National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics

1500 New Hampshire Avenue NW. (Dupont Circle)
EXecutive 3515, Branch 3985

Chairman   Dr. Jerome C. Hunsaker
Vice Chairman Dr. Lyman J. Briggs
  Dr. Alexander Wetmore
    (Smithsonian Institution)
General of the Army H.H. Arnold
    (United States Army)
William A.M. Burden
    (Department of Commerce)
Dr. Vannevar Bush
Dr. William F. Durand
Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Echols
    (United States Army)
William Littlewood
Vice Admiral Aubrey W. Fitch
    (United States Navy)
Rear Admiral Lawrence B. Richardson
    (United States Navy)
Dr. Francis W. Reichelderfer
    (Weather Bureau)
Dr. Edward Warner
    (Civil Aeronautics Board)
Dr. Orville Wright
Dr. Theodore P. Wright
Director of Aeronautical Research Dr. George W. Lewis
Secretary John F. Victory
Assistant Secretary Edward H. Chamberlin
Engineer in Charge, Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (Langley Field, Va.) Henry J.E. Reid
Engineer in Charge, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory (Moffett Field, Calif.) Smith J. DeFrance
Manager, Aircraft Engine Research laboratory (Cleveland Airport, Cleveland, Ohio) Edward R. Sharp
Executive Engineer, Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory (Cleveland Airport, Cleveland, Ohio) Carlton Kemper

Creation and Authority.--The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was created by act of Congress approved March 3, 1915 (38 Stat. 930; 49 U.s.C. 241), as amended by the act approved March 2, 1929 (45 Stat. 1451; 49 U.S.C. 241), as amended by the act approved June 23, 1938 (52 Stat. 1027; 49 U.S.C. 241).

Purpose.--The law provides that the Committee shall "supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view to their practical solution, . . ." and also "direct and conduct research and experiment in aeronautics."

The general purposes of the Committee are to--

  1. Coordinate the research needs of aviation, civil and military.

  2. Prevent duplication in the field of aeronautical research.

  3. Conduct, under unified control of the Committee, scientific aeronautical research, including:

    1. Special investigations in the nature of applied research on problems submitted by the Army and Navy for immediate improvement in performance of military and naval aircraft.

    2. Fundamental researches instituted by the Committee on its own initiative or authorized upon request of the Army, Navy, or Civil Aeronautics Authority to increase speed, safety, and economy of operation of aircraft, military and civil


  1. Advise the War and Navy Departments, the Civil Aeronautics Authority, and the aviation industry as to the latest research information.

  2. Consider merits of aeronautical inventions submitted by the public to any agency of the Government.

  3. On request of the PResident, the Congress, or any executive department, to advise upon any special problem in aeronautics which may be referred to it.

Organization.--The Committee is composed of 15 members appointed by the President, and consists of 2 representatives each of the War and Navy Departments (from the offices in charge of military and naval aeronautics) and Civil Aeronautics Authority, 1 representative each of the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Weather Bureau, and the National Bureau of Standards, together with 6 additional persons who are "acquainted with the needs of aeronautical science, either civil or military, or skilled in aeronautical engineering or its allied sciences." All the members serve as such without compensation.

Laboratories.--The Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory at Langley Field, Va., the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory at Moffett Field, Calif., and the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory at Cleveland, Ohio, are the principal aeronautical research laboratories of the Government, where the Committee carries on fundamental scientific research and development on which the War and Navy Departments, the Civil Aeronautics Authority, and the aircraft industry rely for new knowledge underlying progress in improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of American aircraft.

Office of Aeronautical Intelligence.--This Office was established in the early part of 1918. It serves as the depository and distributing agency for the scientific and technical data on aeronautics comprising the results of COmmittee researches and for similar information collected by the Committee from governmental and private agencies in this country and abroad.

Office of Aeronautical Inventions.--This Office gives preliminary consideration to, and analyzes and prepares reports on, the merits of aeronautical inventions and designs submitted to the Government through any agency.


Jerome C. Hunsaker


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Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation