On Tuesday, May 5, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, Robert Doggett Jr. and Thomas Yager will present “Rubber on the Runway – The Aircraft Dynamic Loads Facility” at 2 p.m. in the Pearl Young Theater.

This lecture will provide the inside story of how the one-of-a-kind Aircraft Dynamic Loads Facility (ALDF) was conceived, designed and built in the late 40s and early 50s. Research performed at the facility has led to a number of improvements in landing gear, aircraft tires, runways and highways.

Doggett and Yager will be available to answer questions from the media during a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. that day. Media who wish to do so should contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786, or by e-mail at chris.rink@nasa.gov, by noon on the day of the talk for credentials and entry to the center.

That same evening at 7:30, Doggett and Yager will present a similar program for the general public at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton. This Sigma Series event is free and no reservations are required.

Activities at the ALDF were aimed at improving not only aircraft ground handling performance but also better control of ground vehicles. ALDF testing included a variety of aircraft landing gear tests, development of special ground friction measuring vehicles, better understanding of tire hydroplaning, space shuttle landing gear and runway surface evaluations, and support of aircraft accident investigations.

Langley’s hydroplaning program at the ALDF concluded that the best way to help aircraft tires get a grip was to cut thin grooves into the runway pavement that would let the excess water drain off of the runway. Safety grooving was adopted for use on hundreds of airport runways around the world and on highways, too. Today, every state in the U.S. has grooved at least some of its highway system.

The ALDF is scheduled for demolition in 2015.

Doggett started his NASA career with the agency’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in June 1957 following his graduation from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. He was assigned to the Dynamic Loads Division where he had an almost 38-year career at Langley working in structural dynamics with an emphasis on aeroelasticity.

Yager earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering science from the University of Portland at Portland, Oregon in June 1963, two weeks before starting work at Langley. His career involved many evaluations of aircraft landing gear systems in tests at the ALDF and a variety of aircraft ground handling performance studies. Yager has supported more than 40 aircraft accident investigations when loss of traction was suspected to be a contributing cause.

Both are civil service retirees who maintain an active connection to NASA Langley as Distinguished Research Associates.

For more information about NASA Langley’s Colloquium and Sigma Series Lectures, visit: