Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

William C. Thomas, Jr. (1925-2008) worked for the US Navy for 31 years (1954-1985) where he designed aircraft escape systems (ejection seats, parachute systems and escape capsules.) Thomas facilitated the launch of the initial introduction of Martin-Baker ejection seats in military aircraft, and started efforts to incorporate automatic sequenced ejection in multiplace aircraft. He was the project engineer for the development and incorporation of a supersonic capable ejection seat in the North American A3J-1 (A-5A) Vigilante and was instrumental in the development of the General Dynamics F-111 capsuled escape module. In 1970 he was the founder and chairman of the Emergency Egress Committee; this committee, which was comprised of representatives from the major manufacturers of Navy aircraft, coordinated the development and improvement of escape systems for all Naval aircraft.

Identifier

NASM.2014.0024

Creator

Thomas, William., 1925-2008

Date

bulk 1954-1985

Provenance

Jefferson Thomas, Gift, 2014

Extent

6.5 Cubic feet ((5 boxes))

Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Type

Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Reports

Manuals

Brochures

Photographic prints

16mm motion picture film

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 9 cubic feet of material collected by the donor's father, William Thomas, during his Navy contractor career, 1954-1985. The collection is mostly textual, including reports, manuals, brochures, memorandum, and correspondence; however, the collection also contains 16 mm film and photography. All of the material relates to Thomas' ejection escape systems work for aircraft, primarily for the General Dynamics F-111, the Rockwell B-1 Lancer, and the North American A3J-1 (A-5A) Vigilante.

Genre/Form

Reports

Manuals

Brochures

Photographic prints

16mm motion picture film

Rights

Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests

Topics Aeronautics
Aeronautics, Military
Aircraft industry

Citation

Naval Aircraft Escape Systems Collection [Thomas], Accession 2014-0024, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid