File #1343: "The Problems of Air Power (1956).pdf"

The Problems of Air Power (1956).pdf

PDF Text



Copyright 1956 by Civil Air Patrol, Incorporated


Irving Ripps
William E. Rowland
Art Director

Harold E. Mehrens

Outside of comprehending Air Power's role as a
weapon of war and a means of transportation, few of
us wholly understand its social implications and its
problems. We take for granted the nation's flow of
economic, political and industrial progress. But do we
realize to what extent this flow of progress is fed by
American Air Power? And to what extent Air Power
itself has within it the potential to solve the problems
its progress generates? We, the people, must learn
about these things for only we can direct Air Power
into the fruitful channels for which it is destined.
Air Power's story is unfinished. Yet its achievements,
as courageous and thrilling as any we will find in our
nation's history, have already re-shaped the face of the
world. It is now on the threshold of uncovering
tomorrow's new vistas. Its new inventions will alter the
course of human destiny, for better or worse. To the
youth of America, aviation offers a richness of
opportunity offered to no other generation. On no other
generation has society depended so much to help
solve world problems intensified by aviation. But first
there must be understanding of these problems. And
through understanding, Air Power will fulfill its destiny
of serving mankind's ultimate betterment.




Military Aviation


Aircraft Manufacturing

Airline Transportation

Airports and the Community

Research and Development

Major General, USAF
National Commander
Civil Air Patrol


Education and Airpower

Air Power and its Problems is the sixth and last of a
series of pocket-sized books prepared for use in the
aviation education program of the Civil Air Patrol. It is
supplemented by a 35 mm. instructional filmstrip, in
sound and color, that highlights its major points.
This book discusses the major problems of Air Power,
civil as well as military. Because the total civil-military
picture of Air Power is so vast, a comprehensive
treatment of its problems was impossible under the
limitations of space and time. The scope of the subject
material, however, is broad enough to provide Civil Air
Patrol cadets and others some basic understandings of
Air Power problems. Some of these problems will be
Others will be new. Together they are important enough
to constitute a national crisis in the world today.
It is essential that our youth and adult citizens grasp the
concept of Air Power as not belonging solely to an
arsenal of military weapons. On the contrary, there can
be no Air Power without the civil element--the aircraft
manufacturing, the air transportation, the airports, the
industrial and scientific research. And yet, paradoxically,
the strength of the civil element of Air Power is to a
large extent nourished today by the needs of military
aviation. The conclusion to be drawn is that they are
inseparable. Both make the entity of American Air
And this is the way it should be. They both have
common objectives—the well-being of all the people.
This is the central theme of the book. Understanding it
is necessary if the goals of aviation education are to be
attained. This book will help students and teachers
attain those goals.
Director of Aviation Education


Military aviation in the United Stales includes not only the United
States Air Force, but also Naval and Marine aviation and the aviation
o p e r a t i o n s o f t h e A r m y. Av i a t i o n i s s o i m p o r t a n t t o n a t i o n a l d e f e n s e
that every branch of the military services makes use of it.

George Washington once said, "To be prepared for war is one of the
most effectual means of preserving the peace." These words are as
alive today as they were 180 years ago. The concept they illustrate
lies at the core of our national defense program. The principle the
words express is old; the means we have adopted to preserve the
peace is new. Air power is our modern method. "Air Power is Peace
Power." Until a better way for achieving a lasting peace is discovered,
the American people must use, as its principal instrument of defense,
air power, the most powerful instrument of peace known today.
The Nature of Air Power

When some people think of air power, they think only in terms of
military aviation. However, among the problems of national and
international aviation some are civil, some are military; others are
both civil and military. The strength of our nation's air power depends
upon the continued development and stabilization of a great aircraft
manufacturing industry, upon the continued growth of the air transport
industry, upon civilian research and development, and upon the
creation of an air-minded public. The problems in these areas are
numerous. Many of them have international implications.

The Elements of Air Strength
We can convert the military force of our air power to constructive civil
use, but first this same force must be strengthened to give us the
conditions for such a conversion. It must be made to attain such
magnitude as to accomplish two things: (I) it must make a potential
aggressor stop and think before attacking us and, unless he is bent on
suicide, to lay his arms aside and agree to seek peaceful ways of
settling differences; (2) in case of attack, to launch an immediate
counterblow against the aggressor, retaliating with such violence as to
remove the possibility of any further attack.
To achieve either of these objectives presents problems that almost
defy solution. It is not easy for a democracy to go all-out in preparing
for a war during peacetime. Such preparations demand continued high
taxes and impose other severe restrictions on the people. These
preparations could become reminiscent of the all-out effort of World
War II. Whether such an effort becomes necessary only time will
reveal. If it becomes necessary it must be made regardless of cost.
For whatever the cost, it would be dwarfed by the expense of another
Indications are that this nation will not commit itself to an arms
production race. While the importance of quantity of air power is
recognized, our main efforts will be devoted to achieving superiority of
weapons, the finest that science can discover and money can buy.
The rapid technological changes taking place in aviation seem to
support the view that a concentrated production of a particular model
or models of aircraft is not only unwise but also wasteful. It can well
be that a particular aircraft in production will become obsolete in the
time it takes to fulfill the production orders.
In order to maintain a strong modern Air Force in-being, one capable
of launching a crushing counterblow, the factors described following
are essential:

A strong aircraft industry. It must be a going and ready industry, capable
of immediate expansion when necessary, and capable of producing the
aircraft and weapons needed to guarantee air superiority. Such an
industry is not only the backbone of our security but it is a dominant force
in shaping a strong national economy.
A strong civil air transport system including utility aviation. As with the
aircraft industry, these, too, have a dual function. In time of emergency
they offer a reserve of airplanes, experienced personnel, and a
communications and navigation system. In peacetime they are a vital
force in our national economy.
Airports and air bases. We need military air bases from which we can
intercept the enemy before he reaches his target. And our civil airports
must be modern and plentiful to accommodate both military and civil
aircraft when the time comes.
Continuing research and development program. Research is the key to
superior quality. There must be sufficient funds available to government,
industry, and the military services to carry out the three essential steps in
achieving superior air weapons: (a) pure research by the government),
(b) development |by industry) and, (c) evaluation of products (by the
military services).

Factors Influencing the Elements of Air Power

The four factors set forth above, in turn, depend on various others.
Skilled personnel, for example, are an essential ingredient of both
civil and military aviation. It takes years of training to gel maximum
efficiency out of the pilots, mechanics, electronics specialists and the
many other technicians that are vital to both a stable aviation industry
and a modern efficient Air Force. These specialists must be retained
as teams to prevent disruption of operations as well as costly of new personnel.
The federal government's role is significant, particularly in civil
aviation. Legislation and policies must be strong but flexible enough
to create the conditions that encourage healthy competition and
growth in civil aviation. These conditions, which are essential to a
strong national economy, result from domestic and international trade
and commerce, travel, and transportation The federal government
also plays a leading part in safely regulations and in the support given
to all aviation interests through research services, air traffic control,
airport construction, mail pay, weather information, and many other
Air power begins and ends with a strong national economy. A strong
national economy makes it possible to pay the bills security demands.
A strong economy means a thriving domestic and international
exchange of commerce, expanding trade and manufacture, discovery
of new materials and discovery of new uses for old materials, new
markets, and a stable, well-paid expanding labor force. These ore the
things that nourish our national economy, and civil aviation provides a
sizable share of the vitamins, billions of dollars worth.
Civil aviation, itself---the vast systems of air transportation, the aircraft
industries, and utility aviation---contributes significantly Io the nation's
economy. It employs a labor force of about one million people.
It has an industrial payroll of over four billion dollars, the nation's
largest for a single industry. Its export of aeronautical products is
greater than that of any nation in the world. Its tremendous coverage
of domestic and foreign air routes makes Americans the most airtravelled people in the world.
The aircraft manufacturing and air transport services are important
equally to our air power. If these services are kept adequate, we

can achieve our goal of air power superiority.
The elements essential to achieving air power superiority have just
been listed. They now give rise to some burning questions. Just how
powerful is our air power right now? Is it ready? If not, what needs to
be done to get it ready?
Today, the Congress, the military services, the industrial world, and
the people are attempting to puzzle out the answers to these
questions of our security. While they are doing it, a disturbing
question looms ever larger on the horizon: Do we have enough time?
Time is the prime essential of our defense preparations. But time is
consumed by the complex problems thai accompany each technical
and social advance of air power. Many of these problems have
already been solved. We expect that the others will also be solved.
But time is of the essence and the problems remaining are very real,
very urgent, and unless they are solved very soon, a situation may
develop which will become extremely dangerous to the survival of our
nation and, conceivably, of civilization.


The Destructive Capabilities of Military Air Power
The destructive qualities of military air power make it a formidable
war weapon. The combined Allied bomb tonnage dropped on all types
of German targets during World War II was 2,638,000 tons. However,
all of the bomb tonnage dropped on German targets during World
Wa r I I c o n t a i n e d o n l y o n e - fi f t h o f t h e d e s t r u c t i v e p o w e r o f j u s t o n e i n
today's family of "average" nuclear bombs.

