A picture of Representative Ralph M. Hall
Ralph H.
Former Republican TX 4
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    Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range Designation Act

    by Former Representative Ralph M. Hall

    Posted on 2013-02-25

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    HALL. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Mr. McCarthy for reintroducing this bill to redesignate NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, which is co-located with Edwards Air Force Base in California, as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center. This bill, H.R. 667, would also rename the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.

    Neil Armstrong, everybody will say--and it's so true, he needs absolutely no introduction--people know who Neil Armstrong is. He covered the country. He has given of his time. He's an American hero, and he is one who never took personal credit for his accomplishments. Anytime he was speaking about the success of the Apollo 11 mission, he always gave recognition to the teams of engineers, technicians, and scientists at NASA and the industry. He was quiet, thoughtful, and deliberate, choosing his words carefully, whether testifying before a congressional committee, giving a speech, or sharing a moment with a friend.

    {time} 1720 Last May of this year, I was honored to have Neil, along with General Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan, visit Rockwall, Texas, my hometown in Texas, and address graduating high school seniors from the area's public schools and private schools. Neil spoke to a packed auditorium of seniors and their families and then generously took time for photos with all the graduating classes. This was such a magnanimous gesture on his side and yet typical of his commitment to inspiring other generations of students to pursue fields in science, space, and technology. These Rockwall County students and their families will remember his visit forever, and this was made even more meaningful when Neil passed away just a few months later and when I received a letter from him 3 days after he died.

    Naming the Dryden Flight Center after Neil is very appropriate. After graduating from college, he joined NASA's predecessor agency, the National Advisory Council on Aeronautics, and soon found himself at NASA's High-Speed Flight Station located at Edwards, which would in time become the Dryden Flight Research Center. They were both great friends. He spent 7 years there flying a variety of new-design and high-performance aircraft, including the seven flights at the control of the X-15.

    Naming the Western Aeronautical Test Range after Dr. Hugh L. Dryden is also appropriate. Dr. Dryden, as a close friend of Neil's, held the position of Director of the National Advisory Council of Aeronautics from 1947 until it was renamed NASA in 1958, then served as Deputy Director of NASA until his death in 1965. He pioneered research of airfoils near the speed of sound and the problems of airflow and turbulence. He greatly contributed to the designs of wings for aircraft, including the P-51 Mustang and other World War II aircraft.

    H.R. 667 honors the life and legacy of two great Americans: Neil Armstrong and Dr. Hugh Dryden.

    With that, I urge Members to support this bill.

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