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Summary of Address by Colonel Edgar S. Gorrell, President, Air Transport Association of America, Before the Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
May 4, 1939.


The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was created for the purpose of engaging in fundamental research in the problems of flight.

In general, it may be said that all their research projects are directed toward improving the safety and efficiency of aircraft, both of which in air transport involve increased operational speeds and a reduction in operating costs. during the coming year, the Committee will build at Langley field America's first structures research laboratory, the work of which will be entirely devoted to improving aircraft structures from the viewpoint of safety. In the wind tunnels at Langley Field, aircraft safety factors have been and are being studied in flight in the determination of satisfactory stalling characteristics, satisfactory control in the spin and satisfactory lateral and longitudinal stability. day before yesterday, May 2, the Committee was scheduled to dedicate its first free-flight tunnel, the operation of which will be devoted entirely to improving the stability and control characteristics of airplanes.

In improving the efficiency of airplanes, the Committee is primarily concerned with reduction in drag. This involves aerodynamic problems, improved wing sections, improved fuselage forms, including windshields and tail surfaces, improved cowlings for radial air-cooled engines, and improved methods of locating radiators in liquid-cooled engines. All of these problems are under investigation at this time. 

In the engine field the Committee is making an intensive study of the reduction of drag of radial air-cooled engines and the reduction of the amount of power required to cool the engine. Recent advances look exceedingly promising, and indicate the possibility of further reducing the drag of the already highly-efficient N.A.C.A. cowling, and improving the cooling characteristics by reducing the amount of air required to cool the engine. 

Although present emphasis in the news seems to be placed on the remarkable aircraft performances achieved through the application of scientific research in the development of military aircraft, it is important not to lose sight of either the corollary or the separate advances in commercial transportation made possible through fundamental research in the problems of flight. 

One of the main problems faced by the air transport operator is the procurement of suitable aircraft meeting the highest standards as to safety, reliability, efficiency, and performance. Although different in their detail application, these criteria apply equally to military and commercial aircraft for the broad problems involved in airplane design are the same in either case. These problems relate in the main to aerodynamic efficiency, structural integrity, and stability and control. These broad problems have been the object
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