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Melvin N. Gough Papers, 1919-1971 (Ms1987-057)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms1987-057


  • 1919 - 1971


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from the Melvin N. Gough Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Biographical Information

Melvin N. Gough was born in Washington, D. C., in 1906. He received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 1926. In the same year he began a long career with the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in Hampton, Virginia. From 1926 to 1958, Gough was successively an engineer, a test pilot (he was commissioned as a naval aviator in 1929), Chief Test Pilot, and Chief of Flight Research at NACA-Langley.

When the NACA became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, Gough transferred to Cape Canaveral, where he was Director of NASA Operations at the Atlantic Missile Range for two years. In 1960, he became Director of the Bureau of Safety for the Civil Aeronautics Board. From 1962 to 1964 he was Director of Aircraft Development of the Federal Aviation Agency, retiring from government service in 1964. He died on March 6, 1994.

Gough's professional organization memberships include the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (of which he was a Fellow) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (also a Fellow). He served on the Board of Governors of the Flight Safety Foundation and was a charter member of the Society of Air Safety Investigators. He received the Octave Chanute Award for Test Pilots from the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in 1941 for "outstanding contributions in the field of aeronautics"; the Distinguished Service Award from the Flight Safety Foundation in 1956 for "distinguished service in achieving safer utilization of aircraft"; and the Flight Safety Foundation's Laura Taber Barbour Award in 1960 for championing "through unstinting personal activity the cause of flight safety." For his contributions to aeronautical history, Gough was elected to the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

The Melvin N. Gough Papers were donated to Special Collections in 1987.

Related Material

no content

General Physical Description note

22 boxes; 22.0 cu. ft.


The Melvin N. Gough collection spans from 1919 to 1971 and includes a wide variety of materials reflecting Gough's career as a test pilot, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) administrator, and flight safety investigator. Types of materials include NACA and Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD) reports and documents, articles, correspondence, notes and speeches, and newspaper and magazine clippings.


The Melvin N. Gough collection spans from 1919 to 1971 and includes a wide variety of materials reflecting Gough's career as a test pilot, NACA administrator, and flight safety investigator. It is especially rich in materials from his years at Langley and equally rich on the topics of aviation safety and accident investigation procedures.

The papers are organized largely according to Gough's own filing system, and there is some degree of overlap in the contents of folders. Many of the folders include manuscript materials and other items such as magazine articles and newspaper clippings. The NACA reports and other documents that are individually listed include manuscript annotations, correspondence, or other items that make them unique. Documents published before 1930 are also listed individually, whether they have manuscript items associated with them or not. Other NACA reports and miscellaneous publications are arranged chronologically. NACA reports are usually grouped by year; other publications are grouped by decade.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Melvin N. Gough Papers commenced and was completed in 1990.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US