Multiply the effects of a modern H-bomb by the combined force of
all the nuclear bombs now available, add the total force of the
transonic and supersonic fighters, the intercontinental jet bombers,
and the guided missiles. It would be possible for the nation
possessing such power to control the air space over any other
nation, to impose its will on that nation, and to strangle it by shutting
off its source of food supply and manufacture. The nation controlling
such force could control the destiny of the world.

The Threat of Military Air Power

Two aerial atomic bombs proved to be the decisive factor in ending World
War II. A single, experimental hydrogen bomb set off in the Pacific several
years ago blasted a hole in the earth's surface 175 feet deep and a mile
wide. The crater was big enough to accommodate the business section of
an American metropolis. That single bomb had the force of a million tons
of TNT. Today's H-bombs make that one obsolete.

Our notion is neither invincible nor is it immune to attack. High-altitude,
intercontinental bombers can fly direct air routes between any two
points. The distance from Moscow to either New York, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Washington, or Chicago, by the polar route is between
seven and eight hours flying time for the Bison, the Soviet version of
our B-52.
A fleet of such bombers releasing its devastating bomb load upon us
could destroy within an hour much of our military, economic, and
industrial strength and maim or kill thousands of our people.
By 1956 the Soviet Union had successfully conducted about 25 atomic
and hydrogen bomb tests. She is also known to possess the means to
deliver nuclear and thermo-nuclear destruction. She operates from
18,000 to 22,000 first line combat planes with about the same number
in reserve. An estimate of her current plane production is from 12,000
to 17,000 aircraft annually. She has in operation the long range jet
atomic bomber. She also has jet medium bombers and modern fighterinterceptors to employ for attack and defense. The Soviet Union is also
known to have over 20 bases for launching guided missiles. Some
authorities believe that she already possesses a 1500-mile missile and
that she is making rapid progress toward developing a 5000-mile
ballistic missile. On top of these uneasy facts, let us take note of
another: namely, her scientific and technical engineers are as capable
of solving the complicated problems of Air Power as ours are, and
thousands of Soviet youth are undergoing engineering training.
The Air Power strength of the Soviet Union did not develop overnight.
She has been long aware of the importance of a strong air force.
Her air power has advanced rapidly for thirty years. Its rise during the
past ten years has been phenomenal. In 1956, the Soviet Union

The Problem of Peace

The United Stales has dedicated itself to finding a mutually
satisfactory and peaceful solution for the problem presented by the
East-West "cold war.” The American people, however, are in
agreement that, under present world conditions, it would be unwise
to effect any sizable reduction in the nation's military strength. They
have chosen, on the contrary, to increase their investment in Air
Power, the instrument of national defense.
Air Power is Peace Power

announced plans to reduce her military forces in order to expand
her agricultural and industrial capacity. This step will enable her to
produce even more air-war material, and it also will strengthen her
position as an economic competitor of the Free World.
The loss of global prestige that the United Slates could suffer on the
economic front as a result of widening Soviet influence could mean
the loss of allies. This loss could be equally or more damaging to
our national security and economic welfare than a military defeat.
Moreover, all attempts to reach a full disarmament agreement with
the Soviets have been ending in deadlock.
The gravity of the situation cannot be underestimated. Events could
suddenly get out of hand and war could break out. This possibility
was emphasized by a number of events of the last 10 years.
Potential trouble spots exist throughout the world today--in the
Middle East, the Near East, Africa, and Asia. A seemingly trifling
local "incident" could set the world on fire.

This slogan is the keystone of our military policy. It has dominated
our national security and economy since World War II ended. Some
say it has prevented World War II.
From one point of view, it is an expensive slogan. In 1941 the nation
bought $587,000,000 worth of military planes. Today we spend
almost 15 times as much for military aircraft as we did in 1942 when
the country was at war. Today one dollar out of eight of the federal
budget goes for the purchase of aircraft. Fifteen billion dollars, 43
percent of the total Department of Defense budget for 1956, went
for U. S. Air Force operations. More billions have been appropriated
for naval aviation.
Today from 85 to 90 percent of the aeronautical products
manufactured by industry fill military orders. (Air Power, incidentally,
is not unique as a high cost defense item in the federal budget.
Statisticians have estimated that since 1915 about 85 percent of
federal funds has been spent either for war, preparing for war, or
paying for a war after it was over.)
Air Power is the most voracious consumer of money, natural
resources, electronics, metals, and human talent yet created by
man. In its search for faster, higher, heavier, and more far-ranging
planes; for long range missiles; and for the ultimate aerial weapon
of destruction----and defense--whatever it may be, it has imposed
tremendous cost and has taxed the very limits of human endurance.
Yet the objective of American Air Power is paradoxical. It seeks
peace, not war. Its greet hope is never to see combat. Its great hope
is to speed up the day when the world will know real peace, when a
large part of a nation's military resources can be converted for
constructive uses and make friendly neighbors of

the two and a half billion people that live on the face of this earth.
Air Power has this force within its grasp. A real peace would release it.
A real peace can open up world-wide channels for educational,
economic, social and cultural improvement through Air Power, so that
all men may have a chance to live a free and better life, and men of
different faiths and customs can come together to discover that they do
have many interests in common. A real peace will be worth all that it


From the day it was born the aircraft manufacturing industry has
suffered from instability. It rides with the times. In normal periods its
existence depends on public whimsy; international crises wrench it
into a prodigious round-the-clock production effort. Thus far, it has
never failed to meet the demands made upon it. Today its problem is
how to keep itself strong and ready to cope with an emergency.
One might say that World War II put the aircraft industry on its feet,
the postwar period knocked it down; Korea picked it up again, and the
present East-West race for air supremacy is the main reason why it
keeps standing. In peacetime it has been the most neglected of our
major industries; in wartime it has been asked to do the impossible.
Under such circumstances, it is hard for a young industry to develop.
Historical Background
The names that are making aviation history today--like Boeing,
Douglas, North American, Martin, Ryan, Curtiss, Lockheed, Northrop,
Consolidated Vultee, Fairchild, and Republic--were hardly known before the mid-thirties. During their early years most of these firms barely

managed to stay alive. The American public was slow to accept the
airplane as useful beyond what it then represented: sport, airmail,
and a new war weapon. Air transportation was flourishing but not in
America. While American manufacturers possessed the know-how
for building excellent aircraft, funds for their production were not
France, Great Britain, Italy, Germany were blazing the commercial
air trails.
But by 1935, the climate began changing. Trouble spots broke out in
Europe. Orders for military aircraft began coming in, slowly, mainly
from foreign nations. American plane-making gathered momentum
and by 1939 when war had come to Europe, U. S. production lines
were assuming respectable proportions. That year the industry
turned out 2,195 military aircraft. With a mounting backlog of orders
demanding attention the industry cast around for more working
space. By January 1940, it was spread out over 13 million square
feet of space, about 4 million more over the year before." In exactly
one year, its work space was doubled, and its production tripled.
After Pearl Harbor there began the most fantastic climb in the mass
production of aircraft that the world had ever seen.
During the years 1941-45, American aircraft manufacturers turned
out almost 300,000 military planes of every type—bombers, fighters,
transports, and trainers. Peak production was reached in 1944; over
96,000 planes were delivered thai year. The American aircraft
industry had achieved what our enemies and our European allies
had believed impossible.
Postwar Setback

Wartime industrial aviation represented 35% of the country's total
defense effort. Over a million and a half people worked in airplane
factories. Airplanes filled the skies. The air age appeared to have
engulfed us. Everyone believed that the crest of the rising aviation
tide would provide endless job opportunities for returning veterans.
They were quite wrong. After the close of World War II, cutbacks and
cancellations in the plane-making business were as swift as had
*the floor space of arcraft industry plants is a rough index of the industry’s readiness for
emergency production. World War II peak, in December 1943, was 175 million square feel.

been the wartime expansion. Commercial demands would not carry
the industry through the hard years of postwar readjustment. The
demand for light planes died quickly; the brief postwar boom in
private flying became a bust.
Caught between the loss of contracts and inflationary costs, airplane
makers turned to manufacturing other products, such as bicycles,
refrigerators, and stoves. But they continued to suffer losses
because they could not compete economically with the established
manufacturers of these goods.
A steady decline look place in plane-making between the years 1947
and 1949. The industry was practically demobilized; research and
development came virtually to a halt.
The feast-or-famine nature of the aircraft business can be illustrated
by the experience of North American Aviation, one of the major
companies. That firm went from a profit of $14 million in 1945 to an
operating loss of $12 million in 1947.
Effects of Korea

