This wind tunnel complex was developed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NASA's predecessor) to serve the emerging need for supersonic research and development following World War II. The three-testing-section configuration covers Mach number .03-3.5 and utilizes a single common drive and two compressors.
Late in life, the renowned structural engineer Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) embarked on aeronautical research. Reliable data and repeatable research methods were rare in the early 1900s, but Eiffel brought an engineer's discipline to the field. In the process, he produced the most accurate aeronautical data of the time, confirmed a long-held theory about fluid flow that had never been unequivocally proven, and established a laboratory that became a model for future practice.