THE aerodynamic sessions of this year's Annual Meeting were not quite as dramatic as in some preceding years. But how can such sessions remain always at the highest pitch Aeroplane designers have broken through the sonic barrier and aerodynamicists now understand far better compressibility effects and supersonics. One cannot expect every year a startling announcement of the kind that von Krmn used to make, that the drag coefficient would actually drop in supersonic flight, or that camber contributes nothing to lift at the highest speeds. This intellectual calm is only temporary. Rocket flight at a hundred miles altitude where molecules become individuals will bring tine new problems. So will the design of artifificial satellites. But for the time being, research men and engineers must present papers that dig deep but do not strike out into new territory. Also it is barely possible that there is another reason for the less exciting character of the aerodynamic papersthe word Restricted. For example, in one session it appeared that the fuel consumption of a jetpropelled helicopter is still restricted information. To mark things Restricted or Confidential can become a tiresome habit. However, there was no lack of the striking in other directions. What, for example, could be more intriguing than a session entitled Human Engineering in Aviation Aeronautics is not all a matter of physics, mathematics, design and innumerable gadgets. It is more than fitting that psychologists, teachers, physicians should play their part and make the life of the pilot an easier one. Of course, the engineers do occasionally develop gadgets that help the pilot, as witness the remarkable Sperry Zero Reader discussed in the Instruments Session, and AirBorne Radar Air Transport Session that seems to be coming into its own.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 1, 1949