When the Korean war broke out in June 1950, our entire military
aircraft production rate was only about 2,500 planes a year, almost
17,000 less than the year's production preceding Pearl Harbor!
Fortunately, we had a jet fighter, the F-86 Sabre, to put up against
the Communist MIG-15. United Nation pilots claimed that above
30,000 feet the MIG, a lighter plane, could outlimb, outspeed, and
outmaneuver the Sabre. After three years of combat, however, the
"'kill" record stood at 801 MIGs destroyed to 58 Sabres. Some Air
Force officials attributed the F-86 record to the comparative
superiority of the training received by our pilots, and not necessarily
to the technical superiority of the plane.
The day we went to war in Korea, the federal government asked the
aircraft industry to perform a production miracle. And, by 1952, the
industry had once more achieved the impossible. It had tripled the
aircraft production rate, hired over 350,000 additional workers, and
established research and development programs. By the end of 1954
the industry was building 9,600 military planes a year--jet fighters,
bombers, and cargo planes---as well as guided missiles and civilian
aircraft of all types. It was now using 127,500,000 square feet of floor

space--about twice what it had in 1950. This was as much as 75 % of
the maximum work area of World War II. To give you an idea of the
tremendous amount of space needed today to build modern aircraft,
consider these figures: in 1942 we were producing almost 48,000
military aircraft a year and using 117 million square feet of factory
floor space; in 1954 we were producing only 9,600 planes a year--one-fifth the number built in 1942---but using 127.5 million square
feet of space! The cost of new machines and buildings needed in the
Korean expansion almost equalled that of World War Il —
approximately $3,530,000,000.
The aircraft industry provided one-third of the funds; the rest came
from the government and private investors.
The reconstruction of the aircraft industry, begun June 1950, has
been largely completed, except for some specialized new
constructlon needed for guided missiles. The job asked of industry
was difficult and expensive, although it was made easier by the
industry's World War II experience. Part of the expense was no doubt
caused by the high cost of today's complex aircraft. But the most of it
was caused by the need to set in motion and then to expand an
industry that had been allowed to come Io a standstill.
Need for Steady Production

Did you know that during World War II all planes (including the
B-29) used by the United Slates had been designed before
December 7, 1941? This fact leads one to conclude that the U.S. Air
Force, in the event of another war, will use the general types of
aircraft which it has on hand when the war breaks out. Once a war
is underway there will be little time to develop new weapons, and
production facilities will be shifted almost entirely to a quantity turnout of the best existing models.
The aircraft industry must be geared to a long range plan that will
assure it stability and freedom to develop superior weapons, to
retain its teams of experienced engineers and scientists, and to
maintain a state of readiness to produce the aircraft needed to
guarantee air superiority. Only a long range plan will prevent the
wasteful practices of past years. It has been estimated that the
nation can buy its air power 25 percent cheaper through such a long
range aircraft procurement program.

"Lead Time"

The Air Force we need today will not grow overnight. Today it takes
from 7 to 10 years to develop a new combat plane from the
engineering board to production. That is how complicated aircraft
manufacturing has become. The development of the Convair F-102A
is an example. This aircraft is a supersonic, della-wing jet interceptor.
It is equipped with air-to-air guided missiles, 2-inch rockets, and a fully
automatic electronic fire control system. The U. S. Air Force has
called it the "'deadliest weapon of aerial combat man has ever flown."
This aircraft was first designed and tested in 1948. Its delivery to the
Air Defense Command began in mid-1956.
One of our giant strategic bombers has over 184,000 separate parts.
It took nine years of incubation from drawing board to production.
Tomorrow's weapons will take even longer to produce. Time is
essential---time to establish requirements, time to design, time to
award contracts, time to build experimental models, time to lest them,
time to produce them, and time to improve them. In the aircraft
business this time is known as "lead time."

Complexity and Specialization
The complexity of modern aircraft manufacturing is such that no one
company can undertake to produce all the parts an aircraft needs.
For example, during 1954 almost $5 billion was paid by 35 major
aircraft manufacturers for services and products received from subcontractors and suppliers. About 50 percent of this sum was paid to
50,000 small businesses (employing fewer than 500 workers}. Among
these small industries was represented every state of the union and

18 foreign nations. Aside from the buoyant economic effects such
transactions have on the nation, they illustrate the high degree of
specialization necessary to produce modern aircraft.
Not all subcontractors can meet the exacting specifications
established by the military services and the major contractors for
making an aircraft part. Others do not have the experienced
personnel needed for assembling a plane or a missile. Many
concerns do not have the gauges and other precision-measuring
instruments necessary for inspection and testing. Other firms do not
have the facilities for heat treatment, magnaflux, anodizing, or
plating. Others do not have special-purpose machine tools, such as
large stretch-forming machines, large hydraulic presses, and large
special-purpose milling machines.
Modern high performance airplanes require new and difficult
methods and production techniques. The airframe manufacturers
must use thicker metal sheets, harder materials, and closer
tolerances than those used in the past. In the past, many parts were
bent into shape, now they must be machined into shape. There is a
big difference. It means more complicated structures and joints,
more difficult riveting methods, and the need for more and belter
assembly tooling. It means, too, that today's small and large
airplane manufacturing companies must meet standards of
craftsmanship that surpass all previous quality requirements.
Mistakes, lack of skill, and unsuitable machinery can jeopardize vital
production schedules; the delay of our production schedule can be
a costly liability to the national welfare.
Industry--A Target of War
Experience, skills, technical ingenuity, daring, and fortitude
characterize today's aviation manufacturing industry. All of these are
assets that cannot be measured in cash. These assets have earned
universal respect for the aircraft industrial power of the United
States. It was this industrial power that gave the Army Air Force the
muscle that destroyed Germany's means of continuing World War II
American air power wrecked German industries. Consequently,
Germany could produce neither new type planes nor the types in
current use. The end was inevitable. The collapse of the German
war industry brought about the collapse of the Germany economy.
The collapse of the armies had to follow.

America had two and a half years to amass the concentration of air
power that led Germany and Japan to unconditional surrender.
Never again can our country delay preparations until hostilities begin.
The next war will be fought with the equipment on hand at its outbreak.
For this reason, to have only a second best Air Force is to court
In the event of a third World War, the destruction of the aircraft industry
will be a prime target for an aggressor. No matter how widely dispersed
its facilities may be, it is conceivable that the entire complex could be
demolished within hours. Unless the nation is equipped with a superior
air force at the very moment this happens, its ability to wage war will be
paralyzed and it will be at the mercy of its enemies.

Plane-Making and the National Economy
To rely upon a hit-or-miss, unstable aircraft industry is damaging not
only to the nation's security but also to its economic welfare.
An unstable industry would retard the development of our air
transportation system. Our commercial airlines, in turn, bear a
profound influence on our general economy. During 1956 the
combined revenues of the aircraft manufacturers and the airlines
will add as much as $10 billion to our national economy. Just 12 of
the 35 major airframe manufacturers gross annual sales of over $5
billion. In dollar volume the aircraft manufacturing industry ranks
second of all major industries in the nation. In 1954, the Boeing
Aircraft Company was one of the 29 U. $. corporations listed in the
$1 billion or more annual sales category.
In addition to the aircraft industry's direct effect upon our economic
health, it has an indirect effect through other industries. Aluminum
makes up about 70 percent of all material used in aircraft
Fifteen percent of the aluminum used to build planes is steel alloy,
five percent is magnesium. Other materials used are bronze, brass,
wood, plastics, copper, rubber and nylon. Titanium, known for many
years, is under heavy industrial development because its properties
promise to help solve a number of critical engineering problems.
The industries that furnish these materials grow as the aircraft
manufacturing industry develops.
It would be safe to state that much of the phenomenal progress
being made by electronics today is the result of efforts being made

to meet aviation's problems. Take what many say has been the
most revolutionary "gadget" to hit U. S. industry in the last ten years:
the transistor, a metallic sliver about the height of a carpet tack with
o few hair-thin wires attached. The wrist radios you see advertised
have them. First used in hearing aids, in a jet fighter it reduces the
plane's weight by 1500 pounds. It takes the place of the vacuum
tube, but doesn't wait to warm up like the vacuum tube, saves
space, weight, heat and power, and lasts 150 times as long. By
cutting the plane's weight and doing away with an extra power plant
and housing for the refrigeration system, the transistor will save
about $50,000 in manufacturing and operating costs for one plane.
Progress and Problems
The future looks bright for the aircraft industry. The 1956 decline in
orders for military aircraft was counteracted by an increase in orders
for guided missiles.
Since 1950 the nation has spent over $82.25 billion for military
aircraft required by the Air Force and the Navy. Billions of dollars
more have gone for related procurement. During the fiscal year
1957 the basic requirements of our 137-wing Air Force will be met.
Aircraft production will then level off to a point needed to keep the
Air Force up-to-date, well-equipped, and capable of meeting any
attack whenever and wherever it comes. To sustain such an
organization with modern equipment will take an annual investment
in new aircraft very little less than that expended today. Will the
people of the nation approve it? Will the expense of maintaining the
military strength needed to fight a cold war be tolerated indefinitely?
Changes in our international relations could dictate a radical
revision in the nation's defense structure. The results of such a
revision could be for the better, or, for the worse. One thing seems
The aviation industry's potential is practically untapped. Eventually
its development will depend as much upon civil aviation as it now
does upon military aviation. Eventually the current top-heaviness in
military production will be counter-balanced by civil aircraft
requirements. In 1955 and 1956, $2 billion worth of orders for
aircraft were placed with the industry. Of this amount, $1.5 billion
were orders for either turbo-

jet or turbo-prop air transports. At present it is estimated that $3 billion
will be spent for civil air transports to be delivered by 1965.
Large orders for civil aircraft, such as these are, will give continuity to
aircraft manufacturing operations and enable the industry to expand
speedily when emergency military needs make expansion necessary.


