Apollo Milton Olin (A. M. O.) Smith Papers

Apollo Milton Olin Smith (1911-1997), an aircraft designer and engineer known as 'AMO' for most of his life, was born in Columbia, Missouri. He began constructing gliders in high school and earned Masters Degrees in both Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from Caltech in 1938. After graduation, he began work for Douglas Aircraft, where he was to be employed until his retirement in 1975. His work for Douglas included wind tunnel testing of the A-20 bomber, performance analysis of the DC-5 and aerodynamic design of the A-26 light bomber. During a leave of absence from Douglas, he served as first chief engineer of the Aerojet Co. Smith's work in aerodynamics led to his participation in an important post-World War II mission to Germany, which revealed that country's developments in swept-wing design. AMO Smith's subsequent research would make him a leader in aerodynamics, especially regarding his contributions to boundary layer theory. He was the recipient of many honors and awards during his lifetime and was responsible for advances in research involving the use of rocket motors to assist takeoff (JATO) and the design of the D-558 Phase 1 airplane and the F4D Skyray.