of Whitcomb's Reports (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

NASA Patent Case (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

National Academy of Engineering Membership (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Outside Financial Interests (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Proposed 1954 Collier Trophy Exhibit (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Req for 8-Ft Tunnel Visit (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Request for Outside Employment Approval (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Research on Effects of Interference on Performance (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Review of Supercritical Airfoil Technology (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

RTW Area Rule Lecture (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

RTW Federal Govt Registry (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Supercritical Airfoil Info (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Supersonic_Transonic Transports (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Whitcomb Bibliography (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Whitcomb Bio Info (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Whitcomb's Efficiency Rating World War II (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Whitcomb's Performance Rating Paperwork (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Winglet Paper (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

Wrench Request (original found in Archives Room, Box #10, Folder #7)

[top] Patent Information

Folder #8 - all originals in Archives Room

Fictitious 727 w SCWs


8-Ft Wind Tunnel Test Info 1955

Aero Efficiency Data

Aero Page 1.jpgAero Page 2.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 01.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 02.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 03.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 04.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 05.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 06.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 07.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 08.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 09.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 10.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 11.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 12.jpgAero Efficiency Data Page 13.jpgAero Efficiency Plot Graph2 Page 1.jpgAero Efficiency Plot Graph2 Page 2.jpg

Aero Efficiency Plot Graphs

Aero Efficiency Plot Graphs2

Aero Plot


Airfoil Section

Compressible Skin Friction Data 1962

Conv of Memoranda to Report 1959

Cruise Speed and Aero Efficiency Data

Memo concerning Letter from Avro 1961

Misc.

Paper by Northrop's Nitikman

Scout Research 1964

SCW Applications Viewgraph

SCW Aero Efficiency Viewgraph

SCW Aero Efficiency Data

SCW Patent Proposal

SCW Technical Report

STDR Reports Listing

Supercritical and Laminar Airfoils

Vortex Generator on an Airfoil

Whitcomb Bio Writeup

Whitcomb's Data Plot3Whitcomb's Data Plot4Whitcomb's Transport Data PlotWhitcomb's Transport Data Plot2Whitcomb's Transport DataWinglet Data

[top] Personnel and Organizational Structure Changes

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

AIAA Correspondence 7-15-80

Nomination of Ed Polhamus for AIAA Award 1-14-80

NASM Correspondence 11-21-79

Discrimination Complaint 4-19-79

Hal Walker Retirement 1-12-79

Nominations for Awards 1-9-79

Discrimination Complaint 4-19-79

Winglets-Tip Sails Correspondence 11-13-78

Position Description for Vought Research Associate 2-17-78

Keys for Building 641 2-14-78

Foreign Travel to Israel 11-25-74

Bavitz Recognition of Work Performance 8-13-74

Special Achievement Award Recommendation 2-12-74

Commendation for Mrs. Boby Collier 12-14-73

NYU Correspondence 6-20-73

Keys for Building 720B 5-10-73

Request for Keys to Building 641 4-6-73

Issuance of Keys for Building 720B 3-16-73

Special Achievement Award Recommendation 11-9-72

Quality Increase Recommendation 10-31-72

Quality Increase Recommendation 10-26-72

02-02-1972 Request for Branch Secretary

Special Achievement Award Recommendation 10-12-71

02-10-1967 Response to Richard Armstrong regarding employment

Foreign Nationals Visit to LaRC 2-10-71

Interim Confidential Clearance 12-23-70

Contract for Supercritial Wing 08-17-70

PD for Aircraft Engine Installation Engineer 05-22-70

02-12-1970 Lambert to Whitcomb regarding clearance for Pouring and Ball

Decker Promotion Request 10-30-69. (see John P. Decker)