The Beginning of the Airlines


Civil air transportation got its start in this country with the passage of
the Kelly Bill, the Airmail Act of 1925. This bill made it possible to
award air mail contracts to private airlines.
Much of the flying activity throughout the country at the time was
centered around air shows, air races, and barnstorming events. There
was little commercial airline traffic, and flying the airmail was a federal
government enterprise administered by the Post Office Department.
In 1926, the airlines carried only 5800 passengers; today, they carry
passengers at the rate of 42 million a year. In 1926, domestic air
routes totaled only 3600 miles; today, a network of approximately
80,000 miles of air routes covers the country.
It wasn't until 1930 that airmail contractors became interested in
purchasing aircraft large enough to carry passengers profitably.
This came about with the enactment of the McNary-Watres Bill, which
directed that air mail contractors were to be paid by space available
instead of by the pound-per-mile rate. Operators now found it
profitable to order aircraft with more cabin space, install seats, and
add to their income by promoting passenger traffic. Available space
was paid for whether filled by mail or not. Under such circumstances
any passenger revenue was clear profit. However, people still showed
no great eagerness to travel or ship by air. Civil flying had not yet
been brought under formal regulation and flying accidents were

The Beginning of Federal Supervision
The enactment of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 brought under
federal supervision the safety aspects of flying, such as pilot fitness,
aircraft air-worthiness, potential fire "hazards, and proper airport
marking. The Act did little more. Federal control was still only partly
effective, because government authority was spread over too many
agencies. However, in the years following, the improved safely record
of aviation, coupled with some overall technical improvements in
airline service, paved the way for an increase in passenger traffic.
By 1932, the airlines were becoming self-sufficient. Mergers had
brought into being coast-to-coast trunk lines. Three-mile-a-minute
luxury liners had replaced the slower tri-motor transports. In spite of

the existing economic depression, passenger traffic was increasing
at the rate of one-half million passengers a year. Thirty-four mail routes
o p e r a t e d 2 7 , 0 6 2 m i l e s o f a i r r o u t e s . M o r e o v e r, t h e c o s t o f c a r r y i n g
the mail was down from a ton-mile rate of $1.10 in 1929 to $0.54 at
the beginning of 1933.

A Difficult Period
Air transportation appeared to be growing into a stable industry when
the government on February 9, 1934 suddenly cancelled all air mail
contracts, assigning to the Army Air Corps the task of carrying the mail.
The first week of this operation proved the action unwise.
Five pilots were killed; six critically injured; eight airplanes were
destroyed; and property damage of about $300,000 was sustained.
On March 10, 1934 air mail service was abandoned. Immediately there
was an increase of 110% in the volume of air express. Business men
had learned the value of air mail and although done in violation of
postal regulations they were shipping bundles of letters by air express.
On April 20, 1934 air mail contracts were again let to airline transport
Both the air transport industry and the federal government learned
some valuable lessons during the early months of 1934. Among these
was the conviction that (1) a healthy air transport service was essential
to the nation's economic and political strength and (2) the lime was at
hand to revise the existing air legislation. However, it took four years of
discussion before satisfactory legislation was finally enacted.

A Solution to the Problem of Aviation Regulation
In order to do a good job for both the airlines and the public, the
federal government must have regulatory power over the airlines.
It must regulate air commerce in the same way that it regulates interstate and foreign commerce. The authority by which it conducts these
functions stems, of course, from our Constitution.
The Air Commerce Act of 1926, the first bit of legislation concerning
the operation of the airlines, limited itself mainly to the factors of
s a f e t y. To p r o v i d e t h e p r a c t i c a l m a c h i n e r y f o r t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f
a i r t r a n s p o r t s e r v i c e s w a s l e f t t o i t s s u c c e s s o r, t h e C i v i l A e r o n a u t i c s
Act of 1938. This Act not only helped to revive the airlines but it also

stated continuing, public-service objectives and established the
means to put these objectives into force. It also marked a new high
in Government-Business relations by giving private industry the
opportunity to fun its own affairs, while remaining accountable to a
Board with wide powers acting as a referee. The function of the Act
was not only to regulate the airlines but to stimulate their growth and
consequently strengthen our commerce and their role in the drama
of international air power.
During the period of lime between the passage of the Civil
Aeronautics Act of 1938 and 1956 the number of scheduled airlines
had grown from 22 to 53, domestic and international; the number of
cities served from 286 to 695; the number of passengers from
1,536,000 to approximately 42,000,000; and the amount of cargo
(mail, express and freight) from 10,381,666 to 484,662,000 tonmiles.
The Beginning of a Military Air Transport Service In hardly anything
were we as weak, on December 7, 1941, as in military air
transportation. The problem of placing men and supplies where they
would do the most good seemed insurmountable. The military cargo
planes on hand that day numbered exactly 27. Eleven were crudely
converted B-24's, and the rest were commercial planes on loan from
Pan-American Airways and Trans-World Airlines, or purchased by
military aviation from these companies. Not one was good enough
for flying precious cargoes across oceans and mountains.
In 3 1/2 years this puny unit transformed itself into the mightiest
international air transport system yet developed. Its air bases were
well-equipped and completely manned for weather reporting; its
routes, a network of intercontinental airways, embraced the world,
binding the earth more closely together than had ever been possible
Its transport aircraft were the best that could be built.
Civil and Military Air Transport Cooperation
The Air Transport Command (which today, along with the Navy Air
Transport, comprise Military Air Transport Service) helped change
the pattern of world aviation. It established air transportation as a
vital arm of war. Its remarkable postwar achievement in the Berlin
airlift established it also as an instrument of national policy in
Considerable credit for helping to get the Air Transport Command off

the ground in time of crisis goes to the
airlines. Their equipment, training, crews,
skilled personnel, and priceless
organizational experience provided a
necessary foundation upon which to build a
military air transport organization.
After the war the Air Transport Command
repaid the airlines with interest. It gave them
a complete network of intercontinental
airways, ready for long-range air transport
operation. It gave them technological
knowledge that ordinarily would have taken
a decade or two to acquire. The pressure of
war allows no time for experimentation.
You take a chance and keep your fingers
crossed. Hundreds of C-46 and C-47
aircraft, both twin-engine planes, were used
to lift tons of cargo over the treacherous
Himalayas. Each operation of each of these
planes brought new information. Each flight
over the Hump and across an ocean was, in
a sense, an experiment. And, each flight
contributed to a mass of data on airlift
performance and efficiency which in
peacetime would have taken 20, rather than
3 1/2, years to accumulate.

Civil Reserve Air Fleet
As the postwar airlines profited from the wartime activities of the
military air transport, so today's military air services profit from
aiding operations. One of the urgent lessons coming out of the
war was the importance of commercial air transportation as an
essential arm of our national defense. As a potential military
auxiliary, today's civil airlines are closely tied to military aviation
through a task force known as CRAF (Civil Reserve Air Fleet).
This fleet is subject to call by the Defense Department on 48
hours notice. CRAF could conceivably spell the difference
between victory and defeat should the country be drawn into war.
The CRAF airline fleet is currently made up of approximately 325
four-engine aircraft, consisting of Douglas DC-4's and 6's,
Lockheed Constellations, and Boeing B-377's. Some have been
partly modified for military purposes. All are in commercial
operation, but earmarked for military use when needed. Their
value has been placed at approximately $400,000,000. That is
what it would cost the government to buy such a fleet. Added to
the airlines' annual cost of training its crews and of maintenance,
the value of CRAF approaches three quarters of a billion dollars.
The airlines have come a long way in terms of their importance
to the national defense, their contribution to the country's
economy, and the quality of their service. Yet, their potential
usefulness has barely been lapped.
The Airline Slump of 1946 and 1947
Less than ten years ago, the future for the airlines looked grim.
The fiscal year ending June 30, 1947, brought one of the most
serious crises of their history. The 1947 operating loss of the air
transport industry approximated $22,000,000. As contributors to
the country's economic welfare and national security, the airlines
were in poor shape indeed. Their financial difficulties were
caused by a number of reasons.
One of these was the overestimation of the volume of passenger
traffic at the end of the war. Both the airlines and the government
concluded that high wartime patronage would be a permanent
feature of the business. To make up for their great shortage of
planes and

p e r s o n n e l d u r i n g t h e w a r, t h e a i r l i n e s w e n t o n a b u y i n g a n d h i r i n g
spree, unwisely overextending their routes and expanding their services
and organizations. Other causes were unexpected cost rises coupled
with reductions in passenger fares, a decline in mail volume, a succession of dramatic accidents, public dissatisfaction over schedule unr e l i a b i l i t y, a n d s t r i k e s ! T h e r e s u l t i n g fi n a n c i a l b u r d e n s w e r e g r e a t
enough to ruin a mature industry.
Because of the growing importance of the air transportation industry to national economy and defense, the authors of the Civil
Aeronautics Act of 1938 agreed that commercial air transportation
m u s t b e k e p t s t r o n g . C o n s e q u e n t l y, t h e y e m p o w e r e d t h e C i v i l A e r o nautics Board to adjust the mail pay so that the operating losses suffered
b y a i r c a r r i e r s w o u l d n o t b e f a t a l . H a d t h i s p r a c t i c e n o t b e e n i n e ff e c t
the airlines could not have survived through 1946 and 1947.

