William Hewitt Phillips Autobiography
Scope and Contents
This collection contains an autobiographical typescript draft by William Hewitt Phillips, an aerospace engineer for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and National Air and Space Administration (NASA) at Langley Research Center and chief of the Flight Dynamics and Control Division from 1970 to 1979. The text is a preliminary draft for Phillips' Journey into Aeronautical Research: a Career at NASA Langley Research Center. The manuscript briefly follows Phillips' early life, interest in aviation, and education, then describes in more depth the author's work at NACA. Among the chapter headings are "Problems Encountered as a Result of Wartime Developments," "Accident Investigations," "NACA Flight Research on the Vought F8U-1 Airplane," and "Administration of the Langley Research Center." A final brief chapter, "Dawn of the Space Age," provides background on the formation of NASA in 1958.
- ca. 1995
Language of Materials
The materials in the collection are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (email@example.com or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.
William Hewitt Phillips, known more familiarly as Hewitt Phillips, was born in Merseyside, England, in 1918, but moved with his parents at age two to the United States. He studied aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), obtaining an S. B. degree in 1939 and an S.M. in 1940.
In July 1940, Phillips entered commenced service with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), where he was assigned to the Flight Research Division at Langley Research Center (Hampton, Virginia), specializing in the study of aircraft flying qualities and stability. Within this broader assignment, Phillips' task involved the improvement of World War II military aircraft flying qualities. Following the war, Phillips' research related to the development of jet-powered fighter airplanes, supersonic airplanes, stability augmentation and its effect on pilot control, automatic control, and gust alleviation. In 1947, Phillips had married Viola Ohler, then head of Langley's editorial office. The couple had three children.
As the U. S. space program commenced, Phillips became chief of the Space Mechanics Division, supervising research in the areas of space rendezvous, navigation, and lunar landing and developing flight simulators for the Gemini and Apollo programs. To train astronauts for lunar landings, Phillips developed the Lunar Landing Facility. He later served as an analyst and consultant in the development of the space shuttle.
Phillips retired from NASA in February 1979 but continued in the position of distinguished research associate, performing original research on solar-powered aircraft, propellers, airfoil design and wind-tunnel studies of the use of canard surfaces for the space shuttle.
0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)
The collection contains the autobiography (typescript draft) of William Hewitt Phillips, NACA and NASA Langley Research Center aerospace engineer; chief of Flight Dynamics and Control Division from 1970 to 1979.
Source of Acquisition
The William Hewitt Phillips Autobiography was donated to Special Collections in 1997.
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the William Hewitt Phillips Autobiography by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).
The processing and description of the William Hewitt Phillips Autobiography commenced and was completed in October 2008.
- Aerospace engineers
- Archives of American Aerospace Exploration (AAAE)
- Science and Technology
- United States -- National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics -- Officials and employees
- United States -- National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- Officials and employees
- United States. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
- United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- A Guide to the William Hewitt Phillips Autobiography, ca. 1995
- John M. Jackson
- 2008 (CC0 1.0)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2020-10-21: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
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