Willey Promotion Request 10-30-69

Willey Promotion Add Info 10-29-69

Ferris Promotion Request 10-13-69

Ferris Promotion Add Info 10-13-69

Millard Promotion Request 10-2-69

Goodall Promotion Request 10-2-69

Kelly Promotion Request 10-2-69

Keller Promotion Request 10-2-69

Employment Request Rejection 9-25-69

Martin Promotion Request 8-29-69

Decker Promotion Request 8-29-69

Bartlett Promotion Request 8-29-69

Ferris Promotion Request 8-29-69

Agency Participation in Private Organizations 3-6-69

Memo regarding National Bureau of Standards policy 02-28-1969

Promotion Request for Stuart Flechner 02-27-1969

02-06-1969 Security clearance for John Whitesides, George Washington University

Langhans Promotion Request 12-30-68

Harris Promotion Request 12-30-68

Ayers Promotion Request 12-27-68

Visit by Gianchino DaFrono, Italy 07-17-68

Time and Attendance clerks assigned 07-16-68

Visit by Royal Aircraft Establishment 07-12-68

request to lecture by Professor Marin Sichel 07-08-68

8-Ft Tunnels Branch Status 12-29-67

Memo to Whitcomb regarding Royal Aircraft Establishment visit 02-23-67

Memo regarding visit by SUD Aviation, France 02-10-67

Memo to Director regarding visit by Royal Aircraft Establishment 02-09-67 (See photo)

SUD Aviation Visit 2-10-67

Visit of Chilean Citizen 8-15-66

Master Keys for Building 640 6-17-66

General Aero Branch Property 2-23-66

UVA Seminar Lecture 12-4-64

Canadair Visit to LaRC 8-FT WT Branch 10-14-64

Research Grant NGR 17-003-003 10-6-64

Martin Co. Visit to 8-Ft WT Branch 5-28-64

Appointment of Melvin Anderson to Branch Head 08-01-63

John D. Norris Deferment 4-12-63

Joseph Gera Deferment 4-12-63(2)

