Rarely is a reader exposed to such an extraordinary, multifaceted presentation of aerospace technology as Bob Brulle narrates in this book. After returning from duty as a combat fighter pilot in World War II, this Belgian immigrant developed a multitalented and innovative aerospace career path that addressed many of the aerospace professions. Along the way he forged a career in the aviation and space field that resulted in his participating in several of the most momentous aerospace achievements of the past century. He also expanded his education through hard work to a level at which he was qualified to teach graduate-level aerospace engineering courses. It is interesting to follow how the analysis and design techniques of aerospace vehicles progressed over the years, which incidentally reveals the large role that the computer played in making that possible. The story on the early Cape Canaveral operations was amusing and showed that enterprising innovations played a large role in a successful undertaking. Some of the projects described were a surprise, as I had never heard of them, like reading how a pencil-shaped missile was built that could fly and maneuver over an intercontinental distance at a high hypersonic velocity. He also described how American engineers and scientists fought the Cold War battle for technological supremacy on their desks and in their laboratories. The initiatives by which this enterprising engineer develops his technical approach to a project are very informative and offer the reader an insight into the workings of successful operations. He achieves an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how aerospace history is made by weaving in the historical significance of these projects as they are developed. As a former aeronautical engineer at the rapidly growing Mc- Donnell Aircraft Corporation, Bob gives us an interesting exposure to the importance of top management's relationship with the workforce in a successful company. "Mr. Mac" made it a point to make all his employees team members by frequent communication and friendly association.
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About the Author
Lt Col Robert V. Brulle, USAF, retired, was born in Belgium and immigrated with his parents to America in 1929 when he was six years old. He grew up in the Chicago area and became a P-47 fighter pilot in the US Army Air Force during World War II, flying 70 combat missions in Europe. Following the war, he acquired a bachelor of science degree from Aeronautical University in Chicago in 1948 and a master of science degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in 1952, both in aeronautical engineering. He began PhD studies at Ohio State University while teaching at AFIT but never completed the degree. He returned to active duty in the Air Force, where his assignments ranged from a junior engineer to a weapons system project officer to an assistant professor of aeronautical engineering at AFIT. Colonel Brulle left active duty in 1957 and joined McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri, where he researched and designed aircraft, missiles, spaceflight vehicles, and novel alternative-energy wind and water current turbines. During the Gemini manned orbiter program, he was appointed to the NASA Spaceflight Committee as a member of the Trajectory and Orbits, Guidance and Control, Rendezvous, and Abort Panels. While working at McDonnell, he also taught as an adjunct associate professor of mechanical engineering for the University of Missouri Graduate Engineering Center in St. Louis. He was licensed as a professional engineer in Missouri and Ohio, holds two US patents, and maintained membership in numerous professional organizations. Retiring to southern Florida in 1988, Colonel Brulle has since published about a dozen aviation and historical articles in various magazines. His first book, Angels Zero-P-47 Close Air Support in Europe, was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 2000. Many of the numerous technical manuals he has authored are listed in the bibliography of this text. He was married for 60 years to his late wife, Margaret, and has four children.