In 1930, Bill Milliken designed, built, flew and crashed his own airplane.
Since then he has had a strong interest in vehicle handling problems!
graduating from MIT in 1934, he worked in the aircraft industry for 20
years in analysis, wind tunnel and flight testing, with emphasis on
stability and control. He was assistant head of Flight Test at Boeing
Aircraft during World War II, and was on the first flights of the prototype
XB-29 and several B-17 models.
of Flight Research at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (CAL) he initiated a
program for measuring aircraft dynamics in flight using automatic control
techniques, accomplishing the first frequency response measurements. Also,
as co-inventor of the variable stability aircraft (circa 1948) he was
invloved in pioneering stability augmentation and modern electrohydraulic
flight control systems.
Milliken competed in over 100 post-war road races. He was a founding member
of the Watkins Glen Road Races, serving as head of the Rules Committee. He
competed in the very first Watkins Glen event in 1948 (in which he
rolled-over). "Milliken's Corner" on the original Watkins Glen
circuit is named after him. He drove cars such as Type 35 and 54 Bugattis
and an ex-Indy four wheel drive Miller at Watkins Glen, Pikes Peak, Sebring
and many others across North America for 15 years. Later, continuing
involvement included a term as Chief Steward for the Formula One US Grand
result of his racing activity, he became interested in automobile stability
and control and the potential for applications of aircraft technology.
Under the sponsorship of General Motors, vehicle dynamics activity at CAL
developed and substantiated the automobile dynamic equations of motion and
developed the first variable stability (servo-controlled) cars. The first
six-component tire testing machine was developed, leading to TIRF, the
original high-speed, flat-belt tire tester which, some 30 years later, is
still one of the most advanced tire testing machines in the world.
Bill Milliken started his own consulting/research firm, Milliken Research
Associates, Inc. (MRA). MRA engages in analytical and testing contracts
over the range of vehicle dynamics topics. Original developments include
the Moment Method approach to automobile stability and control, tire data
non-dimensionalization, specialized computer programs for race application,
listing of MRA's services, click here.
listing of MRA's customers, click here.