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Charles Mercer papers, 1938-1990


Overview of the Collection

Creator: Mercer, Charles R.
Title: Charles Mercer papers
Inclusive Dates: 1938-1990
Quantity: 16.87 linear feet
Abstract:"Chuck" Mercer had a long career as an employee of the Lockheed Corporation, where he was an engineer and a member of the company's accident investigation team. Following his retirement from Lockheed, he started his own consulting firm, and he has lectured on accident investigation and aviation safety at the University of Southern California. The Mercer Papers contain reports by Mercer and others; some of Mercer's school papers in engineering; technical papers, manuals, and other materials from his work at Lockheed; ICAO manuals from the 1970s; and assorted publications related to aviation and safety.
Identification: MS-004
Language: Material in English
Repository: Aviation Safety and Security Archives, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
3700 Willow Creek Road
Prescott, Arizona 86301-3720
Phone: 928-777-3949

Biographical Note

Charles R. Mercer graduated form the Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute of Aeronautics in 1937 as an aeronautical engineer. He worked briefly for a year at Pasped Aircraft Corporation before a long career at Lockheed Corporation.

Mercer held various positions at Lockheed Corporation during his 42 years with the company. He began as a design engineer and draftsman on the P-38, Model 18 Lodestar, Constellation, and P-58. As the years went by his position changed from flight engineer to senior design engineer to being a manager in numerous test programs. Mercer also served as research and design engineer on the P-3 Orion Project in 1968. The following six years he spent on the L-1011 designing the flight station. Finally in 1980 he retired from the Lockheed Corporation to start his own consulting firm. Mercer was a member of the Lockheed California Company Accident Investigation Team from 1945-1980. He was qualified as Investigation Coordinator and Committee representative for Human Factors, Operations and Witness. He has participated in litigation and proceedings as an expert witness in actions arising out of aircraft accidents. Mercer aided in the investigation of some high profile aviation accidents such as the 1972 accident of Eastern Airlines which crashed into the Florida Everglades.

Mercer has aided in aviation education by lecturing for the University of Southern California in Aircraft Accident Investigating and Aviation Safety Program Management. He also taught at Glendale College, California, from 1947-1954. Mercer was the ISASI (International Society of Air Safety Investigators) Los Angeles Chapter President and vice president. He had been a continuing member of ISASI since 1968.

Scope and Content

The Charles R. Mercer Collection consists of documents that he has collected over the span of 60 years. Most of the collection contains documents from the Lockheed California Company at which Mercer was employed for 42 years. Also contained in this collection is some school work from Mercer from 1940 detailing stress class notes. This collection additionally has an array of ICAO Manuals from the 1970s.


This collection is divided into five series:
Series 1. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 1970-1988
Series 2. Lockheed Development Program, 1940-1978
Series 3. Other Reports,1964-[1993?]
Series 4. Other Publications, 1946-1995
Series 5. Other Items, 1938-1989


Conditions Governing Access

Available for research use.

Controlled Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Mercer, Charles R.

Corporate Name(s)
International Civil Aviation Organization.
International Society of Air Safety Investigators.
Lockheed-California Company.

Aeronautics--Safety measures.
Aerospace engineering.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Item title or description]. Charles Mercer papers (MS-004). Aviation Safety and Security Archives, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Charles Mercer. Accretions were received from Mercer in 2007 and 2008. Archives accession numbers 2005.002, 2007.010, 2007.015, 2008.002

Other Finding Aid

This finding aid describes the materials in the original donation received from Charles Mercer. Subsequent accruals are unprocessed, but preliminary inventories may be available in the archives.

Container List

Series 1. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 1970-1988. 6 inches
Historical Note
ICAO, International Civil Aviation Organization, was formed in 1947 and has 187 member nations. This United Nations agency is involved with civil aviation. ICAO has established consistent standards for aircraft such as airworthiness, aircraft markings, and licensing of pilots. ICAO has laid the foundation for a set of rules and regulations regarding air navigation. The main headquarter for ICAO is in Montreal.
Series contains seven ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Manuals ranging in dates from 1970-1980. There are two manuals from the International Standards and Recommended Practices series, one is Aerodomes Annex 14, 7th edition (1976) and the second is Aircraft Accident Investigation Annex 13, 7th edition (1988). The third ICAO Manual is the Manual of Aircraft Accident Investigation, 4th Edition (1970). There are also two Manuals for the Airports Services series, one is Control of Obstacles (1977) and the other is Airport Emergency Planning (1980). The final Manual is a Heliport Manual (1979). The last item in the series is an ICAO Aircraft Accident Investigation Colloquium summary of discussions (1998).
11 ICAO Manual – International Standards and Recommended Practices Aerodomes, Annex 14 to the convention on International Civil Aviation (7th Edition), 1976
12 ICAO Manual – International Standards and Recommended Practices Aircraft Accident Investigation, Annex 13 to the convention on International Civil Aviation (7th Edition), 1988
This is the seventh edition of ICAO's Annex 13. It provides the standards and recommended practices for aircraft accident inquiries.
13 ICAO Manual – Manual of Aircraft Accident Investigation (4th edition; DOC 6920-AN/855/4), 1970
14 ICAO Manual – Airport Services Manual, Part 6 "Control of Obstacles" (1st edition; DOC 9137-AN/898 Part 6, 1977
15 ICAO Manual – Airport Services Manual, Part 7 "Airport Emergency Planning" (1st edition), 1980
16 ICAO Manual – Heliport Manual (1st edition; DOC 9261-AN/903, 1979
17 ICAO Aircraft Accident Investigation Colloquium summary of discussions, 1988
Series 2. Lockheed Development Program, 1940-1978. 1.5 feet
Historical Note
Lockheed is an aerospace company formed in 1912 and located in California. It was originally named Lougheed from the brothers that started the company but later changed the name to Lockheed Corporation. In 1995 Lockheed merged with Martin Marinetta to form Lockheed Martin. Throughout the years Lockheed has produced aircraft of a diverse nature which ranges from fighter to transport. Lockheed released the P-38 during World War II which became known as the only fighter plane to last through the War. Other planes that got Lockheed to its superior status include the L-1011, Constellation, SR-71, C-130 and the F-104.
This series consists of all documents in the collection pertaining to Lockheed California Company (currently known as Lockheed Martin). There are 6 binders that pertain to the Supersonic Transport Development Program from 1963-1966. Also included in the Lockheed series are various jet trainer proposals and training manuals. Additional items of the Lockheed series are reports written by employees of Lockheed California Company on various issues and a large Space Science design handbook.
21 Binder = Lockheed California Company, Aerospace Vehicle Design, Aircraft design, by K. D. Wood, 1963
22-3 Binder = Lockheed California Company, Supersonic Transport Development Program. Phase III Proposal, Volume IV-B System Integration Test, 1966
These two binders consist of a submission to the Federal Aviation Agency [FAA] about a development program for supersonic transport. It is a response to the FAA's request for proposal for the supersonic development program dated June 1966. The total submission consists of volumes I through VII, this IV-B being specifically about System Integration Test.
24-6 Binder = Lockheed California Company, Supersonic Transport Development Program. Phase III Proposal, Volume IV-C System Integration Product Assurance, 1966
27 Lockheed Model 580 Proposal- Jet Fighter Trainer, undated
28 Lockheed Jet Trainer T-33 Proposal, undated
29 Lockheed TO-2 Jet Trainer Proposal, 1950
210 Lockheed S-3A Pilot Flight Training Manual, 1974
211 "Lockheed Papers" – file contains miscellaneous technical papers bound in a folder, 1940
This file consists of Lockheed papers collected by Mercer and one paper that is the result of a technical session that is not a Lockheed numbered paper. The papers are numbered and they provide information on specific aspects of aircraft design, engineering, production, specifications, etc. There are also several articles on issues of management and administration as they apply to a corporation
212 Manual – "Flight Crew Introduction to the L-1011" from Lockheed California Company, 1969
This manual contains two sections: Flight Station information and Flight Handling Performance. Each section contains a description of features of the aircraft (such as approach visibility) as well as photographs and figures. Safety features such as fire safety, crashworthiness, and evacuation are discussed in the Handling Performance section.
213 Report- "High Altitude," by Lloyd Jenka, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, 1942
31 Lockheed California Company L-1011 Tri-Star Performance Engineers Manual, 1977
This engineers manual for the L-1011 TriStar consists of three sections - General, Aerodynamic Data, and Engine Data. The front page indicates that it was received by C. R. Mercer on July 29, 1977.
32 Report – "We are all in this together." Presented at the 1978 Engineering and Maintenance Forum. Author: E.A. Green, V.P. Airline Customer Support, Lockheed California Company, 1969
33 Report – "Safety with comfort in the passenger cabin" by Charles Mercer, presented at the Orient Airlines Association fourth flight safety seminar. (Personal note cards also with report), 1975
This paper was for presentation at the Fourth Flight Safety Seminar, Orient Airlines Association, in Kuala Lumpur May 1975. It is a 28 page booklet that contains 34 figures and associated text. The paper reviews areas where safety and comfort relate to the passenger cabin design of aircraft.
