Whitcomb, Richard

Whitcomb, Richard (Travis)

(1921–  ) aeronautical engineer; born in Evanston, Ill. While associated with the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory (1943–58) he vastly improved American supersonic aircraft with development of his "wasp-waist" plane that allowed for a minimum of drag in the transonic speed range. Heading the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Transonic Aerodynamics Board (1958–80), he became a research associate at Langley (1980).