Air Corps Library NAA document preservation questions

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Staff Sergeant
Nov 3, 2022
Mansfield, Ohio, USA
One, I know that they probably don't have (at least a lot) of period photographs, but they do have a lot of documents that were saved from likely destruction from North American's World War II era stuff (multiple P-51 variants, multiple B-25 variants, and it seems also a significant amount of P/F-82 and AT-6 technical documents and plans). These are mostly original, in-era handmade illustrations and plans.

As someone who's interested in such info, has anyone gotten an membership to their library, and is it worth it?

And two, to follow on from a bit of a discussion in a thread about P-51/F-82 books and photos, does anyone know if (especially the technical plans that they're trying to digitize) have had copies sent to Boeing for their archives? I was told by drgondog that he and his co-authors and contributors sent at least copies of a lot of their stuff (photos, technical documents, etc) were sent to Boeing after their book on the P-51B was completed. I'm wondering if Air Corps has or is considering doing the same.

And at least with both Air Corps and Boeing it does seem that such materials are in safe hands. Because, yes, trying to source stuff from Boeing is a pain (price and they don't really give or sell stuff to people unless they're planning on making a published work--same with BAe and other companies), at least Boeing are trying to preserve their (and North American's and Douglas/McDonnell/McDonnell Douglas') heritage from that period. It was pretty much only fate that kept Rockwell from throwing away or destroying those items that Air Corps has now.
I've had a membership with Air Corps Library for about 7 years. If you need that kind of information I think it's definitely worth it, especially if you're interested in multiple airframes. I couldn't do what I'm doing without access to this information. If you only need info on one airframe, perhaps not? In that case if you could find a set of drawings/manuals on disc that might be the way to go.

To your second question I have no idea. However as much as I hear about the difficulty in getting information from Boeing, at this point I'd rather Air Corps Library have information. At least you can get access to it.

There are gaps in what Air Corps Library has available as that depends on what they can get. The quality of scans can vary which depends on source materials. On drawings for the B-17 for example, scans for G models are good. Scans for earlier models like B, C, or D not as much. Seems like the microfilm was heavily scratched/damaged.

I don't think ACL has a photograph archive available but they do have a wide range of documents available, such as AN Standards and BAC Standards, and other vendor components, which will be noted in drawings but not detailed.

If you have any other questions I'm happy to answer what I can. Air Corps Library's Librarian, Ester Aube, is also very helpful.
As I mentioned, I know that in 2019 they got a lot of documents (namely technical illustrations) that were save from North American's old factory in Columbus before Rockwell destroyed or got rid of them. Reportedly, they ranged from the NA-16 (precursor to the T-6), though the F-100A Super Sabre. And due to the physical size of some of these documents (some over 10 feet long) and the sheer volume of them, they probably haven't digitized all of them, probably not even a fraction of them relatively speaking, and they wanted to start with the P-51 first.

But I do wonder if they do have like SAC documents for such aircraft or other testing that NAA might have done of the late Mustang and Twin Mustang (especially Merlin powered) variants.
As of this post there's not a lot online for Twin Mustang (Basic Weight Check List, Flight Operating Instructions).
I'm not seeing anything for NA-16 nor F-100. Of course this speaks nothing to documents they have but have not digitized yet.

P-51 there's a slew of Short T.O.s, construction drawings, and quite a few documents (circuit diagrams, erection & maintenance, structural repair instructions...).
The only documents I see for "test" are Flight Test Performance Data - P-51B.

It might be worth reaching out to them and asking specifics.
Ester is on vacation at the moment. Their collection was essential for me to fill in the blanks between the Smithsnian collection and the real world total Mustang Docs. I have donated quite a bit to them, including Performance Calc reports for P-51b/D & H as well as the complete manual FSB73-95 to modify P-51B to install 85 gal fuse tanks. They are good folks.
I wonder if they helped with the XP-82/P-82B if that's still planned on being part of the second volume P-51 book? I know that they have manuals and maybe SAC documents for it (and the Allison versions) and it seems items from those saved production/technical illustrations (probably haven't gotten around to working on those yet, though).

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