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Jack Norris, a Biography

Jack, easy and friendly, a pilot, a skier, a broad technical expert in aerodynamics and controls, a management consultant with broad interests and knowledge, even the psychology of the successfully creative person, who gets it right, an expert on how our economy was soundly managed until the later 90’s, the disastrous mistakes.   He's truly a man for all seasons.   Jack is clearly one of the most knowledgeable, thoroughly proven, broadly creative experts of the last half century, with leading edge products the world over.

Proven as the best business creator his original corporation had ever seen, he was assigned to go help the corporation’s new controls division grow.  In the first year, Jack sold the manual maneuvering rocket controller for Project Mercury, set up a corporate business interchange treaty with the Canadian government, and the Canadian aircraft industry, and then led the creation of the complex, must never fail, Boeing 727 Roll Servo Control package, then set up the takeover of all Boeing 737 Primary Flight Controls.

Assigned to create a new West Coast Division, Jack picked up his wife and three small kids, and attacked LA, starting from scratch.   He found, built a team, ran past all the local established companies, and created what became the leading designer, manufacturer of the many demanding fluid control components for the maneuvering rocket systems for our manned space program.   His products were central in the maneuvering rocket systems on all Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo flights, the milestones all in the Milestones of Flight Gallery, the Central Hall of our Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  He has more key products on more projects there – 107 - than anyone in the history of flight.

Getting started, working with Walt Disney personally, Jack led his nascent organization in creating the lifelike motion of Abe Lincoln, and the Pirates of the Caribbean, at Disneyland, launching Disney’s now world wide Audioanimatronics.

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It all started from Jack’s fascination with flight as a child.   Soon a competition model builder, then a leading designer of all types of competition models, Jack mastered flight design.  Competition models had more thrust than weight and had to fly themselves, not crash.   So, while a teenager, Jack designed out the graveyard spiral dive that still kills in our personal planes.  Testing his way through roughly 300 competition props, Jack proved conclusively that tapered tip props significantly out climbed, and went faster than the WW II style broad tip professional designs.   Jack twice won the National Championships in his senior age division (under 21), made two world speed records, won over 100 trophies, and innumerable local and national competitions, before his engineering education took over his time.   Jack also won two flying courses, in college bought a (now) classic plane that he still has, to fly to his USAF job.

He joined his older modeler friends, who were pilots in WW II, in an Air National Guard B 26 Squadron.  He was shooting landings in their dual control B 26 Invader at 76 hours.  When Jack had completed 4 years of a 5 year dual degree engineering program the squadron was activated for the Korean War.  He joined the USAF ROTC, was allowed to finish his degree and was commissioned in the USAF the day he graduated.   A great education, superior experience, he was sent to Wright Field.  Six months out of college, he was leading The Aircraft Lab team at all the many USAF Mock Up and Engineering Inspections, 1951-53, of the many new generation, leading edge USAF planes: F 100, 102, secret 103, 104, B 57, B 66, L 19, T 34, C 119 H, H 21, many more.   His responsibilities spanned aerodynamics, structures, flight controls, landing gears, and cockpit design.   Working with all the top industry and USAF pros, Jack could have any next step industry job he chose.

He chose the leading landing gear and controls corporation, an industry technical leader.  Jack purposely, initially chose a manufacturing engineering job in the shop, saving very costly landing gear components with manufacturing errors.  The reason: In a year he had an expert grasp of advanced stress analysis, engineering design, manufacturing, metallurgy, heat treating, plating, and processing.   Given the job of readying the Field Service Department for the commercial jet age, Jack promptly organized all company product problems for better understanding and elimination.  Putting the company into landing gear overhaul, a new division, he increased the company business by 80% over 4 years - then, on to the controls division for Boeing Jet, and Spacecraft Controls!

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Jack’s first consulting client wanted to understand the business cycle.   Digging, expert at getting to the bottom of things, he soon saw exactly how and when the Federal Reserve was managing the US, and world economies, readily made himself financially independent, could work on whatever interested him most.

Among his extensive consulting work for clients, he created the primary method of seismic protection for the majority of the free world’s pressurized water reactor nuclear power plants, showed the Navy how to stop the unacceptable 40 GPM max propeller shaft seal leakage on our advanced nuclear submarines.  Using his knowledge of psychology, he taught corporate executives how to identify the best open minded, creative engineers, those who are creative and also get it right.  These are a few examples of his broad insight.

An expert on aerodynamics and flight, Jack was Technical Director - Mission Control on the 1986 world flight of the Voyager.   He predicted the route, tailwind speed, and fuel burn with amazing accuracy in the final computer result.

Jack developed the first really complete aerodynamic data on flying propeller airplanes, accurate drag and power curves, but very significant, the first accurate overall propulsion efficiency, on a flying propeller plane by inventing Zero Thrust Glide Testing, effectively making the propeller disappear, thus simply solving an 85 year problem.   He was a director of the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency organization – CAFE, a pioneering test foundation.

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After his model propeller development, having waited a half century for someone else to incisively, correctly explain propellers and their optimum design, Jack and his old college friend, who had become Dr. Andy Bauer, one of the core aerodynamicists at Douglas Long Beach, decided to take on propellers as the ultimate intellectual challenge in aerodynamics -- and as a “give back” for a great, rewarding life at the leading edge.  Going through essentially everything of significance ever done in propellers, a decade long retirement challenge that would have been a $1,000,000+ program at professional rates, good work was rewarded.   They found the rare genius work of the 7 historic masters, ultimately exactly finished by Betz, Goldstein & Theodorsen!  Jack realized it could be used to create all 6 ways perfect, unbeatable propellers.  They did all the necessary computer programming and professional studies.  Propellers, always the most complex mystery in flight and aerodynamics, are now reduced to the incisive, insightful, understandable grasp of what is happening physically.   It’s all bull’s-eye, practical insight that you can understand, their gift for everyone who wants to understand.   That understanding, in sequence, took 10 lifetime professionals, and 142 years!

In college, awarded membership in Pi Tau Sigma, and Tau beta Pi, honorary engineering fraternities, “Propellers” was the 11th time Jack has created the leading edge in flight, and other fields!   What is the core skill in a creative career like this?   Jack says it can all start by stopping violently powered competition models from crashing!   You have to develop the incisive insight to see right through to the very basics on how things work.   It works for models, leading edge planes, spacecraft, how a national economy is creatively managed, or destroyed.   Laughing, but serious, now with propellers, Jack has 9 Laws, all valid.   You’ll find all 6 Propeller Laws in the book: 5 through 9.