Vera Huckel

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Miss Vera Huckel, Aero-Space Engineer was head of the Computing Section (see Human Computers) in the Dynamics Loads Division. She joined the staff in June 1939 as a mathematician technician and was assigned to work on mathematical and computational problems in flutter, gas dynamics, and a variety of fields.

She played a leading role in reorganizing computer techniques and adapting a system used as a versatile daily research computing tool by both mathematicians and engineers throughout the center prior to the use of electronic computers. The scope of the calculations handled by her group extended from aeronautical to interplanetary flight projects and included some of the following.

  • X-15, Bomarc, Scout, Little Joe, and Saturn fin flutter calculations.
  • Electra flutter and propeller whirl.
  • Vibration, stability, and control of Mercury-Atlas and Saturn configurations.
  • Aeroelastic studies relating to gust response and stability of B-47, B-70, and X-20 Dyna-Soar.
  • Wind shear studies, fuel slosh, panel flutter, and sonic boom.
  • Trajectory analysis, Explorer IX, rendezvous and lunar landing.
Miss Huckel is shown here beside a 1/40-scale model of the Saturn-Apollo lunar mission vehicle. Her varied work contributed significantly to the development of spacecraft such as the full-scale Saturn -Apollo which had not yet carried astronauts to the moon.

Miss Huckel carried on individual analytical research, and authored or co-authored several technical reports. In addition to her publications,she served a vital role in working with authors in the preparation of many technical papers. Examples include those on propeller whirl, rendezvous, sonic boom research, and lunar landing. In addition to her analytical accomplishments, she was an excellent critic with regard to figure preparation for clarity and technical content.

Besides her technical duties, Miss Huckel was active in community aspects of Langley Research Center. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Langley Research Center Untied Fund, and was active in the annual fund drives. She also served several years as the Treasurer of the Virginia State Division of the American Association of University Women.

Miss Huckel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 18, 1908. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1929.

When Computers Were Humans

Daily Press Interview, 2 November 1992

Fact Sheet

This information was from the notes of James Hansen in preparation for his video, When Computers Were Humans.

Born: 18 April 1908


  • 1929 B.S. Mathematics
  • 1927-1929 University of Pennsylvania
  • 1925-1927 Philadelphia Normal School


  • Philadelphia Public Jr. & Sr. High School, substitute teacher, 1929-1931, 1932-1933
  • Curtiss Publishing Co., statistical researcher, 1931-1932
  • Pacific Wassermann Lab, Los Angeles, CA., study lab and x-ray technician, 1933-1934
  • A.L. Hepting Dance School, Brooklyn, NY., business manager and secretary, 1934-1935
  • Western Emulsion Co., Inc., Los Angeles, CA., Secretary and treasurer, 1935-1939

Date - Title - Grade - Annual Salary

  • 6-1-39 - Jr. Computer - SP-3 - 1400
  • 8-1-40 - Jr. Civil Engineering Aide - SP-3 - 1440
  • 9-16-41 - Asst. Computer - SP-4 - 1620
  • 9-1-42 - Computer - SP-5 - 1800
  • 9-1-43 - Principal Computer - SP-7 - 2300
  • 6-16-45 - Computer Supervisor - CAF-8 - 2900
  • 6-11-50 - Mathematician - GS-9 - 4715
  • 3-18-51 - Mathematician IV - GS-11 - 5400
  • 9-11-55 - Mathematician V - GS-12 - 7570
  • 6-25-61 - Asst. Aerostructural Dynamics - GS-13 - 10635
  • 4-15-62 - Aerospace Engineer - GS-13 - 10635
  • 12-29-68 - Mathematician, Aero Data Analysis - GS-14 - 18076
  • 10-4-70 - Head, Computer Section - GS-14 - 21608
  • 3-3-72 - Voluntary Retirement - GS-14 - 24888
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