Blackwell Jr Duties 10-2-62

LaRC Org Changes 9-25-61

Mugler's Raise Request 1-20-61

Convair Rep. Visit to 8-Ft WT Branch 1-19-59

Instructions for Completing Standard Form 57

8tb organization suggestion

TsAB Professional Manpower

AIAA Award Nomination

NGR-33-016-167

[top] Plane/Wing Sketches

Folder #9, Box #10a - originals found in Archives Room

Plane Sketches

Proposed Aircraft Design Configuration

[top] Proposals-Replies

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

NASA TND-8260 Submission to JMMDA 09-28-1979

Climate-Shield Airplane Silicone Coating 07-11-1979

GE 747 Design Enhancements 04-20-1979

Kutney Request Letter 04-18-1979

Lear Avia Cooperative Endeavor Agreement 04-17-1973

AGARD Vortex Wake Symposium 06-20-1972

SAM-D Engineering Development Program Corresp 11-22-1971

Notre Dame SCW WT Testing 05-25-1971

Lockheed BLC Prop 05-04-1971

Boundary-Layer Comp Justification 03-05-1971

Boundary Layer Computations Contract Memo 02-10-1971

CLA Positioning Concept Rejection 02-10-1971

Whole Air Concept Rejection 01-06-1971

Comments on T-2C SCW Flight Program 12-23-1970

Bell Two-Dimensional Airfoil TWT Research 12-07-1970 PER

SCW Research Correspondence 12-07-1970

Boeing Rep Visit 08-24-1970

Northrop Transonic Airfoil Design Report Correspondence 05-05-1970

TPT Wind Tunnel Tests 10-02-1969

Lockheed Request for WT Testing 07-16-1969

Theoretical Analysis of Shockless Flows Contract 07-16-1969

Shockless Transonic Flow Research Funding 01-31-1969

LTPT Proposed Tests 01-08-1969

DCPG Program Correspondence 01-02-1969

Airfoil Model TWT Tests 07-30-1969

AC Aero Conf Corresp 02-26-1969

Airfoil Research Correspondence 02-17-1969

DaForno Visit Correspondence 01-02-1969

General Dynamics Transonic Flow Research Proposal 12-20-1968

AGARD Meeting Proposal 03-28-1968

NASA CLD Wing Research Contract 12-11-1967

NASA CLD Wing Research Contract 09-11-1967

DAC Proposal 05-24-1967

DAC Proposed No3388 Justification 04-26-1967

8-Ft TPT Airfoil Tests 03-22-1967

NRC-NAS Postdoctoral Resident RAs 03-16-1967

C-5A12-29-1966

C-5A 12-19-1966

C-5A 12-09-1966

C-5A 01-07-1966

DC-8 Proposed WT Tests 11-30-1965

C-5A 11-01-1965

C-5A 10-22-1965

C-5A Research 10-15-1965

C-5A 09-29-1965

Proposed Lockheed Airfoil Research 06-29-1965

US Army Research Proposal Review 06-21-1965

C-5A 06-21-1965

C-5A 04-05-1965

WSU Delta Wing Research 04-01-1965

C-5A 02-25-1965

C-5A 02-08-1965

Lockheed Design Performance Review 11-25-1964

C-5A 10-14-1964

UVA Delta Wing Research 06-23-1964

C-5A 06-01-1964

C-5A 05-25-1964

Dahon UVA WT Tests Request 03-17-1964

C-5A 03-12-1964

Aero Research Comments 09-07-1962

Coop Endeavor Agreement

Routing Slip and Agreement

[top] Photos

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Canadair Challenger First Flight 32045Envelope-FrontEnvelope-BackCanadair ChallengerRonald Neal cardSigned plane photo

Letter-English

Letter-French


Continental Airlines MD-11Whitcomb Sonic Transport ModelUSAF KC-135 with wingletsArea Rule prototype French Bregeut BR. 1001 01 Jet FighterArea Rule prototype French Bregeut BR. 1001 01RTW front row middleE-22927.jpgE-22940.jpgE-22944.jpgECN12671.jpgECN12675.jpgECN12676.jpgECN12677.jpgECN12678.jpgECNJ12674.jpgEnergy Efficient Transport-Investigation of WingletsEnergy Efficient Transport-Propulsion IntegrationDouglas DC-X-200 with SCW WTTCessna Citation III with SCW WTTYC-15 with SCWsF-8 SCW Testbed Ship #810 aftF-8 SCW Testbed Ship #810 frontF-8 SCW Testbed Ship #810 rearF-8 SCW Testbed Ship #810 sideF-8 SCW Testbed Ship #810 front three quarterF-8 SCW Testbed Ship #810 in flightF-8 SCW #810 in flight with F-8 flying chaseTACT F-111 in flightUSAF/NASA Winglet KC-135 testbed in flightSupercritical AerodynamicsSupercritical WingNASA/USAF Winglets Program Logo

[top] Press

NACA Formula Eases Supersonic Flight. Aviation Week, Vol 63, No 11. 12 September 1955.

A New Break in the Sound Barrier. Aviation.

The Collier Trophy Winner. Colliers. 9 December 1955.

General Dynamics Loses Jet Pod Patent Suit. NY Time. 2 February 1970.

Langley Inventor to be honored at White House. 5 October 1973.

Medal Winner. Daily Press. 11 October 1973.

Aircraft Has Smaller Wing. 1973.

Supercritical Wing Tests Slated to Start This Week. Daily Press. 26 October 1973.

Radical Wing may undercut SST jetliner. The Christian Science Monitor. 18 November 1973.

Planes go better with Coke. Article in local paper on Richard Whitcomb. 1980.

2007 NASA Aviation Pioneer Dick Whitcomb Honored

2009 Aviation Pioneer Richard T. Whitcomb

2009 Noted NASA Engineer Dies in Newport News. Chicago Tribune. 19 October 2009.

2012 Aerodynamicist Wins National Recognition

Why Don't Today's Fighters Have Narrow Waists? Smithsonian Air and Space. 25 March 2013.

Aviation Week 11-10-1975

Aviation Week 09-06-1971

McGraw Hill Correspondence 04-04-1969

SCW Press Release 01-17-1969

McDonnell Douglas Contractor Report 08-12-1968

Printing of LaRC Working Paper No603 06-11-1968

Technical Report Review 05-17-1968

Whitcomb's McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia Input 02-19-1968

Proctor Information Request Response by Floyd Thompson 12-10-1965

Information Request 11-24-1965

Proposed NASA Paper by Roy Harris 11-26-1963

Proposed NASA TM on Proposed SST Configs 05-27-1963

Advanced Subsonic Transports

Aerospace SCW Article

Boundary Layer Stability Paper/Article

Challenger Press Release

"Firm to Test New Wing" Times Herald Article

RT Whitcomb Published Reports Listing

"Scientist to Receive Award" Times Herald Article

Some Recent Advances in High-Speed Aerodynamics Paper

T-2C Buckeye SCW Article/Paper

Whitcomb's Technical Conference Papers Listing

Winglets Article

Wings of Change Article

X-Press SCW Article


[top] Requests for Info

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Tinker AFB SCW Info Letter 04-18-1969

SCW Info Transmittal 04-18-1969

SCW Letter 04-15-1969

Westland Letter 04-10-1969

Chaffee Letter 04-10-1969

Working Papers 505 and 603 Transmittal 04-09-1969

Working Paper 505 Transmittal 03-14-1969

Cave Letter to Whitcomb 03-06-1969

NAS1-7484 Contract 7-16-1968

SCW Info Request 01-09-1968

AIAA paper approval request 01-09-1968

WP No 505 Transmittal 11-14-1967

Supercritical Airfoil 10-20-1967

Johnston Letter Reply 08-24-1967

Chang Letter Followup 05-11-1967

Professor Chang Letter 05-04-1967

Canadian Visit 05-04-1967 Mr.Ohman

Whitcomb and Blackwell Paper Transmittal 06-09-1966

Wallace Letter 11-18-1965

Wind Tunnel Conference 02-25-1965

Paper Information Request 07-30-1963

Area Rule Info Request Letter 04-30-1962

World Book Encyclopedia Letter 04-19-1962

Stafford Talks 02-19-1959

[top] SCAT Data

Folder #10, Box #10a

SCAT Data1

SCAT Data2

SCAT Data3

Scat Data

SCAT SST Model from 1960 and 1962 (all photo originals not found in Archives Room, only scans available)

Making Model MoldConfiguration Modelside viewside viewSCAT SST Configuration Model2 L-62-3695.jpgSST Model Mold L-62-9747.jpgSST Model Mold2 L-62-9748.jpgSST Model Mold3 L-62-9749.jpgSST Model Mold4 L-62-9750.jpgSST Model Mold5 L-62-9751.jpgSST Model Mold6 L-62-9752.jpgSST Model Mold7 L-62-9753.jpg

[top] Speeches, Lectures, and Interviews

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Zero Lift Drag Characteristics of Wing-Body Combinations at Transonic Speeds Practical applications of the Area Rule. IAS meeting, Los Angeles 1956

Commercial Opportunities Revealed by Aeronautical Research 1956

Wings 1978

2004 Lecture at NASA Langley Research Center

Considerations of Flow Phenomena at Transonic Speeds

Interview from March 27, 1973

HSR, January 21, 2000

Lectures and Trips

Meetings-Lectures

Japanese Visit Request to LaRC 7-5-79

James Letter Iowa State Univ 4-15-75

NASA Three-Dimensional Boundary-Layer Computations Contract 3-13-73

8-Ft Tunnels Branch Reorg 6-22-72

Darling Letter 1-18-71

Ames Lecture Feedback 11-23-70

Installation of Wing Panel Strain Gages 2-6-68

Future Aeronautics Prediction 9-11-67

Timperman Letter 7-7-67

Aeronautics Research Program Effectiveness 5-12-67

Technical Monitor for NASA Research Grant 10-19-64

8-Ft Tunnels Research Efforts 7-9-64

Holtley Letter 5-29-59

Area Rule Lecture 1-16-58

Summary of 2 lectures

[top] Subsonic

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

AIAA Presentation Improving Transport Efficiencies 09-26-1974

Reducing Skin Friction 11-18-1971

Langley High Performance Configuration 05-13-1971

Cornell Aeronautical Lab Facilities 10-29-1970

Future High Subsonic Speed Transports 04-17-1970

Drag

Past&Current

[top] Supercritical Research/TACT

Folder #11, Box #10a

Whitcomb kept folders on Supercritical Research and Supercritical Wing/Airfoil. See Whitcomb's Supercritical Research page for the complete listing from these folders.