Public Service Revenue
The governments of all nations are concerned with the development
of both their civil and military aviation. In many countries, the
government owns and operates the civil airlines, controlling them as
a state monopoly. In others, the government is a large stockholder.
And in still other countries the government assists in the
management of civil airlines. Some countries consider their civil
airline operations as part of their military air programs.
The policy of the U.S. Government has been to regard civil aviation
as a business to be operated by business men with a minimum of
government supervision and support. In effect, this means that the
airlines can continue to operate only if they make a profit. The
government wants them to make a profit because only in that way
can the lines provide higher quality service at a low cost while
serving the nation's foreign and domestic commerce, its postal
service and its defense program. It is the federal government's policy
to promote and encourage civil aviation to accomplish these things.
To effect this policy, the government will, when necessary, assist the
airlines through subsidy so that they can become self-sustaining.
In our nation's history there has been subsidy to promote the
development of railways, waterways, roads, and many other facilities
of benefit to the public. One may regard airline subsidy as public

service revenue authorized by Congress. The development of air transportation so
that it can serve better the nation's commerce and its Postal and Defense
Departments justifies financial support from public funds.

In 1938, mail payments to the airlines included both subsidy and
payment for service. It was rendered to a carrier all in one pay check.
This practice was followed until 1953.

In 1953, it was decided to separate mail pay from subsidy. Mail pay
became dollars earned by the airlines for carrying the mail. Today, some
airlines get two pay checks from the government---one from the Post
Office Department as mail pay, the other from the Civil Aeronautics
Board as public service revenue, or subsidy. There are three major
reasons for continuing subsidy today: (1) to help provide air service to
smaller communities which could not support it; (2) to help some of our
international carriers compete with the airlines of foreign countries, most
of which are heavily subsidized; (3) to help further and develop the
young helicopter services. The matter of subsidy also enters when the
public interest requires the replacement of aging

equipment with new types, when more costly operating procedures
are necessary in the interest of safety or when economy dictates the
consolidation of airlines.
Does this mean that the government is doing the airlines a favor by
providing them with enough money to keep operating? Not at all. It
means that the government is purchasing a specific service that the
country needs.
Airline subsidy is steadily diminishing. In 1951 public service
revenue represented more than 7 1/2 percent (575,800,000) of total
airline revenues; in 1955, subsidy payments to all airlines were
reduced to about four percent ($66,150,000).
Today, the domestic trunk airlines, which carry the bulk of air
commerce, are virtually subsidy-free. This has come about, not by
eliminating the service requiring it, but because the growth of
passenger traffic has made the trunk lines self-sustaining. Also, subsidy
payments received by the local service carriers have dropped from 47
percent of the total revenues in 1951 to 40 percent in 1955 and such
payments received by the international airlines have dropped from 13
percent of the total revenues in 1951 to 8 percent in 1955.


The condition of the nation's airports is of great concern both to the
federal government and to the local communities which have the
primary responsibility for airport development. Adequate airports are
essential to the strength of the nation's communication and
transportation systems. Adequate communication and transportation
systems are vital to the nation's economy and defense. The local
communities in particular benefit by the social and economic growth
good airports stimulate. So, both the federal government and the
local community should cooperate to maintain a sound national
program of airport development.
To d a y ' s m o d e r n a i r p o r t b e a r s l i t t l e r e s e m b l a n c e t o t h e a i r p o r t
of the 1930's. As aircraft design and characteristics change, airports
must change to accommodate them. Airport development has had to
s t r u g g l e i n o r d e r t o k e e p p a c e w i t h a i r c r a f t d e v e l o p m e n t . F o r, a n
airport's needs cannot always be determined until the aircraft that
use it are put into operation.
Throughout the United States there are many airports that in themselves have kept pace with aviation's development. It is with respect
to the development of a national airport system that the airport development program invites criticism.

The Need for a National Airport Program
Since 1946, there has been a great expansion in air passenger
travel and in domestic and international air commerce. To
accommodate this expansion there is an increasing need for
many new modern airports. Some existing airports lack the traffic
control facilities needed to handle air traffic at peak periods. The
air space around others is crowded. The runways of many are too
short for today's big transports and much too inadequate in all
respects for tomorrow's commercial jets. At many airports fuel
storage and other airport facilities are likewise unable to serve
effectively our rapidly expanding air traffic.
To solve the airport-system development problem requires that
present efforts be increased. If this is not done the problem will
become increasingly critical. According to a prediction by the Civil

Aeronautics Administration based on a survey of 1955 air traffic
trends, the volume of airline passenger traffic will reach 70 million
by 1965, an increase of about 30 million over 1955. This survey also
indicates that by 1965, business, agricultural, and other general
flying activities will be operating at an annual rate of 14 million flying
hours, five times the 1954 rate of our domestic scheduled airplanes.
A similar optimistic future was predicted for air freight.

Airports and Jets

Jet powered air transports are scheduled to go into commercial
airline service by 1958. This fact poses special airport problems.
Since the wings of jet air transports are not expected to be much
wider than present aircraft wings, the present CAA standard of 200
foot-wide runways for the two largest categories of airports will be
satisfactory for jet operations. However, airport runways need to
be longer and stronger to handle the faster and heavier jet aircraft.
Among the major CAA standards used in runway construction and
extension are field elevation and temperature. Present elevation
standards for .lengthening runways for commercial piston-type aircraft
call for increasing the runway length seven percent for each 1000
feet of elevation." These standards have not yet been established
precisely for jet runways, but they are not expected to be changed too
much. For practical reasons, the runways of many of the nation's
existing airports cannot be lengthened. This means that communities
served by jet transport aircraft must build new airports.

Because of its greater fuel-carrying weight, the departing
intercontinental jet flight will need a runway of 10,000 feet, twice that
being planned for domestic airline jet operations. Today, less than 150
of our public airports have runways of 7,000 or more feet. Of these,
only a few at present are suitable for intercontinental operation.
For example, the longest runway at New York's Idlewild International

*Temperature standards are based on correcting length upward by one-half of one percent for
each degree that the mean temperature of the hottest month of the year exceeds 59 degrees.

Airport is 9,422 feet. In the light of altitude and temperature factors,
its effective length is only 8,724.
The runway situation for domestic and international commercial air activities is not
yet crucial. However, future air traffic expansion and jet aircraft operation will
generate critical problems.

Air Traffic Congestion
Our airways are not much better equipped than are our airports
Io handle jet flight operations. One big difference between
aircraft powered by jets and those powered by reciprocating
engines is speed.
Another is the altitude at which each operates most effectively.
In good weather at a major airport with careful air traffic control
from the tower, planes can land and take off at a rate belter than
one a minute. In instrument weather, a major airport does well to
handle 30 landings and take.offs in an hour. It is the current
practice for aircraft whose landing is delayed by instrument
weather conditions, each to hold at a different altitude until
cleared to land by Air Traffic Control. High jet fuel consumption
and high jet speeds make this practice of stacking questionable.
The air traffic problem for the very near future will be to provide
safe separation for modern civil aircraft while they are in the air
awaiting landing instructions. Jets cannot be kept waiting. Air
Force officials, for example, have estimated that when a B-47
starts coming in for a landing and either misses, the approach or
for some other reason must return to the traffic pattern, it will
have consumed more than 2,500 pounds of jet fuel (about 400
gallons) before it can make a second approach.
Federal Aid

Through the Civil Aeronautics Administration the federal government
is responsible for providing suitable airways facilities to improve the
nation's airports and make air travel safer. To relieve today's air traffic
congestion and to prepare for the future expansion of air traffic, the
Civil Aeronautics Administration has worked out with civil and military
agencies a five-year $40 million program for install-

ing new traffic control aids. The new equipment will do two things: It
will keep fast-moving planes constantly in sight while they are in the
upper air space (24,000 feet); it will help bring them down promptly
and precisely when they approach the airport. Other new equipment
will include long-range radar that will permit observation

Act of May 13, 1946, the program authorized the use of $500 million
of Federal money for airport development over a period of seven
years. (See Airports, Airways, and Electronics, page 3.) The Act
provided that these funds should be apportioned to the various
states on a population-area basis to be matched 50-50 by local
sponsoring agencies. Bear in mind that this money was to be made
available only if the local community qualified for it, and only if it was
able to put up a matching amount as its share in the enterprise.
From July 1, 1946 through December 1953, less than $196 million
was appropriated of the $500 million originally authorized. The
program was held up in 1954 so that federal officials could lake a
new look at the program of federal airport aid. It is possible that the
full amount of the original authorization was not appropriated
because of irregular community response to the programs during
the seven-year period airport aid was available. However, enough
communities wanted it to justify its continuation. For fiscal year
1955, Congress appropriated an additional $20,750,000; and on
August 3, 1955 an amendment to the Act of 1946 was approved that
made $252 million available in airport aid to cover a period of four
years beginning July 1, 1955. The money was to be apportioned at
an annual rate of $63 million.
In the first year of the program the number of airports went up from
4,490 to 5,759; the increase was chiefly the result of the great
postwar interest in aviation. By 1949 a total of 6,484 airports had
been built. Thereafter, airport construction proceeded more slowly,
and during the next three years 442 unmodernized airports stopped
operations. Early in 1953, however, airport construction was
revived, and by March 1954, the nation counted 718 additional
airports, for a total of 6,760. However, of the 6,760 airports active
on March 1, 1954, only 1,291 were paved.

of the airspace up to distances of 600 miles from its station. The
installation of this electronic equipment got underway July 1, 1956. It
should be ready for service before the arrival of the civil jet transports.
Community Obstacles to the National Airport Program
Installing and operating traffic control aids are just part of the government's
program to assist in the improvement of civil air operations.
Much bigger in scope is the federal program for airport construction and
modernization. Approved by Congress under the Federal Airport

Failure of community leaders to provide matching funds explains the present,
apparent inadequacies of the nation's airport system.
This failure can be explained in terms of the pressure of other com-

munity needs. Airport construction and modernization is made easier
by federal aid, but the community must still raise the funds for its
share of the airport building costs.

