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Dryden Publications

The following Dryden Publications are available in PDF format only.

A History of Suction-Type Laminar-Flow Control with Emphasis on Flight Research by Albert L. Braslow
As the title suggests, this study by a noted expert describes the long history of laminar-flow-control research with an emphasis on that done by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and NASA.

Black Magic and Gremlins: Analog Flight Simulations at NASA's Flight Research Center by Gene L. Waltman
This history of the Flight Research Center (FRC) Simulation Laboratory (FSL) describes the development of experimental flight-test simulators and the rapid evolution of the computers that made them run.

Computers Take Flight by James E. Tomayko
This book tells the significant story of the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire project, which pioneered an important new technology that paved the way for use of digital flight control on the F-18, F-16, F-117, B-2, F-22, and Boeing 777 as well as other aircraft. It is a story not just of overcoming technical difficulties but of the people who did so and their triumphs.

Flight Research: Problems Encountered and What They Should Teach Us by Milton O. Thompson
This book is an account of flight research at what became (in 1976) NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center from its early days to 1974 by NASA research pilot and Chief Engineer, Milt Thompson.

Hugh L. Dryden's Career in Aviation and Space by Michael H. Gorn
This is a biography of Hugh L. Dryden from 1898 to 1976, with emphasis on his career with NACA and NASA.

Mach 3+ NASA/USAF YF-12 Flight Research, 1969-1979 by Peter W. Merlin
This book is a comprehensive history of the first major NASA project involving the Lockheed Blackbirds, airplanes capable of flying more than three times the speed of sound at altitudes exceeding 80,000 feet. Conducted with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) as a partner, the NASA-USAF YF-12 research program lasted 10 years, and produced a wealth of data on materials, structures, loads, heating, aerodynamics, and performance for high-speed aircraft.

The Eclipse Project by Tom Tucker
This book provides a readable narrative and a number of documents that record an important flight research effort at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.

The Smell of Kerosene, A Test Pilot's Odyssey by Donald L. Mallick with Peter W. Merlin
This book tells the story of a NASA research pilot who logged over 11,000 flight hours in more than 125 types of aircraft.

The Spoken Word: Recollections of Dryden History The Early Years edited by Curtis Peebles
This monograph contains interviews with former employees about the early years of the Dryden Flight Research Center.

The Story of Self-Repairing Flight Control Systems by James E. Tomayko, edited by Christian Gelzer
Neural-net computer software makes possible self-repairing flight control aircraft systems that can compensate for damage to an aircraft and render it not only flyable, but nearly as controllable as it was before the damage. NASA has played an integral role in the development and airborne testing of these systems, systems which may change the way aircraft are designed, built, tested, and maintained.

Touchdown: The Development of Propulsion Controlled Aircraft at NASA Dryden by Tom Tucker
This monograph tells the story of how a NASA-industry team led by Frank W. Burcham and C. Gordon Fullerton from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center developed a way to land an aircraft safely using only engine thrust to control the airplane.

Toward Mach 2: The Douglas D-558 program edited by J. D. Hunley
This book related the proceedings of a symposium on the history of the Douglas D-558 flight research program and provides a selection of documents relating to that history.

Unconventional, Contrary, and Ugly: The Lunar Landing Research Vehicle by Gene Matranga, Wayne Ottinger, Calvin Jarvis, and Christian Gelzer
This book recounts the conception, development, and refinement of a full-flying training simulator to train astronauts for landing on the moon. The result was not only vital for the astronauts (all of whom credited the vehicle for its realistic simulations), but was also the first truly successful fly-by-wire aircraft, albeit with analog computers.

Publications in Print

The following publications are available through the NASA Dryden Public Affairs Office.

Flights of Discovery by Lane E. Wallace
This history of the first 50 years at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center captures the spirit of the role flight research has played in aeronautical research and development and provides insightful accounts of most of the major flight research projects from 1946 to 1996.

On the Frontier by Richard Hallion
This is an authoritative history of flight Research at Dryden from 1946 to 1981. It contains over 350 pages of text and photographs, including chronologies of flights from the X-1 to the Space Shuttle.

Women in Flight Research at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center from 1946 to 1995 by Sheryll Goecke Powers
This monograph not only provides much information about women involved in (especially early) flight research at what became the Dryden Flight Research Center but also a lot of details about how data was recovered from research flights and about the early history of the Center.

NASA Publications in Print

The following publications are available at for viewing and printing.

Hypersonic Revolution edited by Richard P. Hallion
Excerpted from this book, published by the Air Force History and Museum Program, is the section dealing with the X-15.

Proceedings of the X-15 First Flight 30th Anniversary Celebration of June 8, 1989.
These proceedings include comments by historians, pilots, and others with keen insights on the truly historic X-15 program that bridged aeronautics with astronautics during NASA's first decade.

X-15 Research Results With a Selected Bibliography by Wendell H. Stillwell
This short study, written about half-way through the highly significant X-15 program, provides much valuable information about the airplane and its flight research from 1959 to 1964.