National Geographic : 1985 Jul
Two-thirds of the work now done at the facility is basic aeronautical research, and the rest is space related. Here, new designs for aircraft are taking shape, and planes are being deliberately crashed in a search for im provements in safety. "One of the big prob lems in aviation is getting a plane across that bridge between subsonic and supersonic speed," Parker said. "They were having trouble getting the F-105 fighter bomber to fly supersonic, so the researchers here re shaped the fuselage, giving it a Coca-Cola bottle shape with the wings joining at the indentations. It flew supersonic then." Hampton is also the home of a highly re spected university. Once called Hampton Institute, but now Hampton University, it dates from 1868 when it was founded by Samuel Chapman Armstrong, a Union gen eral in the Civil War, out of what he felt was a need to educate former slaves. Since that time, Hampton has maintained a standard of excellence generally regarded as a leader among predominantly black universities. It counts among its graduates Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Hampton University sits on 204 acres of waterfront, in a tranquil setting of magno lias and peach trees. Indeed, of all the scenic water views, none are so fine as those in Hampton. On Chesapeake Avenue Pork-and-peanut belt flanks Hampton Roads, where the legumes were introduced in colonialtimes; hogs may have arrived on vessels from England. Suffolk-home of a majorPlanterspeanutfactory processes one-fifth of the nation's harvest.Nearby lie Smithfield companies, famous for hams that requiredpeanut fattened hogs. Now to bear the label, hams must simply age (left) for six months in the James River town.