Many communities have no airport because community leaders do
not agree that airport construction should take precedent, for
example, over the building of a modern hospital. Other communities
are influenced by fear. Air traffic accidents have happened. The fear
that such will reoccur remains long after the condition that caused
them has been removed. The noise that offends those who live
adjacent to an airport is almost as intense as that which shatters the
ear drums of those who live near a railway.

munity temper antagonistic toward aviation were to spread throughout the nation,
it could threaten our national defense program and put an end to the growth of air

Community Advantages of the National Airport Program

A modern airport can literally change the face of a community.
It can put a small community on the map. The lack of an airport could
conceivably remove a large community from the map. For transportation
and commerce is the economic life blood of a community, and air
transportation is emerging as a dominant factor in modern

Modern industrial plants include airports in their scheme of
The trend of great manufacturing companies toward dispersion has
brought about an industrial migration from metropolitan centers to
less congested areas. New plants are opening in communities near
sources of raw materials, of water, fuel, and electric power, and of
labor. This trend has increased the economic importance of the
airport. Executive travel, air express and freight service, air mail—all
these make an airport necessary. The industrial use of the airport
has become routine. The community without one should not expect
to attract expanding industry.
The airport construction requirements of themselves add to the
prosperity of a community. Workmen, machinery, and materials,
must be supplied by the community. These demands upon the
community for services and commodities open up hundreds of new
jobs that did not exist until the work of building the airport got
After an airport begins operating, its contributions to the welfare of
its community become even more pronounced. Well-managed
community airports show an income from rents, concessions, and
utility fees that not only covers all operating costs, but also provides
a generous profit on the original construction costs. The income
from some community airports has been so great that the costs of
their construction has already been recovered.
Once an airport is in operation, new roads must be built so that
These obstacles to the development of an airport system are real.
There is merit in the objection to airport noise. However, if a com

taxis, busses, and trucks can reach it with patrons and cargo. Those
who work at an airport choose to live in its vicinity; hence an airport
becomes a boon to the real estate market. It has been estimated that
50,000 people settled around one of the major, east coast air terminals.

aircraft, each type designed for a particular job. Should this situation
develop certain existing airports may rearrange their facilities. This
could mean that a downtown airport would handle only short-haul
light plane traffic, since such traffic can be accommodated by parallel

As a matter of fact, a sound national airport construction
program offers a solution to a major community airport
problem—the over concentration of air traffic at a single
airport. The construction of additional airports to relieve heavy
air space congestion at certain of the nation's air terminals will
be a move in the interest of safety of air operations.
The benefits reaching the community that builds an airport are
real. One only needs to multiply these by the number of American
communities not served by a modern airport lan estimated 30,000 to
50,000) to discover the worth of the nation's airport program to her
economy and air power.

The Metropolitan Airport Problem

Large metropolitan centers have special airport problems. The
airspace available in some areas has reached the point of
The belief is growing among airport engineers that it would be
practical to build special airports for special services in these areas.
It is becoming both unsafe and impractical to handle all types of
transport planes at the same airport. Some big cities already operate
several airports, each organized to handle one class of traffic.
Military and commercial aircraft seldom operate from the same
Flying schools and private flyers no longer operate from major
commercial airports.

Specialized airports may become just as common as specialized

runways pointing in a direction to divert traffic away from the city.

A large metropolitan center, in order to solve its airport problems,
might include its downtown airport in an area pattern. This airport
pattern would encompass an airport for overseas operation, one for
trunk line operation, another as an air freight transportation terminal,

and one to handle local and miscellaneous air traffic. A system such as
this will require an effective central, air-traffic control. Electronic systems
are now in use which will enable the installation of such control.
This system would also require an aerial counterpart of taxi and bus
service. Helicopters have been developed to the point where they can
transport passengers, mail and cargo. The facilities for operating a
complex of metropolitan airports is at hand.


HEAT ON FLESH: Face bristles with
devices for recording changing skin
temperatures and blood flow.

leaders had forgotten the costly lessons that the war had taught.
Hasty demobilization seriously disrupted the little research in jet and
atomic powered aircraft then underway. In view of the keen
technological competition in aviation emerging among leading
nations of the world, this move proved an unfortunate handicap.
The Korean conflict, however, brought another change of leadership
attitude. The early 1950's sow a rebirth of aeronautical research. By
1955, a 600-mile per hour intercontinental bomber powered by eight
jet engines was in operation. To create an air power capable of
preventing war, or if this is not possible, able to seize control of air
space from an aggressor, requires that the nation's air policy
maintains a continuous and expanding program of air research.


Organizations Conducting Aeronautical Research
Of the total national aeronautical research effort, industry conducts
about 50%; non-profit groups (including colleges and universities)
conduct from 15 to 20%; and the rest, 30 to 35%, is carried out by
the military air services and the National Advisory Committee for
Aeronautics (NACA), and the National Bureau of Standards.
At present there are some 1800 Air Force research projects
underway. They are administered, under federal government
contract, by 1500 industrial firms and 150 non-profit educational
and private research institutions. The U. S. Air Force Air Research
and Development Command (ARDC) monitors these projects
through its 26 technical liaison offices. In addition to ehis research
function, the Air Research and Development Command operates 10
research centers of its own.

The Importance of Aeronautical Research
Research has revolutionized aviation. It has provided military
aviation with jet and rocket engines, and with supersonic aircraft
and guided missiles. It has provided civil aviation with a
dependable, fast, and economical means of air transportation. It is
helping to solve for both military and civil aviation, the problems of
air traffic control and electronic navigation. It appears that our
nation's position as a world leader rests upon the success of
research and development in aviation.
World War II demonstrated that control of the airspace is a factor
essential to the winning of a war. It follows that the nation with the
best Air Force is in the best position to win a war, or to deter an
aggressor. For a time after World War II, it appeared that the nation

The testing of new equipment produced by the research groups is th,
function of the USAF Air Proving Ground Command.
The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics' primary job, a
established by Congressional action in 1915, is to formulate research
programs and coordinate the efforts of the nation's aviation interest in
solving leading aeronautical problems. As a coordinator of research
projects, it shares responsibility with the Air Force in those areas
where the Air Force has an interest. NACA, in addition, maintains five
large research laboratories that conduct basic and applied research
in one or more of four major problem areas: aerodynamics, power
plants, aircraft construction, and operations. Our rapid development
in jet powered aircraft would not have been accomplished without the
research and wind tunnel experimentation of the NACA.
Our Supersonic Air Force

We are building a completely supersonic (750 mph at sea level)
aircraft inventory. The F-100 C SUPERSABRE is replacing both the
F-86A SABRE day-fighter and other similar fighter aircraft. Production
has been speeded up on the F-101 VOODOO long range strategic
fighter and the F-104 day fighter, both supersonic. The F-102,
America’s first supersonic, delta-wing fighter intercepter, equipped for
all-weather flying, is in production. Deliveries of this aircraft are
beginning to be made to the Air Defense Command. The F-105A, a
supersonic fighter bomber capable of delivering at extremely high
speeds both nuclear bombs and rockets, is in the advanced stage of
The B-52 intercontinental STRATOFORTRESS is replacing the B-36.
Powered by eight jet engines, it is virtually 180 tons of awe-inspiring
power. Incidentally, its design appeared so good that in spite of the
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) requiring that before their
acceptance new planes should be flight tested, the Air Force directed
that the B-52 be put into production, even before a prototype was built.
Eight years of research effort resulted in the development of the B-52.
Research is not, however, content with its achievements. It looks into
the future. Consequently a supersonic, long range bomber, the B-58,
faster than the B-52, is already undergoing development.
The six-jet B-47 medium bomber has been adopted as the "work
horse" of the Strategic Air Command. The B-26 and the more modern

B-45 jet light bombers are being replaced in Tactical Air Command and in
overseas operations by the twin jet B-57 Canberra and the B-66 light
Vast progress has been made in aircraft development to meet air logistics
requirements. The C-103A HERCULES four-engine turbo-prop transport
has been placed in quantity production. The C-132, a giant turbo-prop
transport with greater range and payload than any other cargo aircraft,
has reached the final stages of development. The C-133A, another fourengine turbo-prop cargo ship, is undergoing tests. Tanker versions of
Boeing's 707 four-jet passenger transport have been ordered.
Experimental aircraft are flying nearly three times the speed of sound and
are approaching the threshold of space, almost 20 miles above the earth.
The Air Force is developing jet-powered vertical takeoff aircraft, and
exploring the possibilities of disc-shaped aircraft. Experiments with
nuclear-powered aircraft disclose that built-in controls can make the
nuclear power plant no more dangerous (from radioactivity) than other
types of power plants.