34 Report- "Inherent Safety Design in Current and Future Aircraft." Presented at the Orient Airlines Research Bureau Safety Seminar. Author: T. F. Laughlin, Lockheed California Company. 1969
35 Report- "Designing the Lockheed L-1011 to meet airline needs beyond 1970." Author: J. B. Beach, Division Engineer, Lockheed California Company. 1968
36 Report- "From Propellers to Jets in Fight Aircraft Design." Author: R. L. Foss, Lockheed California Company, 1978
37 Design Handbook- "Space science" by Lockheed California Company, 1962
Series 3. Other Reports, 1964-[1993?]. 3 inches
Series three consists of a file comprised of ISASI (International Society of Air Safety Investigators) reports and unrelated other reports. The ISASI file contains 7 reports presented at ISASI or created by the ISASI organization. The rest of the reports in this series are from various individuals and groups.
38 ISASI reports, 1985-1993
This file consists of various reports written for ISASI conferences. These reports all contain aviation safety information or research for information.
Report – "Structural crashworthiness experiments of the controlled impact demonstration." Authors: Robert Hayduk, Edwin Fasanella, Emilio Alfaro-Bou Presented at ISASI, 1985
ISASI Report- "Designing for safety is no accident." Author: H. Mark Baseley, Rolls Royce Aerospace Group, 1992
ISASI information pamphlet, circa 1993
ISASI Report/Presentation- "Accident investigation and evolution of on-board data acquisition and recording systems," 1987
Report- "Aircraft manufacturers contribution to air safety investigations in the Microprocessor age," 1987
39 Research Paper- "Anatomy of an Investigation." Author: Lt. Col Charles L. Pocock, 1978
310 Report- "An analysis of the crew complement issue concerning air carrier two-engine turbojet aircraft." Author: Claude Schonberger, 1980
311 USAF Report- "FSO Digest," USAF accident investigation paper report, 1968
This photocopied article is part three of a three part package that was published in installments in the FSO Digest journal. This article is intended to provide guidance to effect an immediate and developed response by board members and others in formal accident investigation
312 Report – "Watch out there may be ice about." Presented at Flight Safety Foundation Conference, 1992
313 Report- Evaluation of Scratch Marks in Mid-Air Collisions, 1964
Series 4. Other Publications, 1946-1995. 4 inches
Series four contains other publications from various groups including the Civil Aeronautics Administration, ALPA, the FAA and the Transport Safety Institute. These publications are all aviation related and mostly contain information for the safety of flight. A few of the publications in the collection are Flying Magazine, FAA General Aviation News and a Maintenance TWA Information Letter.
314 Edwards Air Force Base Guide, 1995
315 FAA General Aviation News, 1978
316 San Francisco International Airport, "Emergency Operations" and "Earthquake Preparedness", 1988-circa 1990
317 Magazine- Flying, September and December 1990
318 DC-10 Auto Flight Study Guide, undated
319 Handout material of various GA (general aviation) aircraft, undated
320 Swiss Reinsurance Company publication, "System Errors in Aviation," 1992
321 Bell Helicopter, "Helicopter Emergency Lifesaver Plan," 1990
322 The ALPA Guide to Accident Survival Factors, 1989
323 TWA Maintenance Information Letter, 1980
324 Report – "Resource directory and material." Presented at 1991 Airport Emergency Response Seminar. Author: Steven Valenzuela, 1991
325 Garrett Turbine Engine Company brochures and publicity material, undated
326 GE90- The Next Era in Aircraft Engine Technology and Reliability, 1992
327 Transport Safety Institute Handbook- Jet Engine Accident Investigation, circa 1989
328 Civil Aeronautics Administration. "Path of Flight: Practical Information about Navigation of Private Aircraft" by George Sidney Stanton, 1946
Item consists of a booklet that is the second in a series of short manuals prepared by the Civil Aeronautics Administration to provide the private pilot with information on the safe operation of his aircraft.
Series 5. Other Items, 1938-1989. 3 linear inches
This series contains several items that were not assigned to one of the other series.
329 "Stress Class Notes" from Mercer, 1938-1940
The notes and material in this folder are from Chuck Mercer's training with Lockheed Martin. The Stress Class Notes from Charles Mercer are collected in a folder. They are all from his engineering training in 1940. This folder includes class notes, tests and design papers from Lockheed. Approximately 50 pages total.
330 NTSB, 1975-1980
331 FAA, 1972-1980
332 University of Southern California (USC) papers, 1970-1982
333 Letter – to Mercer from Air Accidents Investigation Branch with description of Lockerbie Pan Am 103 aircraft accident database created from this accident. 1989
334 Windshear article from Airliner, 1985
335 "Privileged Testimony. The Naval Aviation Safety Program," 1979
336 Mercer: Product Assurance Paper, 1967
Paper consists of three typed pages on Product Assurance. This was written by Mercer for a course at Lockheed on aircraft operations, and it appears to be notes for an oral presentation. In the text of this paper he indicates that the discussion will be about Maintainability, Reliability Programs, Quality Assurance, Value and Producibility Program, Value and Producibility in Design, Standardization, and Product Support and Training.
337 Photograph- "500 Gallon Simulated Wing Tank," undated
Photograph shows a 500 gallon simulated wing tank. A sign in the photograph indicates that there were 72 flight cycles in August 18, 1966. It also states "Nitrogen Purge and Pressurization ENCO Turbo Fuel A1."
338 Artifact - Supersonic Trip Time Comparator, undated
The Supersonic Trip Time Comparator translates trip time between Piston, Subsonic and Supersonic aircraft. It consists of one circular flat object which has a small circle on top of a large circle. The smaller circle on top is movable to produce different results at different settings.