March 1955 Air TrailsTable of Contents
Some things never grow old. These pages from vintage modeling magazines like American Aircraft Modeler, American Modeler, Air Trails, Flying Aces, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, & Young Men captured the era. I will be glad to scan articles for you. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
$11,800 per year for engineers working in defense laboratories in 1955 is the equivalent of about $104,300 in 2016, according to the Inflation Calculator hosted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That's probably a pretty accurate reflection of today's average salary for an experienced engineer. Now, as then, some of the most technically challenging and interesting research projects are done under the auspices of the Federal government - primarily because they have the most money to throw at experiments and production concepts without having to produce implementable results. That is not to say the people working on the projects don't care - most of them are deeply committed - it's just that the funding is confiscated (taxes), not earned, so the loss that accompanies failure is mostly felt personally, not institutionally.
Research Work Attracts Bachelors to West Coast Naval Laboratories
They serve the U. S. Navy by contributing skill and knowledge as civilian engineers
Young men with a bachelor degree in engineering are afforded a fine opportunity to further their professional skills at the several Naval Laboratories located in California. Representing some of the highest paid jobs in Civil Service with salaries ranging as high as $11,800 per year, the work embraces some of the broadest fields in engineering and science. This together with pleasant climatic and living conditions, plus various benefits offered by the "Service," attracts many a young scientist, engineer and technician to these Navy installations. The work is not all routine, by any means, and ingenuity and resourcefulness are at a premium. The order may call, for example, for the design of a rocket launcher, an experimental airframe for a guided missile or a quick-assembly, prefabricated structure. Professional self-development is encouraged. Undergraduate and graduate courses are given by the University of California on laboratory premises in order that employees may complete requirements for advanced engineering and science degrees. Seminars, symposiums and panel discussions feature nationally known luminaries in the field. Though an engineering degree is generally required for professional positions, applicants who do not possess one can qualify if they have had four years of technical experience or a combination of technical experience and education which gives them a background of knowledge in fundamental engineering and science equivalent to university graduates.
(Photos and material courtesy of U.S. Navy and Board of U.S. Civil Service Examiners for Scientists and Engineers. For information concerning professional and technical positions, write the Board at 1030 E. Green St., Pasadena 1, Calif.)
Posted February 20, 2016