Electronic Research and Development

In the interest of national security, an Arctic radar warning system is
undergoing construction. Man-made radar islands are now operating off
the eastern Atlantic coast. Perhaps the most significant air defense
development in recent years that research has produced is the
SemiAutomatic Ground Environment System (SAGE). This device utilizes

high speed electronic computers to receive and analyze information.
Almost instantaneously it can portray to an Air Force section
commander an air defense battle in picture form. This warning
system is being tested as a possible means of easing growing air
traffic congestion over our large metropolitan areas.
In the field of guided missiles, the Air Force has either in operation,
or under development, weapons in each of the four missile families:
surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, air-to-air, and air-to-ground.
Strategic, long-range, surface-to-surface guided missiles include the
Northrop SNARK and the North American NAVAHO.
The SNARK is a pilotless bomber, powered by conventional jet
engines. Automatic computers take the place of a crew. It has a
cruising range of approximately 2000 miles. It is expected that
further development will increase its range to 5000 miles. Its speed
is just over 600 mph and it is relatively simple and inexpensive. It is
adaptable enough for many different uses over a variety of ranges.
The NAVAHO is a similar missile, capable of faster speeds.
The BOMARC, a long range surface-to-air pilotless interceptor for
use in air defense, is under development. The FALCON, an air-to-air
guided air defense rocket, is in the final stages of development. A
strategic air-to-ground missile, the RASCAL, is also in the final
stages of development. It can be "dived in" from as high as 75,000
feet at tremendous speed. The MATADOR, a tactical surface-tosurface missile, is a pilotless jet aircraft capable of carrying an
atomic warhead 500 miles. It is shot into the air by a small rocket,
which falls away. A jet engine then takes over and propels the
missile through the air. Its rudder and elevators are controlled by
radio operators on the ground or in flight. Several MATADOR
squadrons are now operating in the European theater.
The development of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), is
underway. It has been given a very high Air Force priority. All of the
above-mentioned missiles are subject to interception because they
operate in the earth's atmosphere. The ICBM is a space missile and,
unlike those discussed above which operate within the earth's
atmosphere, it cannot be intercepted. It might well decide the
outcome of any future war. More brainpower and funds are being
poured into the development of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile,
called the ATLAS Project, than went into the Manhattan Project that
produced the atom

bomb. It is still in a very early developmental stage. It will take several
years to bring it to an operational status.
ATLAS, rhe Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, will look like a giant rocket.
It will have a height of from 80 to 130 feel and a width of about 10 feet.
It will have approximately, a million working parts.
It will consist of five major sections. Its nose will consist of a thermonuclear warhead. The nose will be followed by a guidance system, fuel
tanks, fuel pipes, fuel pumps, and rocket engines. It will be aimed like
an artillery shell and propelled vertically into the air by its engines.
As it nears a pre-determined altitude (600-800 miles up), it will assume
a horizontal trajectory and break in two behind the warhead, the

body falling into space, leaving the warhead speeding toward its target
at a speed of 10,000 to 16,000 mph. A single missile could leave a
major city with 500,000 casualties. Two could totally destroy such a city.
A hundred could cause 50,000,000 casualties, and could destroy one
third of the industrial facilities of any nation. All this could happen in a
period of 30 minutes.
The problems of developing the ICBM are the most baffling ever
encountered by science. One major problem relates to the vaporizing
effects that the missile's blistering speed will have on the metals thai
form its structure. Another major problem deals with the electronic
devices needed to keep it on its 5000-mile course. The solution to such
problems and to the many others that plague our scientists and engi-

neers motivates persistent probing into the nature of high speed aircraft and
missile flight.

The Role of the Supersonic Pilot
Most of a jet pilot's flying time is taken up with watching the gadgets
on his instrument panel that are the "brains" of the hundreds of
pounds of electronic equipment which really do the work once the
plane is aloft.
These gadgets steer his airplane, inform him when he is on course,
keep him on course until he nears his destination.
If he is a military pilot they also inform him when to release his
rockets or bombs. Then, after he places the plane back on course
for the journey home, electronic devices guide it home and help the
human pilot to land it at his base. But, nothing has yet been
developed that takes the place of human judgment. The human, in
this respect, still retains superiority over the machine, and is
expected to retain that edge for some time to come.
The Problems of Supersonic Flight
October 14, 1947 may well become as important a date in the history of
aviation as the date the Wrights flew the first powered airplane.
October 14, 1947 was the day when man flew faster than the speed of
sound. It happened at 21,000 feel over the Mojave Desert when the
rocket-powered Bell X-1, an experimental model, was released from the
belly of a B-29 with Captain Charles Yeager at its controls.
Aviation's problems didn't cease the day Captain Yeager crashed the
sound barrier in his tiny rocket research plane. In fact, this achievement
introduced a whole new succession of problems for research. It now
appeared important to develop a practical plane with a useful range and
load-carrying capability which can duplicate the feat of the Bell X-1. To
develop such a plane is no easy task. It was discovered that as an
aircraft entered the transonic speed range (750 mph at sea level) it
experienced a sharp rise in drag, caused mainly by skin friction. It was
Richard T. Whitcomb, NACA scientist who, by using a unique transonic
wind tunnel, discovered the solution to this drag problem and advanced
the now famous area-rule concept of design.
The design employed by supersonic aircraft now includes a thin,
sweptback wing and a streamlined fuselage, pinched at the point where

wings and fuselage meet. Such a design gives the aircraft a "coke
bottle" shape which offers minimum resistance to pressure drag.
One of the most important technical advances resulting from the
area-rule design was the discovery that wings and fuselage must
be designed together for best aircraft performance. The new
concept boosted military aircraft performance by 25%.

Now we are on the threshold of the "thermal" barrier, encountered at
aircraft speeds of 2000 mph. This is a point in the high speed range
where both pilot and plane can burn up. The reason is this: the faster
an aircraft travels in the earth's atmosphere the greater the heat
generated by the friction of the air over its surface. The greater the
heat, the greater the loss of strength in structural materials. Aluminum,
for example, cannot be used in high speed aircraft because at sea

level speeds just under 1000 mph it will soften and warp. The plastics
used for cockpit hoods and radomes lose their shape at speeds of 800
mph sea level. At 1600 mph, today's engine fuels boil; the combustion
products in the newer and more powerful jet engines become highly
destructive; and metals lining the walls of compression chambers are
put to severe tests of endurance.
At the same time engines must be developed with sufficient thrust to
counteract the effects of the high altitude's thin air on the weight and
drag of the airplane. Thrust and speed can be increased by increasing
the operating temperature of the power plant. But what materials can
be used to prevent the engine from burning itself up when the engine
temperature reaches 2000°F? It’s a tough problem in metallurgy. In the
meantime, as combat planes reach higher and higher speeds, the
cooling ducts installed under, around, and behind the pilot must be
made more and more powerful to prevent him from being roasted.

The Thermal Problem and Engine Operation
Beating the heat barrier as it affects fuels, as well as engines, aircraft
and missile structures is one of the important problems of research.
Researchers are working on two different types of fuels. One called
"exotic" is a non-hydrocarbon fuel in which chemicals such as boron,
hydrogen, and lithium are used. Another called "slurry" is a suspension
of powdered metal in a liquid solution. Coolants like ammonia are used
to help obtain greater thrust from jet fuels without burning combustion
To meet the problem of high engine speed lubrication and wear,
synthetic lubricants have been found to be superior to petroleum oils
because of their higher range of operating temperatures (up to 1000°F).
Transpiration* cooling is being used experimentally to keep down the
temperatures of turbine walls exposed to hot gas streams. Also, porous
metal used for aircraft skin can be caused to sweat by pumping
coolants through its pores. Turbine blades made of nickel-base alloys
have heal resisting quality superior to those made of other high
temperature alloys.
It has also been found that by increasing the quantities of titanium,
molybdenum, and chromium and decreasing that of aluminum, these

*Transpiration means to emit or leak a fluid through a porous substance.

nickel-based alloys can be strengthened to withstand temperatures
of 2000"F. Steady progress also is being made to devise various
ceramic coatings for protecting metals from heat corrosion.
However, some researchers believe that the solution of the thermal
problem lies in a combination of ceramics and metals (cermets).
Other High-Speed Problems
While solutions to the problems of supersonic heat are being sought,
greater aircraft power is being developed at an increasing pace,
giving rise to other kinds of pressing problems. These concern the
effects of high speed on aircraft structural components and introduce
new technical problem terms like fatigue cracks, aeroelastic vibration,
flutter, buffeting, and wing dropping. When an aircraft flies at twice the
speed of sound, wind blasts set up vibrations in structures so intense
that the plane may fly wildly out of control or the wings may rip off
At these speeds fatigue cracks develop and continued pressure will
cause pressurized fuselages to blow up with the force of a
catastrophic explosion.
Aeroelastic vibrations can be reduced by using stubby wings of
reduced size. Thinner wings are used to help ward off shock waves.
Such changes in design make some of today's research planes look
like projectiles or missiles. The new shapes, however, still do not
solve all the problems.
The lack of stability in pilotless rocket aircraft, long a problem, is being
investigated with renewed vigor as a result of certain encouraging
tests. It has been found that considerable aircraft instability can be
eliminated by locating the center of gravity of the rocket engine
propellant at the center of gravity of the aircraft and conveying the jet
exhaust to the rear of the plane through exhaust pipes.
To find the answers to such aerodynamic problems as vibration and
instabilily, elaborate testing facilities must be employed to create the
actual conditions aircraft and missiles encounter at supersonic
fly the use of such facilities scientists can obtain the data necessary
from which to discover solutions to the perplexing problems created
by high speeds.

