KAMU, Texas A&M University’s public broadcasting station, interviewed the wind tunnel director, Dr. Edward White, and current graduate student Grace Mainka regarding LSWT history and current work with students and industry.
“All of the World War II veterans at the A&M College Easterwood Airport wind tunnel aren’t the two-legged human variety. One of the is a big hunk of precision built metal. The propeller used to drive the giant tunnel is one of the four which were on the Enola Gay, the B-29 which dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese. The four-bladed prop was given to the college by the U.S. Air Force. It came from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base museum. These four props were especially built to power the atom bomb carrier. The whereabouts of the other three is not known. When the Air Force found out what sort of prop the wind tunnel people were looking for, they discovered the Enola Gay museum piece fit the requirements perfectly. So now, a piece of aviation equipment which helped mark the end of one deadly, but fast moving, era of air progress, is helping pioneer the aviation industry’s future growth. The big closed circuit wind tunnel was completed late in 1958. Employees of the Engineering Extension Service and the Aggie Aero Department spent almost a year and a half calibrating the facility before they were ready to begin testing. Only two series of tests have been run thus far in the half-million dollar unit, one for Howard Aero of San Antonio and one for Temco. Temco made a $180,000 grant to help build the tunnel. Before the construction of the big closed circuit tunnel, the lab had an open circuit tunnel built in 1945-46. The present lab employs a permanent staff of six, including two engineers. Head of the overall operation is A. D. Cronk, head of the aero department. Cronk supervises the lab for the Engineering Extension Service.”