"Black Magic and Gremlins: Analog Flight Simulations
at NASA's Flight Research Center"

Gene L. Waltman, NASA History Division


...            .Actual size is 11 x 8.5-inches

Black Magic and Gremlins: Analog Flight Simulations
at NASA's Flight Research Center

Gene L. Waltman, NASA History Division
NASA Monographs in Aerospace History Number 20

The single most comprehensive  and  complete text ever written about the history of flight simulators.  The book is a first-hand account of the history of the Flight Research Center (FRC) Simulation Laboratory (FSL), describing the development of experimental flight-test simulators and the rapid evolution of the computers that run them.  (The FRC was a predecessor of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.)

A true masterwork that covers every aspect of the design and engineering of NASA's first flight simulators.  From early experiments less than a year after World War II, to the Boolean-logic digital, real-time systems of 2000, this thick book tells their complete history.

If you're interested in serious learning on this topic, here is the one book you'll want in your library.  It collects the decades of experience and knowledge accumulated in military and aerospace development and operational programs. 

The author was one of NASA's leading flight simulation engineers.  The foreword is by Richard E. Day, NASA engineer.  Contents include details about virtually every kind of flight simulation system.  It reviews, in great detail--supported by many exceptional historic photographs--these many topics, and more:

  • Analog simulations
  • Four-stage boost-vehicle simulation
  • X-15 rocket plane simulator
  • General purpose airborne simulation
  • Hybrid simulations
  • Lifting-body simulation systems
  • Short take-off and landing (STOL) simulations
  • Personal accounts of nine FRC Simulation Laboratory engineers and scientists
  • Personal accounts of eight FSL users

The book is  very thick (243 pages, almost an inch!), heavy (one and a half pounds!), and packed with accurate information for the professional (and private) test pilot, aircraft enthusiast, and computer programmer.

There's also a very detailed (4-page) index!  Numerous fine, NASA-quality engineering drawings, graphs, figures, charts, and tables supplement the technical material:

Typical illustrations from the book (smaller than actual size)

 The book shows many very early simulators

Some of the once-secret memos & documents in the book

The book also contains an incredible collection of historic letters, once-secret memorandum, technical notes, and NACA papers.  There's a 4-page glossary of technical terms, and 10 pages of technical references for further study. 

If you design, build, test, or fly airplanes--especially experimental or jet planes--you'll want this superb reference book. 

Very hard to find, this new limited edition has been republished by the Rocket Science Institute.  It's printed with a high-resolution laser printer (not photocopied) on high-quality, bright-white, acid-free paper for years of reference use.  243 pages, large and easy-to-read 11" x 8-1/2" size. 


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