Whitcomb's Scrapbook on the supercritical research is in the Langley Archives Room

F-8 SCW Testbed model in the 8-Foot Transonic Wind Tunnel and Spin Tunnel

NASA 70 7341L.jpgNASA 70 7342L.jpgNASA 70 7343L.jpgNASA 70 7344L.jpgNASA 70 7345L.jpg8' Transonic Wind TunnelSpin Tunnel

TACT Status Report No1 08-10-1971 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT Corresp 06-17-1971 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT Memo June 1971 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT F-111 Corresp 04-15-1971 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT F-111 Corresp 04-08-1971 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT F-111 Wind Tunnel Test 04-01-1971 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT F-111 Trim Data 03-10-1971 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT F-111 Trim and Balance 12-11-1970 (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT Critical Milestones (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

graphs (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TACT R&D Management Report (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

[top] Supersonic Additions/Design Patents

Folder #12, Box #10a

Airfoil Patent

Patent Info

Patent Request

Rights Determination

[top] Supersonic Aircraft Component Drawings

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Engine Nacelle Sketches

Aircraft Fuselage Sketch

Aircraft Aft Fuselage Sketch

[top] Supersonic Flight

Folder #13, Box #10a

chart

Development of Supercritical Airfoils

diagrams

graph (ii)

graph

more diagrams and figures

notes (i)

notes (ii)

notes (iii)

Problems in Hypersonic Flight

[top] Test 15/Not Computed

Original not found in Archives Room (only scan available)

Test 15 Data

[top] Tests 414-433, 2D SC Airfoils

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

Conference 2 Data

Conference 11 Data

Test 421 - Conference 12

Conference 16 Data

Original Shape - Conference 26 - original found in Sketch of Original Supercritical Wing Folder in Archives Room, Box #10

[top] Transports

Folder #14, Box #10a (Only the Sonic Transport Drawing can be found in the Archives Room)

Calculations and Area Distribution Graphs (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Horizontal Tail Area Distribution Graph (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

Sonic Transport Data (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

TM on Twist Distribution for Near-Sonic Wings (original not found in Archives Room, only scan available)

01-13-1971

04-13-1971_Boeing

747 Gen. Arrangement

Adv. Tech. Transport Discussions

Adv. Transport Tech. Program

Al. Honeycomb Body

Al. Honeycomb Wing

Boeing 727 Drawing

Design Drawing Partial

Design Pass

Eastern DC-9-30

Engine Range Factor

Estimated Cost

Flow Chart

GII vs GII-s

Occupancy Hours

Transonic Airplane Development


Only the Sonic Transport Drawing can be found in the Archives Room (all other sketches are available only in scanned form)

Sonic Transport DrawingGraph1Graph2Graph3

[top] Whitcomb, Richard T

Originals not found in Archives Room (only scans available)

01-30-87 Info Request003

Biography006

Contributions and Responsibilities005

DRA Biography002

DRA Renewal001

Executive Inventory Record007

Info Concerning Whitcomb004

[top] Whitcomb's Scrapbook

Originals found in Box #10a

Newspaper Articles and F-8 SCW Flight Narratives2

[top] Winglet

Folder #15 - original documents in Archives Room, Box #10a

WingletWingletKC-135 ModelKC-135 Model WingletWingletWingletBeech A36 GA Aircraft with Winglets

Winglet

KC-135 Model Winglet

Winglets Writeup

Winglet Background Information

Means for Reducing Drag Due to Lift

ATT Study

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