April 20, 2010: The weekend of April 17th, Ray and I went to Watkins Glen to the International Motor Racing Research Center to attend the celebration of Bill Milliken’s 99th birthday!
Bill 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 Prix.
Bill, after working 20 years in flight research, which included being head of flight research at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (CAL) and other accomplishments, moved to the vehicle dynamics section of CAL. It would take 700 pages to present all the accomplishments of Bill. For detailed information I refer you the website of Milliken Research Associates, the family business of Bill and his son Doug. See the Books page for information on the Milliken’s books including Bill’s autobiography, and books on Vehicle Dynamics, Race car Dynamics and Chassis design. These books should be in YOUR library!
In the 60’s and 70’s my father, Raymond R McHenry, and Bill Milliken, worked together at CAL. One interesting project they worked on was the creation of the automobile stunt ‘The Spiral Jump’, as a validation of a computer simulation model, the HVOSM. The stunt was used in the James Bond film ‘Man with the Golden Gun’.
Ray has always said that without Bill’s perseverance and influence that project would have never been completed. Bill fought for the project and fought off the CAL management who were paranoid about liability. Bill was somehow able to arrange to have the original AMC Javelin vehicle measured at the GM Proving Grounds in Michigan. Yes, that is correct; somehow Bill was able to arrange to have an AMC vehicle measured at the GM facility. Talk about pull! Ray and Doug Milliken and my brother Stan McHenry all drove from Buffalo to Michigan and on to the GM proving grounds to have that done!
See the autobiography of William F Milliken 'Equations of Motion: Adventure, Risk and Innovation' for many more amazing stories of 99 years of accomplishments!
Also see the article on Bill Milliken by Karl Ludvigsen Mister Supernatural from Automobile Quarterly, First Quarter, 2004
Items of General Interest
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