The Flight Operations crew stands before a Republic P-47G Thunderbolt at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio. The laboratory’s Flight Research Section was responsible for conducting a variety of research flights. During World War II most of the test flights complemented the efforts in ground-based facilities to improve engine cooling systems or study advanced fuel mixtures. The Republic P–47G was loaned to the laboratory to test NACA modifications to the Wright R–2800 engine’s cooling system at higher altitudes.
The laboratory has always maintained a fleet of aircraft so different research projects were often conducted concurrently. The flight research program requires an entire section of personnel to accomplish its work. This staff generally consists of a flight operations group, which includes the section chief, pilots and administrative staff; a flight maintenance group with technicians and mechanics responsible for inspecting aircraft, performing checkouts and installing and removing flight instruments; and a flight research group that integrates the researchers’ experiments into the aircraft. The staff at the time of this March 1944 photograph included 3 pilots, 16 planning and analysis engineers, 36 mechanics and technicians, 10 instrumentation specialists, 6 secretaries and 5 computers.