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Child Prodigy in Designing Car and Rocket Engines – David Adair Interview 1

David Adair’s father was a successful car mechanic associated with the establishment of NASCAR racing in the early 1950s, which later exposed the young Adair to the world of high-powered engines and car racing. Adair had a knack for developing innovative designs and solutions for the engines his father worked on. Due to his status as a minor, Adair was not allowed to be financially compensated for his innovative car engine work, but instead asked for and was given access to the well-equipped NASCAR workshops where high-powered engines were built. Thus, Adair began building engines for model rockets he was designing.

Adair went on to win multiple science awards for his rockets, which were published in local and regional newspapers in Ohio. This led to him meeting with the physicist Stephen Hawking and, more importantly, a four-star general, Curtis LeMay, who had recently retired as Air Force Chief of Staff (1961-1965). LeMay first met Adair’s mother, who worked as a nurse at Mount Vernon’s Memorial Hospital in Ohio, where LeMay’s father was being treated and eventually died in September 1966.

General LeMay was so impressed with Adair’s electromagnetic fusion containment rocket engines that he arranged for Air Force technicians to assist Adair in building a 10-foot model he called Pitholem that would be flight tested. The rocket would win an Air Force award in 1971 and was successfully tested with a flight to Area 51, which opened up a dangerous new chapter in Adair’s life as he realized his rocket was to be used to develop a first-strike nuclear weapon.

In this first episode in a four-part series, Adair discusses the amazing sequence of events that led to him meeting with General LeMay, who sponsored his innovative Pitholem rocket engine, and he presents documents substantiating key elements of his incredible story.

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Curtis LeMay, David Adair, Nascar, rockets, Stephen Hawking