In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, Fred Weick's homebuilt W-1A of 1934, one of the first aircraft to employ tricycle landing gear, is pictured.
Weick and a group of nine other Langley engineers built this small experimental airplane in their spare time to study the special needs of the private flyer. The plane was eventually purchased by the Department of Commerce.
After leaving the NACA (for a second and final time) in 1936, Weick incorporated many elements of the W-1 into his design of the famous Ercoupe, a small simple- to-fly airplane built first by the Engineering Research and Development Corporation (ERCO) of suburban Washington, DC.
The National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) was a precursor to NASA. NACA was created by Congress in 1915.
Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).