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NACA Inspections

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)’s elaborate Inspections were an opportunity to brief representatives from the military, aeronautical industry, universities, and the press on the NACA’s latest research efforts and its state-of-the-art test facilities.


Congress created the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1915 to coordinate the Nation’s aeronautical research. The committee established the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1920 to conduct research of its own. In the 1920s the NACA began holding annual industry conferences to connect the Nation’s military, government, university, and industry aeronautical community with the work being performed at Langley. NACA researchers gave presentations on their efforts as the visitors toured the test facilities. The conferences were suspended at the onset of World War II.

At that time the NACA also added two new research sites: the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory and the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory. The conferences, now referred to as “Inspections,” resumed in 1946 as multiday events at all three laboratories. The Inspections were very important to the NACA, and great efforts were expended to ensure they were carried out flawlessly. Every detail of the visit was thoroughly planned—from the research presentations and the tour schedules to the cigarette breaks and lunch. The NACA Inspections always received rave reviews.

The Inspection planning materials—including invitation lists, schedules, correspondence, transcripts of the talks, and photographs of the exhibits and charts—were then collected and bound in a single volume that was permanently stored in the Lewis library. This Web site is designed to share these materials from the majority of the Inspections. The Glenn Research Center created the site in 2015 to mark the NACA’s Centennial.