Before research can obtain needed data if must build wind tunnels
capable of generating air speeds from 2000 to 4000 mph. It must
construct altitude chambers which will duplicate air pressures found
between 8 and 15 miles above the earth's surface and temperatures from
200°F above zero to 100°F below. Research must design instruments to
study the effects of heat on metal in 3000°F temperatures--for this is the
temperature that would be generated by an actual plane or missile
moving at 4500 mph through the atmosphere at sea level.
Such lest facilities are just as necessary in today's battle for air
supremacy as actual weapons because both man and machine are
subject to the extreme conditions these testing devices are able to create,
and ways must be found to permit both man and machine to survive


The Magnitude of the Air Education Problem

The outcome of the struggle for air supremacy depends upon the
quality of the machines of the air. But to an even greater degree it
depends upon the quality of the education and training received by
both those who develop and operate the machine, and those for
whom the machines are operated. We comment upon the fact that it
takes eight years to bring an aircraft from the drawing board stage to
the testing stage of development. We appear to forget that it takes
eighteen years for a young man or young woman to reach maturity.
And, that an air age demands, during this period of growth, an
education which differs greatly from that of the horse and buggy era.
The problems of air education overshadow all air power problems.
For, the solution of these other air power problems depends upon
whether or not disciplined intelligence can be brought to bear upon
them. All three major areas of education—the professional, the
technical, and the general--help solve air power problems. Education
at the professional level produces aeronautical scientists and
engineers. That the need for these currently exists is pointed up by
the fact that they are in such short supply that one industry competes
with another to secure their services.
Experimentation by scientifically inclined young men brought the
airplane into being. Men trained in science and research in later years
refined the achievements of these earlier inventors. Until recently the
course of such developments in aviation was left to chance. Today,
however, we are confronted by a situation that requires the concerted
planning, the creative imagination, and the coordinated energies of
many trained people.
Education at the technical level provides the man power to operate
our air power. That the need exists for technically trained personnel is
demonstrated by the fact that aviation has become the nation's
largest industry. It employs almost one million men and women.
Moreover, the needs of military air power require the service of
another million.
These millions need technical training which in most instances
consumes a considerable period of time. The aircraft today is a highly
complex machine. Only skilled operators can master its complexities.

Education at the general-education level (aviation education) is
concerned with the aviation attitudes and understandings that the
average air age citizen should develop. That the need exists in the
aviation education area is typified by the negative attitudes which
many hold toward air bases or airports located near their
communities. It is reflected in the periodic turnover of Air Force
personnel. It can be emphasized by the lack of general
understanding of the impacts of the airplane upon our way of life.
The Role of Formal Education in Aviation
Education has been defined as a process that brings about changes
in one's behavior. The men who invented the airplane were
educated (in some instances self-educated); through their changed
behavior a way was found for man to fly. Aviation has gained its
present prominence because of the change in behavior of those
who once used surface transportation but now use air
Education is learning; and learning is gained through experience
and at the expense of time. It took time for us to learn that the
nation's air power depends upon a strong aircraft industry, a strong
civil air transport system, an adequate system of airport and air
bases, and an effective research and development program.
As a nation we have become convinced that our national security
depends upon an air strength second to that of no other nation. It
follows that we must take a course of action that will achieve this
This implies education and training of the millions whose technical
skills, understandings, and emotions are involved in doing the work
such a course of action requires. Formal education must be
recruited to assist with the task.
You have learned that the aircraft manufacturing industry of this
country has in the past suffered from instability. You realize the
effect of this instability upon the careers of those individuals
employed by the the aircraft industry. You have learned the
relationship of a strong aircraft industry to our national security.
Two parts are played by education in the aircraft industry drama.
One of these is to administer the kind of general education needed
so that the general public and its representatives in Congress will
remain convinced of the need for a stable aircraft industry. The other
is to administer the kind of special education that will provide trained
You hove learned that the air transportation industry is considered
so important to our national defense and economy, that the federal
government both exercises federal control over it and in some

instances subsidizes its operations. You have also learned that the
airlines cooperate closely with military air transport services, that each
shares information with the other to their mutual advantage, and that
the airlines hold an air fleet of 325 aircraft in readiness for use by
military aviation should an emergency arise.
Again education performs two tasks in the interests of the airlines.
It helps inform youth and the adult public of the importance of civil
airline operation to the goals of air power. It helps prepare those who
seek airline careers.
Many of the operational problems of the U. S. Air Force are similar to
those of the airlines. Certainly, formal education needs to help the
general public understand the U. S. Air Force, its missions, and its
need to patrol the air space above our notion. Formal education also
helps youth understand that military aviation not only provides a
training ground for those seeking careers in civil aviation, but also
provides aviation career opportunities. Moreover, it trains its youth in
those essentials which become the basis for more advanced aviation
You have learned of the need for a national airport program.
Obviously, the operation of such a program calls for engineers and
skilled workmen—individuals trained in our professional and technical
Of greater importance to the introduction of such a program in many
communities is an education which will bring their citizens to
understand both the importance of an adequate airport to the nation's
welfare and its value to a community's prosperity.
You have learned of the importance of air research and development,
of the progress being made in this field, and of the great research
projects underway. These efforts are carried on by educated men.
Often the project that employs them is administered by a university for
the role of education in research is a major role.
Schools and colleges generally recognize a responsibility toward the
special education requirements of aviation. Less often do they
recognize a responsibility toward the general education requirements
of aviation. Consequently, the aviation education movement has not
spread among schools and colleges as rapidly as appears desirable.
Aviation is a new science. It took many years for people to recognize
the practical value of the airplane. It is not surprising that the need to
teach its sociological implications has not yet been fully recognized.
However, the recognition of the need for a program of expanded
aviation education cannot be delayed. Until free men come to
understand the nature of the air age and change their behavior
accordingly, the continuation of our way of life is threatened.

Mervin K. Strickler, Jr.
Director of Aviation Education
Charles W. Webb
Assistant Director of Aviation Education
Harold E. Mehrens
Chief, Editorial and Curriculum Division
William E. Rowland Chief, Audio Visual
Training Aids Division
Charles J. Wood
Asst. Chief, Visual Training Aids Division

Everet E. Collins, North Central
Region S. Edward Corbin, Great
Lakes Region Monroe L. Hatch.
Middle East Region Arthur I. Marlin,
Southwestern Region Victor E.
Moore. Northeastern Region John
M. Ogle. Rocky Mountain Region
John E, Sims, Southeastern Region
John V. Sorenson, Pacific Region


Emmett A. Betts
Director, Betts Reading Clinic
Willis C. Brown
Specialist for Aviation Education Division of
State and Local School Systems Office of
Leslie A. Bryan
Director. Institute of Aviation
University of Illinois
John H. Furbay
Air World Education
Trans World Airlines, Inc.
George N. Gardner
Superintendent, Educational Services Pan
American World Airways System John L.
Associate Professor
University of California
Department of Business Administration
Dawson C. McDowell
Director, Institute of Tropical Meteorology
University of Puerto Rico
Merlyn McLauqhlin, Lt. Col., U~AF 58
Gruber Street
Des Haines, Iowa
Raymond O. Mertes
Director, School and College Service
United Air Lines
Kenneth E. Newland
Occupation Division
Stephens College

Willoughby E. Sams Consultant Aviation
California State Department of Education

Harry C. Schmid
State Director
Vocational Division
Department of Education State
of Minnesota
Frank E. Sorenson Professor
of Education Teachers College
The University of Nebraska
Roland Ft. Spaulding
Professor in Education in
Charge of Aeronautical
Education New York University
School of Education Parker
Van Zandt International Staff.
Paul A. Wilkinson
Denver Public Schools
Harry Zaritsky
AudioVisual Division
Naval Medical School National
Naval Medical Center
Jordan L. Larson
Superintendent of Schools
Mount Vernon, New York

Martin R. Walsh, Jr. Lt. Col. USAF
Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations and Training
Joseph H. Griffith, Jr., Lt. Col., USAF
Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations and
Alva E. Conner, Lt. Col., USAF
Director of Operations

Joseph T. McCarthy. Major, USAF Chief, Senior
William B. Bush, Jr., Major. USAF Chief, Cadet
Seymour E. Latham, Major, USAF
Director of Training
John W. Scott, Captain, USAF
Director of Communications